You can observe Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day on February 22, or on another day during American Heart Month in February. Whether you already have events planned or are looking for new opportunities to engage the community and press, this kit can help you integrate Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day and leverage the assets and momentum of the campaign. It all depends on your target audience; which can include the community at large, current or former patients and family caregivers, individuals identified to be at higher risk of heart valve disease, or other groups that you think may be interested.
Celebrate a Milestone or Anniversary with Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day
Is your organization celebrating an important date or milestone this winter? Maybe your designation as a center of excellence, your 1,000th TAVR procedure, or your 500th valve replacement patient participating in a patient day? Consider adding Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day to your celebration and enlist patients, families, and the press to raise awareness about heart valve disease.
Patient days offer great experiences for patients and family caregivers to meet each other, reconnect with their health providers, and share their stories; and for the hospital to learn from the patients and their experiences. They are also a unique opportunity to bring attention to your organization since they highlight the successes of the hospital and bring faces to the procedures as the patients share their stories.
American Heart Month Event—Focus on Valve Disease
Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day takes place on February 22, during American Heart Month—a month when you are likely already planning to host events focused on heart health. Consider integrating Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day into your heart month events: use the Valve Disease Day resources, include speakers who focus on valve disease, and link your social media to the momentum of the Valve Disease Day campaign. You may also want to offer cardiovascular screenings to those that attend your events.
Health & Fitness Event
Community walks, free yoga or Zumba classes, and other health and fitness offerings can draw your community in and give you the opportunity to talk about Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day—raising awareness among people who have likely never heard of the disease.
A 2016 national omnibus survey of 2,018 adults revealed that while over half of respondents say they have heard of heart valve disease, less than one in four know somewhat or a great deal about it.
Another analysis looked further at awareness of heart valve disease, as well as at the experiences of patients as they are diagnosed and seek treatment. A survey of more than 400 individuals diagnosed with heart valve disease found that more than two-thirds of respondents knew a limited amount or nothing about heart valve disease prior to their diagnosis, and six in 10 were diagnosed with heart valve disease only because they went to see a health care professional for a regular check-up or for some other issue.
Find out how much patients and visitors to your hospital know about heart valve disease with an awareness survey of your own:
- Ask visitors in central areas of the hospital—like lobbies and cafeterias—to fill out the survey form and leave it with a hospital representative. Note that the form can be personalized with your hospital’s logo and information. Be sure to take this opportunity to also hand out the Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day educational postcard.
- Leave the survey forms and a drop box in central areas of the hospital, and share the results through your magazine, newsletter, social media, etc.—launching an important conversation about the need for more awareness.
- Jazz it up by asking the survey questions in person and video-tape their answers. Get permission to use the footage and then create your own Valve Disease Day video that you can share on your website, through social media, on waiting room TVs, and more.
Use the promotional poster to advertise the event details throughout your hospital and in your community. Consider posting with local senior centers and contact your American Heart Association (AHA) local chapter or Mended Hearts peer-to-peer network to discuss posting at their meeting venues.
Celebrities and Local Influencers
There’s nothing like a celebrity to draw audiences to an event! While you may not be able to find a celebrity or local hero who has had heart valve disease, you can look for a local influencer willing to talk about the importance of heart health. Consider local broadcasters, sports figures, large company CEOs, etc.
U.S. Senator or Representative
February 22 falls during a recess for the U.S. Congress, so your U.S. senator and representative are likely to be in town. Check the Congressional Heart and Stroke Coalition to see if your member has already demonstrated a commitment to cardiovascular health that you can appeal to, and reach out to see if they can stop by and make remarks during the event. They may also be willing to share information about the event and the Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day campaign through their constituent outreach.
Local officials—such as your mayor, city councilperson, or state representative—may also be willing to speak and help advertise the event and campaign to their constituents.
Your local radio, TV station, or newspaper may be willing to attend the event and/or feature it in their local news stories. For a fee, there may also be co-branded opportunities where the local station will promote the event, send someone to cover it, and potentially even broadcast live from your event. To invite your local media, send the event details (who, what, when, where, why) and background information about Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day to your local TV stations, radio stations, and newspapers. See more about engaging your local media later in this toolkit.
You may already have members of your patient network who have a compelling story to tell and who can speak during your Heart Awareness Day activities. You may also want to reach out to the American Heart Association’s (AHA) local chapters, and to the national organization to engage a Heart Valve Ambassador. AHA is a partner of the Valve Disease Day campaign and is dedicated to raising awareness about heart valve disease.
Website and Social Media
Be sure to add the event to your website and promote it on your social media channels, using the #ValveDiseaseDay hashtag and tagging the @ValveDiseaseDay account (Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram). See more about using social media to raise awareness of Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day later in this toolkit.
Sharing your event on Facebook Live allows followers to engage with content in real-time and all you need is a Smart Phone. The video will also be available on Facebook after the event for those who can’t watch it live.
We hope the following Valve Disease Day graphics, posters, presentation slides, etc. will help you brand your event and engage with your attendees.
Use Adobe to add your logo to the x-frame banner sign. The banner should print at 32” x 69.5” and can be purchased with a stand on Post Up at https://www.postupstand.com/products/banner-stands/x-frame-banner-stands/x-frame-banner-stand.
You can also print a podium sign with the Valve Disease Day standard logo, or Listen to Your Heart theme logo.
Create a “selfie booth” by printing one of the selfie signs and encouraging event attendees to take a selfie showing that they Listened to their Heart. Encourage them to post the selfie on social media—using the hashtag #ValveDiseaseDay. With their permission, you could also take a picture of them with the selfie booth sign and share it through your social media, newsletters, and more.
Use the Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day logos to create t-shirts for your attendees or representatives to wear. You can also purchase predesigned t-shirts on Zazzle where a portion of the proceeds go to raising awareness of heart valve disease through the Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day campaign.
Branded Event Merchandise
Purchase Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day items like pins, pens, mugs, and more on Zazzle, and share with staff, attendees, or others. A portion of the Zazzle proceeds go to raising awareness of heart valve disease through the Heart Valve Disease Awareness Day campaign.