Around 45% of all women over the age of 20 are living with some form of heart disease. It’s a staggering figure. “Cardiovascular health is the leading cause of death for women, killing more individuals than all forms of cancer combined,” notes Rosie Schott, development director of Go Red for Women for the local chapter of the American Heart Association. “It’s critical that all women are aware of this so they can advocate for their own health.” For 20 years, the Go Red for Women campaign has championed better health and well-being for women of all ages and backgrounds.

In 2004, the American Heart Association published the first set of evidence-based guidelines for women and heart health. This was the beginning of Go Red for Women, and the program has evolved to meet the changing needs of the community. Over the past two decades, the campaign has championed to address insurance disparities between men and women, promoted the inclusion of women in STEM careers and launched research initiatives. “Our goal is to engage women in their own health so they can feel confident and informed,” Schott explains. “At every unique stage of women’s lives, we are empowering them in the fight against cardiovascular disease.”

The Go Red for Women’s annual luncheon is May 2 at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis. The event will not only be a celebration of the initiative’s 20th anniversary, but a recognition of the American Heart Association’s centennial. “We have a couple surprises up our sleeve themed around these two anniversaries,” Schott says. “We’ll actually be hearing again from a survivor who first shared her story 17 years ago. She’ll talk about the milestones she’s been able to experience because of the work of the American Heart Association. It will be an inspiring example of the power of advocacy.”

For Go Red for Women co-chair Penny Pennington, managing partner at Edward Jones, heart health is a very personal issue. “My grandmother passed away at the age of 55 from a heart attack before I had the chance to meet her,” she notes. “At Edward Jones, we too often see the impact pervasive health issues, like heart disease, can have on one’s family and their finances. The Go Red for Women campaign is leading efforts in the fight against this disease while encouraging women to take care of ourselves and prioritize our health so we can all lead enriching lives.”

Pennington is joined as co-chair by Pat Coleman, vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion at Alberici. Coleman is excited to spread awareness about heart health through Go Red for Women. “We, as women, are at risk of this silent killer, and I want to be a part of the mission of saving lives,” she says. “I lost both my dad and sister at age 63 to sudden heart attacks. If our family had known more about the issue, maybe they would have lived longer. I am now an advocate for my own heart health and am grateful to have learned so much through the American Heart Association as it has equipped me to educate my family and the community.”

The American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign is dedicated to championing better health and well-being for women at every stage in their life. Its annual luncheon is May 2 at The
Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis. Pictured on the cover: Go Red for Women co-chairs Penny Pennington and Pat Coleman. For more information, call 636.698.4973 or visit

Cover design by Julie Streiler
Cover photo by Tim Parker Photography

Pictured at top: Guests enjoy the Go Red luncheon.
Photo courtesy of American Heart Association