National Recognition for Heart Disease Education Campaign Run by Columbia University School of Nursing and the Abyssinian Baptist Church

September 29, 2011

(NEW YORK, NY, September 13, 2011) – The US Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health has recognized a heart disease education campaign run by the Abyssinian Baptist Church (ABC) in Harlem and the Columbia University School of Nursing (CUSON) as one of the most successful of its kind in the nation. The initiative used a combination of social marketing and outreach through the faith-based community to provide minority women with information about the seven most common symptoms of a heart attack and to encourage them to call 911 as soon as they experience those symptoms.

Cardiovascular disease and heart attack are the No. 1 killers of women in the US; 45 percent of African-American women have some form of cardiovascular disease, compared with 32 percent of white women. CUSON and ABC in partnership sought a federal grant last year to work with the Harlem faith community to develop a public education campaign to reach women of color across New York, as well as the first responders and other healthcare personnel who serve them. The campaign organizers were Dr. Elizabeth Cohn, assistant professor of nursing at CUSON, and Mrs. Patricia Butts, First lady, Abyssinian Baptist Church.

The campaign―called “Make the Call, Don’t Miss a Beat”―involved a range of public service messages delivered through radio, TV, print, the Internet, billboards―even the Times Square jumbotron. An independent media monitoring company estimated that the initiative generated millions of media impressions, worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, and reached more than 21.4 million women of color and healthcare personnel across the state.


Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, pre-clinical and clinical research, in medical and health sciences education, and in patient care. The medical center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, public health professionals, dentists, and nurses at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Established in 1767, Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons was the first institution in the country to grant the M.D. degree and is among the most selective medical schools in the country. Columbia University Medical Center is home to the largest medical research enterprise in New York City and State and one of the largest in the United States.

Located on the Health Sciences Campus of Columbia University, the School of Nursing was founded in 1892 by Anna C. Maxwell.  Since its inception, the mission of the School has been the preparation of clinically excellent nurses, nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and scholars.  The School consistently sets the standard for excellence in the field of nursing education, graduating more than 11,000 nurses since the School opened.  As nursing educators and professionals, the faculty at Columbia University School of Nursing have historically focused attention on serving the needs of underserved and vulnerable populations, both in clinical practice and in research. Today, the School of Nursing has clinical partnerships at over 200 clinical practice sites throughout New York City, and affiliations with three major medical centers: New York‑Presbyterian, Mt. Sinai, and St. Luke's‑Roosevelt.  The School awarded the first master’s degree in a clinical nursing specialty in 1955, and Columbia was the first nursing school to be designated a World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Advanced Practice Nursing.  Columbia University is the only nursing school whose faculty is deeply involved in collaborative practice with physicians at an academic medical center and the first nursing school faculty to gain full admitting privileges to a major teaching hospital.  In addition, the School has one of the highest per faculty member federally funded research of any school of nursing and was the first school of nursing to develop and offer the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.


Columbia University, CUSON, Dental Medicine, New York City