Celebrating the Future of Women’s Cardiovascular Care through the Heart to Heart Grant

by Courtney Chaffin in Impact

Alpha Phi Foundation celebrates our 2022 Heart to Heart Grant recipient and their project focused on cornering cardiovascular disease in women.

This year, Alpha Phi Foundation was honored to award the Heart to Heart Grant to the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. Awarded annually, the Heart to Heart Grant funds research and educational programs that support the advancement of women’s heart health and cardiac care. Last month, Alpha Phi Foundation hosted the 2022 Heart to Heart Grant Celebration to honor Perelman School of Medicine and project investigators Dr. Marie Guerraty and Dr. Shefali Verma, while learning about how they plan on using the $100,000 grant to fund their vital medical research.

The Heart to Heart Celebration began with an introduction from the director of the Penn Cardiovascular Institute, Dan Kelly, MD,. Dr. Kelly shared his pride in the faculty members at Penn Med and their important research focused on cornering coronary microvascular disease. He expressed how appreciative he is of Alpha Phi Foundation’s continued commitment to female-focused cardiovascular research. Kelly even mentioned how Alpha Phi holds special meaning to him, as both his mother and aunt are Alpha Phi alumna from the University of Wisconsin. Connections like this are a heartfelt reminder of how Alpha Phi brings so many people together.

Next, guests were introduced to Colleen Sirhal, the chair of the Alpha Phi Foundation Heart to Heart Grant Advisory Council. Women’s heart health research is a true passion for Colleen, as she began her professional career as a cardiac nurse. She recognized early on that women have vastly different effects and experiences relating to cardiovascular health. Because of this, Alpha Phi’s mission to fund clinical research and educational programs that support women’s heart health is of the utmost importance.

“Women’s heart health is top of mind and Alpha Phi Foundation is dedicated to being part of the solution” – Colleen Sirhal.

Finally, project investigators Dr. Marie Guerraty and Dr. Shefali Verma gave an insightful presentation on their newly funded research. They began by expressing their deep gratitude for receiving this impactful Heart to Heart grant. Drs. Guerraty and Verma plan on using the $100,000 grant for their research project, Genetic Determinants of Coronary Microvascular Disease in Women. By leveraging the Penn Medicine BioBank (PMBB) and studying genetic variants that correlate with the diagnosis of Coronary Microvascular Disease (CMVD), Drs. Guerraty and Verma are hopeful that targeted treatments will be identified.

It was inspiring and motivational to see the important work that Dr. Marie Guerraty and Dr. Shefali Verma are doing in the area of women’s heart health. The way they are utilizing the BioBank at Penn to further their research is impressive and guests walked away from the celebration knowing that the work they are doing will impact generations of women to come. 

The Heart to Heart Grant would not be possible without the continued generosity of Alpha Phi Foundation donors and volunteers. Interested in investing in Alpha Phi Foundation’s Women’s Heart Health Program? Consider making a donation today!

To watch the entire Heart to Heart Celebration, click here.




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