Every February 22nd, hundreds of advocates and organizations come together from around the world to raise awareness about heart valve disease, its risk factors and symptoms, and the importance of early detection and treatment in saving lives. This year’s Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day was celebrated with screening events, social media campaigns, TV and radio interviews, public service announcements, and more. The non-profits, advocacy organizations, professional societies, foundations, hospitals, patient advocates, and heart centers joined forces once again to raise awareness, and we are excited and humbled by their collective impact.
The 2023 Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day Flagship Event was held in partnership with National Caucus and Center on Black Aging and MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute. The screening and awareness event was held at the NCBA Estates in NW Washington DC–an independent living community. Interns from MedStar offered basic heart screenings including listening to the heart for the murmurs that often accompany valve disease. Featured speakers shared information on valve disease and answered audience questions. Our partners at Mended Hearts also distributed important information to attendees. Over 50 older adults were in attendance and screened for valve disease.
U.S. Representative Andy Barr (R-KY) visited cardiologist Dr. Nezar Falluji at CHI Saint Joseph Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky. Rep. Barr and Dr. Falluji discussed valve disease and the importance of stethoscope checks, while Barr and his staff had their hearts listened to and raised awareness about valve disease.
Good Morning America
Representative Barr appeared on Good Morning America to discuss his wife, Carol Leavell Barr, who died from sudden cardiac arrest due to an underlying condition known as mitral valve prolapse. Discussing his wife, Rep. Barr underscored the importance of not waiting to exhibit symptoms before getting a stethoscope check. Rep. Barr discussed the Cardiovascular Advances in Research and Opportunities
Legacy Act – the CAROL Act – passed by Congress and signed into law in December 2022, that he championed on behalf of his late wife. The bill will provide funds to the National, Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to give cardiologists the tools for early detection and intervention needed for those with valve disease.
Social Media and Online Promotion
Throughout February and on the 22nd, social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook were flooded with posts, images, and videos related to Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day. Hashtag campaigns, such as #ValveDiseaseDay and #ListentoYourHeart were used in posts to increase visibility and reach a wide audience.
- Social media posts and marketing produced 52,645 engagements.
- This year, supporters could take the Listen to Your Heart Challenge which encouraged individuals to get their hearts listened to, and organizations to offer heart screenings for their communities.
- Digital and radio advertisements shared educational information in English, Spanish, and French.
- Advertisements on Pandora, a subscription-based music streaming service, producing an estimated 1,166,337 true listeners*
*Number of people listening when an ad airs
- YouTube outreach and advertisements produced 329,240 video views.
• Letters to the editor were placed in seventeen outlets with a total estimated daily reach of 416,137 readers.
• Lindsay Clarke, Senior Vice President of Health Education & Advocacy, and Mike Hodin, CEO of the Global Coalition on Aging, co-authored an op-ed in response to Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel’s interview claiming that he will forgo medical screenings and interventions after age 75—including valve disease replacement. Just Getting Started at 75 was placed on Smerconish.com which receives 100,000+ daily subscribers.
• Additional articles about Valve Disease Day were placed by partners around the world in at least 24 news outlets.
• A press release about Valve Disease Day received 381 pick-ups to an estimated 194.2 million potential audience.
Radio Media Tour
A Radio Media Tour offered the opportunity to share the messages of the campaign through 18 interviews covering twelve states including Florida, California, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina. There were a total of 279 broadcasts in 85 markets to 456,600 true listeners*
*An estimate of people who are actually listening at the time of airing
Ellen Ross, Managing Director of Heart Valve Voice Canada, was featured in the Alliance for Aging Research podcast This is Growing Old. Ellen spoke about the impact of heart valve disease on Canadians, the exciting events and outreach activities planned for Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day, and the great work Heart Valve Voice Canada is doing to raise awareness.
Katrin Werner-Perez, Health Programs Manager, interviewed Lindsay Clarke, Senior Vice President of Health Education & Advocacy, on This is Growing Old. Lindsay discussed the risk factors, symptoms, and importance of increasing awareness about Valve Disease, as well as the history of Valve Disease Awareness Day.
New PSA and Translated Materials
A new video was created for 2023 and was translated/updated into Spanish and French, and English with Global statistics. The Partner Resources page on the Valve Disease Day website was also translated into French and Spanish, and offers downloadable social media toolkits in each language.
The new Valve Disease Day PSA was sent to non-profit PSA directors across the country to be considered for placement. Previous years PSAs also continued to run and collectively all of the PSAs were aired more than 10,000 times and produced an estimated 67.9 million impressions.