Employee shares family history, teaches coworkers about heart health
As a sociable new employee, Burns would frequent Kids’ Café and ask to join fellow employees for lunch to get better acquainted. “One day, I sat down with a group of women and one of them was talking about her mother, who had recently suffered a heart attack,” said Burns.
Burns realized that nobody in the group recognized that men and women can experience different warning signs when they have a heart attack. Research by the National Institutes of Health indicates that women’s heart attack symptoms differ from men’s.
“My family has been plagued with heart disease,” said Burns. “Three years ago my husband died from a sudden heart attack while in Florida.”
Burns decided to contact Mary Lynne Zahler, Akron Children’s employee wellness manager, with ideas on how to raise awareness about heart disease at the hospital. “Joyce had a lot of great ideas,” said Zahler. “She was very enthusiastic and volunteered to chair our new Heart Health committee.”
Burns quickly discovered that her passion to educate about heart disease was shared by others. “We have 21 departments represented on the Heart Health committee,” said Burns. “The culture here at Children’s is phenomenal.”
The Heart Health committee invites employees to participate in a variety of activities in honor of Heart Month.
“If we can touch one family and one person responds sooner because they recognize the warning signs of a heart attack or stroke, then our committee’s efforts have been successful,” said Burns.