Take Your Total Health To Heart: DMV Links Red Dress Event Promotes Transformational Heart Health Awareness

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More than 1,000 women gather to fight heart disease, empower communities

“Awareness is key to making the necessary changes for longer, heart-healthier lives and we must advocate for better healthcare and stress the need for self-care within our communities,” noted media executive Michelle M. Bailey, Red Dress Event Chair and member of the Arlington (VA) Links Chapter.

From oral health to overall wellness, the 12th Annual DMV Links Red Dress Event (Red Dress) on Friday February 7th focused on equipping African American women (and men) with the tools to lead heart-healthy lifestyles. Hosted by 11 Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia (DMV) chapters of The Links, Incorporated, the free community forum drew more than 1,200 registered guests to the Hilton Mark Center in Alexandria, VA on National Wear Red Day. The signature event is touted as the largest Red Dress Event in the region and among the largest events in the region highlighting heart disease.

“Each year, the Links Red Dress Event aims to reach more women and more minds with the hope of saving more lives,” said Kimberly Jeffries Leonard, Ph.D., National President of The Links, Incorporated. “We are proud to raise our voices in support of combating heart disease, transforming lives and fulfilling our purpose.” National Medical Association (NMA) executive director Martin Hamlette gave keynote remarks. Andrea Roane, former award-winning WUSA9-TV anchor, and Jennifer Donelan, Chief spokesperson for Prince George’s County Fire and EMS Department, were this year’s emcees.

Themed “Take Your Total Health to Heart,” Red Dress featured a panel of experts discussing the roles of mental and oral health along with fitness, nutrition and wellness in achieving optimal heart health. Panelists included heart attack survivor Jennifer Donelan, cardiologist Dr. Reginald Robinson (MedStar); integrative family physician Dr. Sakiliba Mines (The Institute of Multidimensional Medicine), dentist Dr. Iris Jeffries Morton (Howard University School of Dentistry), psychologist Dr. Keisha L. Mack, Ph.D. (The MECCA Group, LLC), celebrity nutrition and wellness expert Germaine Williams (The Red Bloom) and fitness pro Tasha Cooper (TrainWith, LLC). All panelists discussed the need to prioritize physical and emotional wellness by eating well, exercising regularly and seeking assistance from healthcare professionals to keep body and mind in sync.

The overall message: heart health is rooted in awareness and in self-care. “Awareness is key to making the necessary changes for longer, heart-healthier lives and we must advocate for better healthcare and stress the need for self-care within our communities,” noted media executive Michelle M. Bailey, Red Dress Event Chair and member of the Arlington (VA) Links Chapter. “The momentum from this event lasts longer than one night. It is the catalyst to stay motivated, encouraged and engaged all year long.”

Dress for Success DC was the non-profit community partner at this year’s event presented with a surprise monetary donation totaling $5,000 along with hundreds of dollars worth of gift cards donated from Links members and the community. Red Dress also featured a heart healthy reception and vendor showcase with more than 28 businesses and organizations. This year’s vendors included Inova Heart and Vascular Institute, the American Heart Association® — Greater Washington Region, AARP, DarQuatics, TrainWith, Washington Integrative Health, Black Nurses Rock DMV, Dr. Yolanda Holmes Dermatology, and Fashion IMPACT Handbags U Like. Attendees had the opportunity to get blood pressure screenings, learn about dental health, personal training, skincare, sample health and beauty products, make retail and literary purchases, and more. In addition, several guests took home coveted door prizes given away throughout the evening which included a $750 medical package from The Institute of Multidimensional Medicine (TIMM), and a “Just Mercy” swag bag which included a signed copy of New York Times bestseller by author and civil rights attorney Brian Stevenson.

Friday’s Red Dress kicked off a weekend of activities designed to encourage heart healthy living. On Saturday, Feb. 8, Links member physicians hosted a seminar and wellness workshop for the Dress for Success DC Women’s Professional Group. Speakers included Dr. Janine Clayton, director of the NIH Office of Research on Women’s Health, and Dr. Nicholette Martin, National Health & Human Services Director, The Links, Incorporated. On Sunday, Links gathered for “Red Dress Sunday” at Ebenezer AME Church (Fort Washington, MD) to worship and disseminate pertinent American Heart Association® information with the faith-based community.

Red Dress is made possible by corporate partners who value the health and vitality of the community they serve. This year’s generous business sponsors include: Trusted Health Plan, Inc.; The Bolden Consulting Group, LLC; Systems Application & Technologies, Inc. (SA-TECH); Kaiser Permanente; INOVA Heart and Vascular Institute; Lockheed Martin; AARP; American Heart Association Greater Washington Region®. DMV Links Red Dress sponsoring chapters (11): Arlington (VA), Capital City (DC), Columbia (MD), Metropolitan (DC), Mount Rose (MD), Patuxent River (MD), Potomac (VA), Prince George's County (MD), Reston (VA), Silver Spring (MD) and Washington (DC).

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Michelle Bailey-Arlington (VA) Links
Michelle Bailey Media
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