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Building a culture of health in Southwest Florida
With warm tropical waters and miles of white sand beaches, Southwest Florida offers plenty to do, see and enjoy – indoors and out. But beyond this lovely landscape is an array of health challenges facing our community. A quarter of Lee County residents are obese. In Collier, that figure is 20 percent. In Lee and Collier, 14 and 11 percent of the residents smoke, respectively. Still, there’s no denying Southwest Florida is working to boost its heart health. Our local schools are fostering a culture of activity and awareness through Red Out basketball games. Lifesaving AEDs are standard in all Collier County Sheriff’s Department patrol units. Lee County is also home to one of nation's only localized AHA Support Network, and Lee Health is the first healthcare system to earn the Heart-Check certification for its menu items. Join us, and be a part of a heart-healthy Southwest Florida.
Lifestyle Risk Factors
Lex Roulston, Fort Myers philanthropist and survivor
In September 2001, Lex Roulston underwent quintuple coronary artery bypass surgery. Since that time, Lex has become a passionate advocate for the benefits of a healthy lifestyle.
“Surgery alone cannot fix your cardiac problems,” Lex says. “I have learned that lifestyle changes are essential to better health.”
Because Life is Why
We believe everyone deserves to live a healthier, longer life. Together with Arthrex, we educate the public about heart disease and stroke – the No. 1 and No. 5 causes of death in America. Arthrex is dedicated to improving the overall health of the Southwest Florida community as well as its employees.
Healthy For Good
You don’t need a guilt trip. We know you know. You want to be Healthy For Good. And we’re here to help inspire you to create lasting change in your health and your life, one small step at a time. The approach is simple: Eat smart. Add color. Move more. Be well. Healthy For Good is made possible in Southwest Florida thanks to Lee Health, the first health system in the United States to offer Heart-Check Certified meals.
The Lifesaver Generation
Take two minutes to learn Hands-Only CPR now. 70 percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen in homes. When a person has a cardiac arrest, immediate CPR can double or triple their chance of survival. Collier County Public Schools hold health and PE teacher training.
Lifestyle Change Award
Each year, the Lifestyle Change Award is presented at the Collier and Lee Heart Walks to recognize an individual or individuals who has made significant and positive changes to improve their quality of life and overall health. The recipient is an example and inspiration to us all!
Check. Change. Control.
Stress on your blood vessels from high blood pressure can lead to heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and other serious health threats. Use our free Check. Change. Control.™ online tool to track your readings and maintain a healthy heart!
The AHA and AMA joined forces with the launch of Target: BP™ to support physicians and care teams. We can track and maintain blood pressure goals for our patients by offering access to the latest research, tools, and resources.
Shelly Church, Naples volunteer
2018 American Heart Association Award of Meritorious Achievement Recipient
Through the Collier County Heart Walk, which she has chaired twice, Shelly is one of the Association’s top fundraisers, setting national benchmarks for the Southwest Florida Market. In October 2017, Shelly raised over $1,000,000 through the CCHW to honor the memory of her son Kyle, who died in 2005 at age 18 from a congenital heart defect. She is the 2019 Auction co-chair for the Southwest Florida Heart Ball.
Focus on Quality
Patient outcomes improve when medical professionals apply the most up-to-date, evidence-based treatment guidelines. That’s the simple truth behind the obsession with continuous quality improvement. Our entire suite of programs can help advance your efforts farther and faster in the quest for ever-better care.
Closing Equity Gaps
EmPOWERED To Serve is a movement inspired by multicultural volunteers around the country who are passionate about driving change through health justice in their communities. These committed ambassadors are closing gaps in health equity through advocacy, policy, education, and social change.
Scientific Research Is the Core of all Our Efforts
Breakthroughs. Innovation. Millions of lives saved. That is American Heart Association funded research. From the first successful pacemaker to new techniques saving newborns with congenital heart defects to drug-coated stents, we fund bold ideas that transform health care.
Why Cholesterol Matters
There are few warning signs of high cholesterol, but the impact is real. By lowering your cholesterol, you'll reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. Take control today. Manage your cholesterol levels by making healthy lifestyle choices and following a sound medical treatment plan.
Lee County Patient Support Network
This online community is where Southwest Florida cardiac and stroke patients, survivors and caregivers can connect with each other, find support and learn more about their condition. Social support plays an important role in heart health and those recovering from stroke and heart disease. The Lee County Patient Support Network is funded through a generous gift from the Lex and Eileen Roulston Foundation.
Across the Sunshine State, communities are building a healthier infrastructure and tackling inequities for hearts of all ages. The challenges are great, but together our future is greater.
Collier County Heart Walk
Saturday, November 2, 2019
Let's get Heartwalking, a movement to move more. Heart Walk is a festival of one million hearts in 300+ communities nationwide beating healthy for good. Join us in Naples! Walk in memory of someone you love, or create a team.
Southwest Florida Go Red For Women Luncheon
March 5, 2019
Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa
We "Go Red" for our mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends. Heart disease and stroke cause one in three deaths among women - more than all cancers combined. Let's raise awareness that 80 percent of cardiac events are preventable!
Southwest Florida Heart Ball
April 6, 2019
Hyatt Regency Coconut Point Resort & Spa
Business, medical, and other community leaders unite to celebrate the lifesaving mission of the American Heart Association. Don't miss this unforgettable evening of inspiration, entertainment, and hope as we build a healthier Southwest Florida!
Email us for more information on giving
Why I Support the AHA
“The work of the American Heart Association universally helps people from all walks of life and economic situations improve their daily lives. It brings me great pleasure to know that my volunteer and financial support efforts with the AHA over the past decade are helping to break the silence about the devastating impact heart disease and stroke is having on our families and our communities.”
–Martin Davis, an American Heart Association donor
Southwest Florida Board of Directors
Dr. Brian Taschner
Millennium Physician Group
3 years of service
Vice-President/Private Client Manager
3 years of service
Dr. Sajan Rao
SWICFT Institute (3 years)
System Director Govt. & Community Relations (2 years)
Lee County School District (2 years)
Senior Sales Rep.
Abbott Laboratories (2 years)
VP Patient Care
Lee Health System (4 years)
Philanthropist (1 year)
Vice President, Student Success & Enrollment Management
Florida Gulf Coast University (2 years)
Arthrex (2 years)
Mount Hermon Ministries (3 years)
NCH Healthcare System (1 year)
Board of Directors
Floor & Décor Outlets of America/AHA Hospital Accreditation Business Committee Member (5 years)
MediaVista Group/Univision SWFL (6 years)
Emerson Network Power (2 years)
Nations Association Charities, Inc. (6 years)
Marti Van Veen
System Dir. Marketing & Public Relations
Physicians Regional Healthcare System (2 years)
Dr. Shona Velamakanni
Naples Heart Institute (4 years)
Affiliate Board Members