Adventist Hospital staff wears red for heart-felt reasons

Discover why almost everyone at Adventist Medical Center has been wearing the color red this month …

Folks who work here say that they’re thinking about hearts every day – not just on February 14.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
As they kicked off “National Heart Awareness Month”, everyone at Adventist Medical Center (AMC) was wearing red – all shades of red – on February 1.

“We call this ‘Go Red’ day, today,” explained Adventist Medical Center’s Nutritional Services Manager, Ashleigh Pederson, RD LD.

“Hopefully, individuals walking through AMC today will see some of our ‘Go Red’ efforts, and ask questions,” Pederson told East Portland News. “In this way, we can let them know why we’re here, how we help this community, and educate the community on cardiovascular health.”

The AMC Nutritional Services Manager at Adventist Medical Center, Ashleigh Pederson, and Jim Pelch, the Executive Director of AMC’s Northwest Regional Heart Center, say they want you to think “heart” every day.

Outer East Portland is the home of the Northwest Regional Cardiovascular Institute and Northwest Regional Heart Center, Pederson said. “By getting people to think about heart health – part of that is learning things they can do in everyday life to promote a healthy heart.”

Instead of hoping to avoid heart disease, Pederson observed that eating a more plant-based diet has been proven to be associated with better cardiovascular health. “It’s also about getting more active, and gaining better physical fitness.”

In the AMC Pavilion, “LivingWell Bistro” Chef Elijah Witten prepares a meat-free dish: A roasted red pepper and sun-dried-tomato pesto pizza.

She suggested an easy start to a healthier heart might include adding a couple of vegetarian or vegan meals each week.

  • Some ideas for doing this include:
  • Adding fresh fruit to a bowl of morning cereal,
  • Enjoying a salad along with a pizza,
  • Substituting high-protein beans or meat analogs for meats in dishes prepared at home.


A visit to AMC’s “LivingWell Bistro” will demonstrate that plant-based meals can be both nutritious and delicious.

In the Northwest Regional Heart Center, medical assistants Ekaterina Markovc and Jaime Jeanotte check a patient’s notes.

Walking up to join us was Jim Pelch, Executive Director of AMC’s Northwest Regional Heart Center.

“With the Code Red campaign,” Pelch remarked, “the main theme is women and heart disease. Only one out of five women knows that heart disease is the number #1 killer of women – bigger than all cancers combined.”

The good news – and this is the information they’re trying to get out – Pelch said, “is that heart disease is preventable. With proper nutrition, controlling blood pressure, exercise, wellness – all of those things can help reduce incidents of heart disease.”

These ladies in red are Northwest Cardiovascular office staff members Frances Winston, Marsha Montgomery, Tiffany Ball, Debbi Carter, Lori Jones, and Donna Jenkins.

If a person has heart disease, or suffers a heart attack, AMC is “the best place to go,” Pelch opined. “We are an accredited ‘Chest Pain Center’, and we have been for many years now. We are only the accredited STEMI Receiving Center west of Dallas, Texas. We’ve done quite a bit over the last several years to increase awareness, and to increase the capability of the hospital to treat heart disease.”

With so many people getting and giving “pink hearts” this Valentine’s week – it might be a good time also to consider ways to increase your real heart’s health!

© 2013 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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