Through providing cutting-edge clinical care, groundbreaking research, important outreach activities and innovative educational programs, The UCLA Women’s Cardiovascular Health Center seeks to improve cardiovascular outcomes for all women.
Our motto: Heart health is at the heart of a woman’s health
Our mantra: Move frequently…Eat thoughtfully…Connect deeply
The 4 CORE components of our program are:
- Clinical care
UCLA has world-class expertise in all aspects of cardiovascular care including those with particular significance to women. Areas of expertise include microvascular dysfunction, preventive cardiology, heart failure, and heart disease in pregnancy. We utilize novel imaging techniques and multiple treatment modalities such as diet, exercise, medications, interventions and psychosocial treatments and integrated therapies.
We treat the whole patient.
Connecting with vulnerable populations (those who have less access to cardiovascular care) is a passion of our center. One outreach effort we have been engaged in is a research study conducted out of Faithful Central Bible Church in Los Angeles. In this research, young African American women (49 black women between 25 and 45 years of age) were assigned to one of two groups. The first group attended a series of four classes about reducing risks for heart and blood vessel disease, while the second group did not. Each woman also received a smartphone with an app that measured physical activity and blood pressure, and sent automatic and individualized personal messages regarding study activities. This research found that the first group had better blood pressure and cholesterol levels, greater drops in stress and anxiety and increased healthy habits.
UCLA Women’s Cardiovascular Health Center physicians have been involved in several groundbreaking research projects that have changed the practice of medicine;
UCLA was the first to discover that calcium supplements lead to calcification of blood vessels.
Dr. Watson was a member of the team that described the calcium paradox: osteoporosis is a lack of calcium where it is needed while atherosclerosis is an excess of calcium where it is not needed.
UCLA was the first to define the “obesity paradox” in heart failure. This is the counterintuitive concept that obese patients with heart failure live longer than nonobese patients with heart failure. Women’s Cardiovascular Health Center physicians have also explored the relationship between Body-Mass Index, or BMI, as a risk factor for heart disease. We are now understanding that other measures of body composition (such as muscle mass) may be as or more important in determining heart health as BMI.
A strong research interest of the UCLA Women’s Cardiovascular Health Center is Microvascular Dysfunction. Typically, heart disease affects the larger, coronary arteries. More recently, however, it has been discovered that women get abnormal function of the smaller vessels, the microvessels, of the heart which can cause heart attacks in women more often than in men. Many times women are misdiagnosed because the larger coronary arteries are normal, but we now know that the microvessels play an important role as well. Dr. Calfon-Press is interested in researching this little-known microvascular dysfunction called as Syndrome X.
Our series of innovative educational programs for our community improve knowledge and self-efficacy surrounding cardiovascular health. Signature educational programs we've conducted include: "A Taste of Health", "Let's Talk" and Research that Matters".
A Taste of Health: The Science behind Healthy Eating - an evening of Cooking, Eating and Learning
We have pioneered a series entitled "A Taste of Health" which aims to demystify healthy eating and dietary habits. For this series we have partnered with a professional chef and offer a cooking demonstration, meal plans and suggestions for healthy heart eating, as well as information on the scientific background for the heart healthy meal we prepare.
Let’s Talk; Conversations About Women’s Heart Health
Our signature program is our very well received "Let's Talk" series where we have a conversation with the audience about the questions most prominent in the minds of members of our community. “Let’s Talk” programs are held on the campus of UCLA in Westwood as well as other venues around Southern California. Over 200 participants attend each event, to learn more about women’s cardiovascular medicine straight from our experts. The evening event also includes select patients sharing their journey with cardiovascular disease, followed by a Q&A session of our expert panel. The evening concludes with a reception whereby participants are able to mingle with the experts.
Women's Heart Health: Research That Matters
Our “Research that Matters” program highlights the latest research discoveries that have come out of our center. The inaugural “Research that Matters” was held January 2014.