CARE’s Heart to Heart programme helps women become healthier

By Sarah Comer and Daniel Teo, Research Assistants, Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation

CNM’s research lab, Center for Culture-Centered Approach to Research and Evaluation (CARE) launched a women’s heart health improvement programme called “Heart to Heart” at National University Hospital on 18 March 2014. The programme involves a group of seven Singaporean women with heart conditions taking part in a heart health instructional session comprising lessons conducted in Mandarin by an occupational therapist, a physiotherapist and a dietician.

“Heart to Heart” was designed by an advisory committee comprising women suffering  from heart conditions. The larger aim of getting the women involved in programme development was to empower and engage Singaporean women to take charge of their own heart health.

“With the launch of the first session, we are reminded of the power of the voices of the women in our study who developed the vision and the call for content for this programme,” said CARE research assistant, Sarah Comer.  The committee worked from the research findings of a study jointly conducted by CARE and the Women’s Hearth Health Clinic of the National University Heart Centre, Singapore.

The study consisted of interviews and focus groups with female heart patients from various ethnicities and income backgrounds to find out about the problems they faced in maintaining their cardiovascular health. “Heart to Heart” participants will attend two group instructional sessions during a four-month period. They will also meet with clinicians individually to set and review lifestyle goals which aim to improve their cardiovascular health. Instructional sessions will be carried out in English, Mandarin and Malay, with assistants on hand to translate the lessons into six other languages and dialects.

According to the Singapore Heart Foundation, heart disease is the leading cause of death for Singaporean women. One out of every three deaths among Singaporean women can be attributed to heart disease. The kinds of heart conditions that women are more prone to differ from that of men due to biological factors such as menopause.

For more background information on the state of women’s heart health in Singapore and the initial study, please refer to this issue of the CARE White Paper.

"Heart to Heart" participants learning breathing techniques from an occupational therapist for stress management. (Photo credit: Julio Etchart)

“Heart to Heart” participants learning breathing
techniques from an occupational therapist for
stress management. (Photo credit: Julio Etchart)

CARE researchers attending to participants of a "Heart to Heart" instructional session. Photo credit: Julio Etchart

CARE researchers attending to participants of a “Heart to Heart” instructional session. (Photo credit: Julio Etchart)

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About Gulizar Haciyakupoglu

A PhD Candidate at Communications & New Media Programme, Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences
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