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Little Red Hats Warm Hearts at Trinitas

Small hats provide big smiles during Heart Month

Trinitas Regional Medical Center is excited to be a part of the American Heart Association's Little Hats, Big Hearts program this year. The American Heart Association is raising awareness about family heart health and congenital heart defects, the most common type of birth defect in the country, with support from The Children's Heart Foundation. This effort aims to empower new moms to take charge of their own wellbeing while creating a healthy lifestyle for the entire family.

As part of the Little Hats, Big Hearts program, babies born at Trinitas via our Maternal and Child Health Center of Excellence received a beautiful handmade, knitted or crocheted red hat, as well as a kit full of heart-healthy information for mom and baby. Each mom received a health packet which included tips on raising a healthy family, ways mom can take care of herself, heart-healthy recipes and information on children’s heart health.

"It may seem like a small gesture, but this program has taken off and really does present the opportunity to educate people about heart health, which is a serious matter considering the statistics, and something that can be prevented in many cases when appropriate action is taken," says Nancy DiLiegro, PhD, FACHE, Vice President of Clinical Operations and Physician Services, and Chief Clinical Officer at Trinitas Regional Medical Center. DiLiegro is also a board member of the Northern NJ American Heart board and the AHA founders affiliate board.

In New Jersey alone, more than 6,700 kits were handed out across the state, almost double the amount distributed in 2018. Trinitas was proud to distribute kits during American Heart Month (February) which includes Congenital Heart Defect Awareness Week (February 7-14). Congenital heart defects are structural problems with the heart present at birth. They result when a mishap occurs during heart development soon after conception and often before the mother is aware that she is pregnant. Defects range in severity from simple problems, such as "holes" between chambers of the heart, to very severe malformations, such as complete absence of one or more chambers or valves. According to the American Heart Association, it's possible to fix most congenital heart defects and there are an estimated 2 million CHD survivors in the United States.

Trinitas and the American Heart Association hope to spread awareness to moms and families during American Heart Month about heart health and a healthy family lifestyle.

The Little Hats, Big Hearts program started in Chicago in 2014 and has expanded to more than 40 states. Since 2016, over 10,000 hats have been distributed in the Garden State. For more information about the Little Hats, Big Heart program in New Jersey, click here.

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About Trinitas Regional Medical Center
Trinitas Regional Medical Center was established in 2000 following the consolidation of Elizabeth General Medical Center and St. Elizabeth Hospital. Trinitas, a major center for comprehensive health services for those who live and work in Central New Jersey, is a Catholic teaching medical center sponsored by the Sisters of Charity of Saint Elizabeth in partnership with Elizabethtown Healthcare Foundation. With 11 Centers of Excellence across the continuum of care, Trinitas has distinguished itself in cardiology, cancer care, behavioral health, renal care, nursing education, diabetes management, wound healing, breast health, seniors healthcare, women's healthcare and sleep medicine.

Posted: February 7, 2019

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Ivanka Verdugo of Union sleeps soundly in the Trinitas Regional Medical Center nursery being kept warm by her new red hat.

Scarlet De Jesus of Elizabeth, holds her newborn son Matthew De La Cruz in his little red hat.