Many in the Valley still don’t realize that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women. But with long-standing health care educator Grand Canyon University (GCU) putting its muscle behind the annual Go Red For Women campaign, you can bet the issue will become top of mind.
“With our penetration in the local health care market and our ability to advocate through our 30,000 students, faculty and staff, we can take the community education component of the Go Red For Women effort to a very grassroots, but also broad-based level,” says Fran Roberts, RN, PhD., vice president of strategic business alliances of the College of Nursing & Health Sciences at Grand Canyon University.
Roberts is chair of the annual Go Red For Women campaign and luncheon, and GCU has agreed to a three-year sponsorship of the program. The power of GCU’s reach through its campus students and faculty, as well as its online student population, will take the outreach well beyond the Valley’s borders.
“The multiplier effects of our partnership should really help drive home the message throughout our community that heart disease continues to be the No. 1 health threat to women,” says Roberts, who will lead a community speakers bureau of advocates within GCU to promote the heart-healthy message.
GCU already has plans underway to mark the importance of the cause, making an effort to integrate components of the program into every aspect of the university, from food choices in the student union to “going red” at sporting events, and bringing in Go Red messages to its community events that reach tens of thousands of residents each year.
“Red represents much more than a color on this campus,” Roberts says.
The university will wear red with pride as the Grand Canyon team participates in the Start! Phoenix Heart Walk on Feb. 27, and will celebrate National Heart Month with a variety of activities.
The entire campus plans to be immersed in red — including faculty, staff, students and wrapped buildings — on a designated date in February when the university hosts a Wear Red fashion show on the campus promenade and an important basketball game takes place.
In addition, GCU will host a Hearts in the Arts competition in the spring, encouraging high school students to celebrate heart-healthy living in a competition to benefit the Heart Association.
The sixth annual Go Red For Women luncheon takes place on May 14, at the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel.