Use these ideas to join others across the state in conducting activities to raise awareness about women and heart disease. Once you have an activity idea in mind, be sure to check out the Online Toolkit's promotional and educational materials—posters, brochures, fact sheets, newsletter articles, press release and media alert templates, proclamation, partner outreach letter, and more—to help make the most of your event.

Event Ideas

> Organize a "Wear Red Day" or "Women's Heart Day" event at a local mall, library, community center, local business, or manufacturing plant.

> Form partnerships with retail/clothing outlets to stage a Red Dress fashion show or hold a "Red Dress Day" that donates a percentage of the profit for every red dress sold to a non-profit heart disease organization.

> Organize heart-health screening events and health fairs at businesses, faith-based organizations, hospitals, clinics, and health centers.

> Collaborate with existing community activities, such as organizing a team to join a local American Heart Association Heart Walk.

> Launch a drive to distribute The Heart Truth posters and brochures to community centers, libraries, grocery stores, and physician offices.

> Organize a "Red Dress Evening" or "Red Dress Luncheon" for a local restaurant to serve a creative "tasting menu" of heart-healthy foods.

> Partner with local beauty salons and spas to exhibit and reinforce the message that women need to take care of themselves both inside and out.

> Leave The Heart Truth fact sheets and brochures about heart disease for customers to pick up at the main desk or create a freestanding display. (The Truth Isn't Pretty Print PSA — PDF, 62K) (sample partner outreach letter)

> Hold a "Red Dress for Success" breakfast or luncheon with local professional women's organizations to feature a Red Dress fashion show.

> Plan a "Wear a Red Dress Day" for your place of worship. You can put a notice in the bulletin, hold an educational session and distribute brochures and fact sheets.

> Work with the governor and/or mayor's office to issue a proclamation officially designating your community's participation in The Heart Truth campaign. (sample proclamation)

> Contact a female legislative representative and ask her to spearhead a program of her own, or ask her to issue a statement in support of your program. Invite a female legislative representative to host your event and ask her to wear a red dress.

> Distribute Red Dress Pins at your presentation or other community health-related events and activities.
> Use The Heart Truth for Women: A Speaker's Kit to give a presentation at your event.

Media Outreach Ideas

To generate added awareness of The Heart Truth campaign in your community, it's important to let your print and broadcast media know about your event or activity. Here are just a few ways you can spread the word among your local media:

> Distribute The Heart Truth sample media alert prior to your event. The alert provides the media with all of the details of your event, but most importantly, it lets them know why it is worthwhile for them to cover your news.

> Distribute The Heart Truth sample press release on the day of your event to provide media with a more comprehensive overview of your activity, as well as background information about the campaign.

> Send Red Dress Pins with a note about your event and The Heart Truth campaign to local female newscasters; encourage them to wear red clothing and the Red Dress Pin during the week of your event to show their support of The Heart Truth campaign.

> Contact a local talk show host or local medical news producer to have a program or segment on what The Heart Truth campaign is doing locally; offer interviews with a group of women of varying ages who are heart attack survivors. (Contact your American Heart Association office or WomenHeart for local spokeswomen)

> Coordinate photo opportunities with local celebrities and/or dignitaries who participate in your activity; distribute news about the photo opportunity to local newspapers by tailoring our sample media alert.

> Submit an article to your community newspapers or organization's newsletter to coincide with special events such as Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and Women's Heart Day.

> Pitch your local medical producers and reporters about developing a 3-part series on women and heart disease. The series can feature local female heart attack survivors and local women and heart disease experts. It could include the following themes: Part I: The Problem—Overview of heart disease. Part II: The Risk Factors—Outlines women-specific risk factors, signs, and symptoms. Part III: The Solution—Concludes with an action plan women can follow to get screened and take steps to lower their risk for heart disease.

Presentation Ideas

The Heart Truth for Women: A Speaker's Kit—"talk in a box"—provides all you need to give a one-hour presentation on heart disease: a speaker's guide including instructions, overheads, handouts, and answers to likely questions; a Power Point presentation; an Action Plan; posters to advertise your event; and a compelling 10-minute video featuring women telling their own stories about how heart disease changed their lives.

Consider giving a presentation to the following groups:

> Women's Groups - Start with groups to which you belong, such as a sorority alumnae group, women's auxiliary group, women's clubs or a group at your place of worship.

> Local Businesses - Offer to organize a "brown-bag lunch" for employees where you will speak on the topic of women and heart disease awareness.

> Local Malls and Clothing Retailers - Ask local malls and retailers to partner in organizing a Red Dress fashion show along with providing educational materials for attendees. Schedule a presentation to follow the show or tie-in the fashion show with other health-related events.

> Local Hospitals, Clinics, and Health Centers - Work with local hospitals, clinics, and health centers to add a presentation to their roster of community education classes, and to include The Heart Truth materials as part of their community health fairs.

> Community Centers - Work with the person who coordinates the education classes or group meetings at your local clinic, adult education institution, civic club, or YWCA to incorporate a presentation into their current activities or as a special event.

Attract a sponsor by scheduling a presentation to tie-in with a local, state, or national observance or event that has a connection to health, women, or the heart. Examples include: Late December/early January encourage heart-healthy New Year's resolutions. February is American Heart Month. May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month, American Stroke Month, and Mother's Day. Women's Health Week is also in May. September is National Cholesterol Education Month.

Don't forget to share your activity ideas and Heart Truth events by adding them to our Activity Registry and Event Calendar. Contact Shawn Zehnder Lea at (601) 368-3237 or slea@mhanet.org to add an activity idea or event.