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SHAPE Appoints JoAnne Zawitoski Chair of Board of Directors

Tens of thousands of apparently healthy people don’t know they are at risk of a heart attack until it is too late

SHAPE, The Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication (http://www.shapesociety.org), a nonprofit organization that promotes the early detection and treatment of heart attack risk in apparently healthy people, today announced the appointment of JoAnne Zawitoski as chair of its Board of Directors. Founding SHAPE Board Chairman Morteza Naghavi, M.D. will remain active as executive chairman of the SHAPE Task Force.

Zawitoski passionately believes in SHAPE’s bold vision that promoting education and research related to the early detection of “the Vulnerable Patient” will lead to a major reduction of heart attacks. After losing her husband to a sudden, unexpected heart attack, she became involved with SHAPE, serving on the SHAPE Board since 2007. Zawitoski also established the highly successful Golf Fore Heart charity tournament to support SHAPE’s educational and scientific mission.

“I am doing this because my husband went to the doctor 10 days before he died and got a clean bill of health, but his autopsy found severe plaque in three arteries, which could have been detected had his doctor tested him for hidden plaques,” said Zawitoski. “Tens of thousands of apparently healthy people don’t know they are at risk of a heart attack until it is too late, because scientifically proven technologies are not being used for early detection and prevention.”

The First SHAPE Guideline, published in 2006, established standards for the careful and responsible implementation of scientifically proven atherosclerosis tests to detect hidden plaque buildup in coronary and carotid arteries. The SHAPE Guideline recommended the tests be incorporated into routine screening for apparently healthy men and women as they age.

The SHAPE II Task Force will convene at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions on November 13th to finalize an update of the SHAPE Guideline. Other SHAPE initiatives include SHAPE Provider Certification and SHAPE Certified Centers of Excellence, which promote best practices for early detection and treatment of heart attack risk in apparently healthy people among medical professionals and healthcare institutions, respectively.

“We very much welcome and value JoAnne’s passion and dedication to SHAPE, and we look forward to her leadership,” said Dr. P.K. Shah, Professor of Medicine at UCLA and Chief of Cardiology at Cedars Sinai Heart Institute who has served as the Chairman of the Scientific Committee of the SHAPE Task Force.
Zawitoski, a partner/principal with Semmes, Bowen and Semmes, P.C. in Baltimore, chairs the firm’s Maritime Practice Group. A graduate of the University of Maryland, she earned her law degree from Georgetown University Law Center.

About SHAPE

Based in Houston, the Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication (SHAPE) is a non-profit organization that promotes education and research related to prevention, detection, and treatment of heart attacks. SHAPE is committed to raising public awareness about revolutionary discoveries that are opening exciting avenues to prevent heart attacks. SHAPE's mission is to eradicate heart attacks in the 21st century. Additional information is available on the organization's Web site at www.shapesociety.org.

More Stories By Daniel Keeney

Dan Keeney is the president of DPK Public Relations, which represents PULSE, The Aldridge Company, Schipul - The Web Marketing Company, Society for Heart Attack Prevention and Eradication, ERHC Energy, Saint Arnold Brewing Company, Arocha Hair Restoration among other companies. Specialties include helping organizations increase their positive visibility and establish and strengthen relationships with influencers in their markets.