Red Lake Nation News - Babaamaajimowinan (Telling of news in different places)

Tribe, WomenHeart join forces to fight heart disease


ADA, Okla. – Two Chickasaw Nation employees will draw on personal experience to help area women facing heart disease.

Celeste Sweet and Gerri Chambers will lead support groups 6 p.m. every third Thursday at the Chickasaw Nation Medical Center, the first Native American hospital in the country to be accepted into the WomenHeart support group alliance.

While Sweet and Chambers both suffer from heart disease, they have learned to lead healthier lives and manage the disease. They are now volunteering their time, training and expertise to help other women with the disease.

Both women received extensive training last year at the Mayo Clinic to prepare them to serve as support group leaders for WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease.

Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby said the support groups are a significant part of the tribe’s efforts to provide comprehensive health care services.

“Healthcare goes much deeper than prescribing medication or performing surgical procedures. Healthcare covers a wide spectrum of efforts to care for the person as a whole,” said Gov. Anoatubby. “We are very pleased to be part of these support groups because this effort to bring women together to fight heart disease is a great example of that principle.”

Support groups are designed to help educate women about the disease and provide emotional support. Diet, exercise, emotional well-being and recipes are among the topics that will be discussed in the meetings.

WomenHeart group sessions are open to all women with heart disease.

Heather Summers, undersecretary of operations for the Chickasaw Nation Department of Health, said that 44 million women in America are either living with or are at risk of heart disease and more than 10,000 Native American women die each year of heart-related illnesses.

Due to the high incidence of heart disease among Native American women, the Chickasaw Nation will provide an all-inclusive health education outreach program which encompasses prevention, follow-up and care treatment for its clients.

For more information about WomenHeart support groups, email or telephone (580) 559-0880.


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