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July 27, 2012
Doretta Royer 315 464-4833

Upstate and national women’s heart group partner to offer monthly support group for women living with heart disease

SYRACUSE, N.Y.—Upstate University Hospital and the national organization WomenHeart are hosting Central NY WomenHeart—free monthly meetings that serve as a support network for women who are living with heart disease. The meetings will be held the last Monday of each month, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at Upstate’s OASIS/HealthLink Learning Center, 1 Telergy Parkway (6333 State Route 298) in East Syracuse. To learn more about the support group, the public is invited to an Open House Monday, July 30, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the learning center.

The support network is the first of its kind for the area and Upstate is the only hospital in the region to serve as a WomenHeart partner. The formation of Central NY WomenHeart was spearheaded by WomenHeart coordinator and social worker Leisha Tedford-Doherty, who herself is a survivor of heart disease, with support from and in collaboration with five coronary care nurses at Upstate. Each meeting will feature a talk by a cardiac care specialist and include a question and answer session with the specialist and an Upstate coronary care nurse. The meetings will be led by Tedford-Doherty.

“Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women,” Tedford-Doherty said. “As a woman living with this chronic and life-threatening condition, I know first hand the importance of support and camaraderie in helping me to live healthy and cope. I want to provide this for other women heart disease survivors and am honored to bring this WomenHeart program to our community. Through our partnership with Upstate University Hospital, we look forward to offering this monthly program and to improving the lives of women living with heart disease in our community.” Tedford-Doherty became a WomenHeart Support Network Coordinator after attending the WomenHeart Science & Leadership Symposium at Mayo Clinic last October.

Nurses Despina Garcia, Pat Richardson, Alicia Taylor, Elizabeth Urban, and Jamie Waterstripe, of Upstate’s coronary care unit, collaborated with Tedford-Doherty to bring the network to Central New York. “We work daily with women who are living with this chronic condition,” said Waterstripe, “and we understand their need for emotional support from others who know what they are going through. This support network offers them the opportunity to give and receive emotional support and, through presentations by experts, to better understand how to manage and live with their condition.”

For more information about the Central NY WomenHeart, contact Tedford-Doherty at or 663-1712.

Caption: From left, nurses Pat Richardson, Alicia Taylor, Elizabeth Urban and Jamie Waterstripe of Upstate University Hospital’s Coronary Care Unit, helped to bring Central NY WomenHeart to our region. Missing from the photograph is Despina Garcia who also helped to organize the support network.

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