Sister to Sister, Nation's First Organization Dedicated to Women's Heart Health, Donates Educational Content, Intellectual Property to Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute

Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Center to Carry on Women's Heart Health Advocacy Pioneered by Prominent Psychotherapist, Philanthropist and Author Irene Pollin, MSW

Contact: Sally Stewart
Email: sally.stewart@cshs.org

Los Angeles - Nov. 21, 2014 – After 15 years of educating women about heart disease and providing more than 100,000 free cardiovascular screenings, Sister to Sister®: The Women's Heart Health Foundation founded by Irene Pollin, MSW, announced today that the organization will cease operations on Dec. 31. Pollin also announced that the pioneering organization is donating its educational content and intellectual property to the Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Center in the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute.

"We are honored to have partnered with Sister to Sister and Mrs. Pollin over the past decade to heighten public awareness of women's heart disease and advance treatment options for the No. 1 killer of women," said Noel Bairey Merz, MD, director of the Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Center and the Women's Guild Chair in Women's Health. "Now, Sister to Sister is passing their torch to us. We gratefully accept this generous donation, which will be invaluable as we continue Sister to Sister's important work educating women about heart health."

Teaching women about cardiovascular disease has been a longtime mission for Pollin, who, along with her husband, Abe, owned sports teams including the Washington Wizards basketball team and the Washington Capitals hockey team. The Pollins' daughter, Linda Joy, was born with a heart defect and died at age 16. In 2013, Pollin honored her daughter by founding the Linda Joy Pollin Women's Heart Health Program in the Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Center.

"Partnering with Dr. Bairey Merz and the Barbra Streisand Women's Heart Center has been a natural progression of Sister to Sister's mission," Pollin said. "Although we have made great progress, there is still so much work to be done. I am confident that Cedars-Sinai can lead the movement and educate women that getting screened is the only way to know your personal risk for heart disease."

Pollin, a noted psychotherapist and author, created "Sister to Sister: The Women's Heart Health Foundation" in 1999 to inform women about heart disease prevention and the benefits of cardiac screenings. For 15 years, her Sister to Sister organization served as the leading provider of in-person heart-healthy evaluations, providing more than 100,000 free cardiovascular screenings with immediate results and counseling sessions. These screenings benefited women of all ages, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds.

With a Master of Social Work degree from Catholic University and an Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Howard University, Pollin is the author of two books, "Medical Crisis Counseling" and "Taking Charge: Overcoming the Challenges of Long-Term Illness." She is a member of the Harvard School of Public Health Nutrition Round Table, the Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health's Heart Attack Campaign Expert Panel, American Women for International Understanding and Brigham and Women's Hospital President's Advisory Council.

Sister to Sister's donation to Cedars-Sinai of the organization's intellectual property includes the Sister to Sister registered trademarks, as well as written fact sheets and videos explaining how lifestyle changes, such as a low-fat diet, can improve heart health. Sister to Sister also is giving to Cedars-Sinai its Holly Heart robot. Holly Heart has been the official spokesrobots for the Sister to Sister Foundation since 2001, and has spread her heart-healthy message on Capitol Hill, morning TV news programs and at numerous Sister to Sister Heart Health Fairs across the country.

"All of us at the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute have gratitude in our hearts for Irene Pollin and the leadership she and Sister to Sister have demonstrated in the public health arena," said Eduardo Marbán, MD, PhD, director of the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute. "We are committed to being a good steward of Sister to Sister's legacy for generations to come."

About Irene Pollin, MSW and PhD (Hon), Founder and Chairman, Sister to Sister

Irene Pollin has been a pioneer in many areas of women's health. She was motivated to start Sister to Sister in 1999 to get the word out to women — especially to working women, who have little time to take care of themselves — that cardiac screenings are a key factor in preventing heart disease. A psychotherapist with a Master of Social Work degree from Catholic University and an Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree from Howard University, Pollin is the author of two books, Medical Crisis Counseling and Taking Charge: Overcoming the Challenges of Long-Term Illness, and has written many articles on coping with chronic illness. She has received numerous healthcare awards.

She currently serves on the boards of:

  • Sister to Sister: The Women's Heart Health Foundation; Founder and Chairman
  • Boston Symphony Orchestra; Board of Overseers
  • Brigham and Women's Hospital; President's Advisory Council
  • The Metropolitan Opera; Council for Artistic Excellence
  • National Gallery of Art; Exhibition Circle
  • 6th & I Synagogue; Advisory Board
  • American Israel Public Affairs Committee
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Office on Women's Health's Heart Attack Campaign; Expert Panel
  • Harvard School of Public Health; Nutrition Round Table
  • National Symphony Orchestra; Board of Trustees

She has served on the boards of:

  • New York Presbyterian Hospital; Health Sciences Advisory Committee
  • Howard University; Women's Health Institute; Advisory Committee
  • National Health Museum; Board of Trustees
  • National Institute of Health; Office of Research on Women's Health; Advisory Committee
  • National Institute of Health; National Cancer Advisory Board; Presidential Appointee
  • Harvard School of Public Health Center for Health Communications; Advisory Council
  • American Cancer Society
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Cystic Fibrosis Foundation
  • National Kidney Foundation
  • Multiple Sclerosis Society
  • Society for Women's Health Research
  • National Rehabilitation Hospital
  • National Institute of Health; National Institute of Mental Health
  • United Nations Fund for Women; U.S. Committee for Washington DC
  • Washington National Opera
  • American University; Board of Trustees
    • Executive Committee
    • Development Committee