LCHM Summer 2017 - 8


Jill Kelly McComsey: Yes, we are hosting
two fun events on June 10, 2017, to support
SCAD research. In the morning at the Bethlehem
Township Community Center, local runners
and walkers will join our local survivors to run
or walk in the Lehigh Valley 5K SCADaddle. All
participants who register early are guaranteed
t-shirts, and additional t-shirts will be available
on a first come, first served basis. There will be
medals for top times in various age groups, as
well as team awards for top combined time, top
fundraisers, and most spirit. In the evening, we
welcome guests to the Gratitude Gala to benefit
SCAD Research, a cocktail reception at Blue
Grillhouse. Tickets are available for $40 per person
or $75 per couple. Corporate sponsors can also
purchase tables of 8 for $300. More information
about both of these events can be found on the
SCAD Research website at

have been diagnosed with or who are at risk
for heart disease. 


Where can Lehigh Valley doctors refer
patients for support?
There are several online communities that offer
support to SCAD survivors on Facebook. It is
very helpful to speak to other patients who have
undergone the same trauma. Many SCAD
survivors have been diagnosed with PTSD.
Furthermore, friends, family members and
colleagues don't always recognize the grieving
process that survivors of heart events undergo,
following these events. We have lost a part of
who we were in these events, and the failure of
others to understand that makes it all the more
difficult to come to terms with our "new normal."

grants to hospitals that are interested in forming
a hospital alliance, and those applications are due
by mid-June.

Research suggests that women who regularly
attended support groups led by trained peer leaders
were highly engaged in their health care and had
low levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. The
study determined that patients who had medium
to high levels of social support, such as a support
group, were more than two times more likely
to report high levels of patient activation than
those with low levels of social support. See Witt,
D., Benson, G., Campbell, S., Sillah, A., Berra,
K. (November/December 2016). Measures
of Patient Activation and Social Support in a
Peer-Led Support Network for Women with
Cardiovascular Disease. Journal of Cardiopul In addition to online support, the local Wom- monary Rehabilitation & Prevention, 36(6),
enHeart support group provides great support 430-437. doi: 10.1097/hcr. 0000000000000196. 
Since your event in 2012, what steps have to local women, though the participants are not For this reason, I think it would be beneficial
you taken to provide support to others?
limited only to SCAD survivors but rather are for local Lehigh Valley hospitals to consider a
The fortuity of the timing of my event was open to anyone who has or is at risk for heart WomenHeart hospital alliance.
that, when I was taken back to my hospital room disease. Patients can learn more about the Lehigh
without any solid answers about what SCAD Valley WomenHeart events by joining the closed Conclusion
meant for me and my future, I did an Internet Facebook group, WomenHeart of the Lehigh
To conclude, it is important that health care
search. I found press releases from the very first Valley, by visiting WomenHeart's website, or by providers are careful not to dismiss, out of hand,
5K to raise money for SCAD Research that just emailing Marie Von Funk at WH-Lehighvalley@ the possibility that a young, fit woman may be
so happened to coincide with my heart event and
having a heart attack when she presents with
diagnosis. I learned about the study at the Mayo
heart attack symptoms. If a SCAD heart attack
Clinic and began reading anything I could find
 Are you aware of any opportunities is suspected, the experts studying this condition
about the condition, which at that time was very
available to hospitals or health net- at the Mayo Clinic and developing best practices
little. I went to the Mayo Clinic to enroll in the works to ensure their SCAD patients are in the care and treatment of SCAD are only a
study and attended the survivor reunions and 5Ks getting the support that they need outside phone call away at 507-284-2511.
in Illinois the following few years. I also joined of the doctors' office?
the Board of Directors for SCAD Research, Inc. 
Hospitals can consider a partnership with Jill Kelly McComsey is a civil litigation attorney with Seidel
Recognizing that we would reach more families WomenHeart. According to the WomenHeart Cohen Hof & Reid, LLC, in Bethlehem.  Diagnosed with a
impacted by SCAD and raise more money by website, "WomenHeart National Hospital heart attack caused by spontaneous coronary artery dissection
doing regional events, I pushed for more events Alliance members ensure female heart disease (SCAD) at age 36 and a TIA caused by carotid dissection
around the United States and decided to get to patients have access to gender-specific infor- thereafter, Jill has put her heart and soul into patient advocacy. 
work on planning some events locally. 
mation, education and patient support services She joined the Board of Directors for SCAD Research, Inc., a
that empower them to take charge of their non-profit that raises money for the most promising SCAD studies. 
I met amazing SCAD survivors both at heart health. Additionally, the NHA provides
these 5Ks and in the online support networks ongoing education for clinicians on new and Candy Barr Heimbach, a shareholder at Marshall Dennehey
on Facebook and WomenHeart's Inspire emerging research related to women's heart Warner Coleman & Goggin, has devoted her 32- year career
page. I understood that patient support was disease." WomenHeart sends patients to the to the defense of physicians, nurses, hospitals, dentists and other
so important in my emotional healing, and I Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, to be trained healthcare providers.  She is a successful trial lawyer who has
wanted to be a resource to others. In 2014, I by leading health care professionals about heart served as a senior vice president and member of the board of
trained at the Mayo Clinic to become a Wom- disease risks, prevention, symptoms, treatment, directors for the firm. She supervises the Health Care Practice
enHeart Champion with WomenHeart - the and best practices for providing support so that Group in the Allentown office.  She also is a frequent speaker
National Coalition for Women with Heart hospitals are equipped with well-informed patient on issues relevant to medical malpractice litigation.
Disease. I now co-coordinate a local support advocates who can provide peer to peer education
group in the Lehigh Valley for women who and support. WomenHeart is currently offering



8 Lehigh County Health & Medicine | SUMMER 2017

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of LCHM Summer 2017

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