Barbra Streisand Calls on Congress to Increase Funding for Women's Heart Disease Research

2:16 PM PST 06/11/2014 by THR Staff
Courtesy of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
Sen. John McCain, Barbra Streisand

The actress and singer was on Capitol Hill on Wednesday to meet with key political leaders.

Barbra Streisand was on Capitol Hill on Wednesday to raise awareness about women's heart disease with key members of Congress.

Streisand, who donated more than $20 million to Cedars-Sinai Hospital two years ago to establish a special center to research and fight the deadly disease in women, believes that lawmakers need to do more to address the issue. She's pointed out that the U.S. spends about $246 million on women's heart disease research each year, compared to the $1 billion spent annually on women's cancer research.

“Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, killing more women than all cancers combined," Streisand said. "Since 1984, more women than men have died every year from heart disease. It’s time for more funding, more research, and more attention for women’s heart disease.”

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Streisand became an advocate for heart disease prevention, education, and treatment a number of years ago when she found out that the disease presents itself differently in women than men, yet most heart disease research is performed on men.

During her Capitol Hill visit, Streisand met with Sen. Richard Durbin, Sen. John McCain, Rep. Steny Hoyer and other congressional leaders. Streisand was accompanied by cardiologists C. Noel Bairey Merz, director of the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute, and Holly S. Andersen, attending cardiologist and director of education and outreach at the Perelman Heart Institute at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.

“The fact is a woman’s heart is different from a man’s, yet women’s hearts are under-researched, go untreated, and are misdiagnosed,” Streisand said. “Together, we can change that.”

She added: “The time is now. One woman dies nearly every minute from heart disease. We cannot let another year pass when another 400,000 of our fellow women die because these disparities aren’t addressed.”

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