The Olympic Medical Center Foundation will present the seventh annual Red, Set, Go! Heart Luncheon presented by the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe at 11:30 a.m. Friday, Feb. 28, at Vern Burton Community Center in Port Angeles.
Persons interested in sponsoring or attending the event can contact the foundation office at 417-7144. Individual tickets are $50.
“We encourage you to attend this wonderful event,” said President Karen Rogers. “We have sold a record amount of sponsorships and therefore, 100 percent of all money raised at the luncheon will go toward local cardiac service care.”
Special honoree at the event will be Jen Gouge, who recently retired as the medical assistant coordinator for Peninsula College.
Gouge served in that position for 17 years and trained many professionals that are treating patients at Olympic Medical Center and other health care institutions today. It also is one of the few areas where students can earn four-year degrees at the college.
She instigated many courses at the college, including two programs — infectious diseases and geriatrics.
“Because we have large population of people over 65 in Clallam County, I thought this was a real necessity to have geriatric course work at the college,” said Gouge. “Even more importantly, I thought we had to educate students about abuse of the elderly, which is so rampant. We need to put a stop to that.”
She was so respected in her field that twice she was invited to present papers on the social consequences of aging at Oxford University in England, one of the leading institutions of higher learning in the world.
In 2008, the OMC Foundation launched a three-year campaign to raise awareness about the critical issue of heart health for women on the Olympic Peninsula. The campaign was so successful that the foundation has committed to hosting an annual event.
The educational lunch promotes that the key to eradicating this disease is education. “The purpose of our event is to inspire women to become more educated to improve their heart health. Many women are surprised to learn that heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women,” said Rogers.
In the first five years the event has raised money to benefit patients through the Olympic Medical Center’s Cardiac Services Department “and save lives,” according to OMC officials. Proceeds from the events also have allowed the foundation to partner with local law enforcement agencies to launch a community-wide Automated External Defibrillator program.
The keynote speaker for this year’s event is Dr. Samuel Youssef, a Swedish Hospital cardiac surgeon with specialization in robotic cardiac surgery.
He studied philosophy and developmental biology at the University of California, Los Angeles. He then traveled to Cambridge, England, to study medicine and served as a trauma surgery and obstetrics house officer in Uganda. He trained in General Surgery at Swedish Medical Center in Seattle and then pursued cardiothoracic surgery training at Yale University. He found mentorship in minimally invasive and robotic cardiac surgery among leaders in the field in Belgium and gained further research expertise in Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplantation at Imperial College, London.
All proceeds raised at the educational luncheon will once again benefit local patients with heart disease issues. “We invite all the women in our community to join us at our inspiring luncheon,” said Rogers.