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By Eleni Tsigas, Executive Director
I don't like to spend too much time looking backwards, but every bit of progress deserves to be celebrated. On Feb. 15, the American Heart Association released updated guidelines for women's heart disease and, after years of our advocating for recognizing the role of preeclampsia, it was finally included. Health care providers are encouraged to collect information about a woman's pregnancy history to better understand her risk of heart disease. We think more guidance is needed, but it's a great start!
Thanks to everybody who spent a few minutes registering their thoughts about our advocacy agenda in last month's survey. Creating a strong advocacy voice for preeclampsia in the halls of Congress and within the federal agencies is a multi-step process. Great strides were made in February toward achieving this goal, including the discovery that over 17 million dollars are being spent at the NIH on preeclampsia across nine Institutes.
I had the pleasure of spending several days in San Francisco last month for the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine Annual Meeting where we announced our call for applications for the 2011 Vision Grants, including a new category for health services research. Please help us publicize the availability of this grant funding by sharing this link: http://bit.ly/fxRQJm
It's been fascinating to watch the evolution of the preeclampsia research presented at this annual meeting, including a fivefold increase in the shear volume of preeclampsia-related abstracts. Several of the researchers we funded presented their findings, such as Drs. You and Facco. Less noteworthy at this year's conference was the dearth of preeclampsia research presenting positive results; many of the oral presentations presented negative findings which are necessary but a bit disheartening. It's also been validating to meet more clinicians who know the Foundation and routinely use us and our materials as a resource for their patients. We consider these OB specialists partners in our mission and appreciate that the respect is increasingly mutual.
Since March is national women's history month (like we only need a month!), I leave you with this clarion call: "Never underestimate the power of mothers' voices (and the families who love them) coming together to make a difference!"