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Tue, Jul 20th 2004 12:00 am, by system
Washington DC
(July 20, 2004, Washington, DC) Tricia Cwiklinski from Calamar was among the 47 women heart patients who completed the first-ever Advocacy Institute in Washington, DC, to be sponsored by the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease. Tricia was selected to attend the Institute following a competitive national application process and was the only representative from New York State.

During the Institute, Cwiklinski learned about the public policy development process, working within coalitions, telling their personal stories effectively, and recent developments in Medicaid and Medicare. The Institute culminated with her visit on Capital Hill with the senior health policy staff for U.S. Senators Clinton and Schumer, as well as for U.S. Representative Thomas Reynolds.

"This was such a powerful experience for me," said Cwiklinski. "I was able to describe my experiences as a heart patient and represent the women in New York who are living with heart disease. I urged my federal lawmakers to increase federal funding to educate women about their heart disease risks. I know my message definitely made an impact."

"Bringing our women heart patient advocates to Washington, DC, to meet with Congress was necessary and long overdue," said executive director Nancy Loving. "Since heart disease is the #1 killer of American Women, Congress must improve our access to quality healthcare and also urge the National Institute of Health to increase the number of women in its heart-related research studies", she said. Currently, women comprise only 25% of all cardiac research subjects, yet more women than men dies every year of heart disease.

Guest speakers at the Advocacy Institute included: U.S. Rep. Julia Carson (D-IN); Connecticut State Senator Cathy Cook; Dr. Susan Wood, Ph.D., director of women's health at the FDA; and Joe Gagen, a Texas legislative consultant. It was supported by unrestricted educational grants from Pfizer Inc and Medtronic, Inc. "Tricia is very involved in many, many, important community organizations and is always ready to help out or lend her support. At Calamar, we, as an organization, are extremely proud of her selection to this important advocacy program", said Calamar President Kenneth M. Franasiak.