Friday, February 12, 2010

Super Bowl PSA airs with help from the MGH

SHARING HIS HEART: Sanchez in a screenshot of the CBS Cares PSA

As an elite football player, New York Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez is one of the fittest athletes in the game. Because of his combination of great health and wide audience appeal, CBS Television recently unveiled a CBS Cares public service announcement (PSA) featuring Sanchez that aired during the most watched television program in U.S. history -- the 2010 Super Bowl. The spot, which was seen by an estimated 106 million viewers, promoted life-saving women's heart health information from Malissa J. Wood, MD, FACC, co-director of the MGH Heart Center Corrigan Women's Heart Health Program.

In the PSA, Sanchez speaks directly into the camera to women watching the Super Bowl. The sound of a heart thumps in the background. Revealing that the heartbeat is his, Sanchez says that he is "sharing his heart" to stress the important message that the symptoms of women's heart attacks can be different from men's. He ends by encouraging women to learn more by accessing the CBS Cares website. The PSA ends with a crimson CBS eye pulsating in rhythm to the heartbeat.

Wood helped the CBS crew filming the PSA record Sanchez's heartbeat using a digital stethoscope. She also wrote an essay featured on the website that describes the ways heart disease symptoms in women are different from those in men and provides helpful ways for women to reduce their risk. As the number one killer of women in America, heart disease takes the lives of half a million females each year.

"It was very exciting to have the opportunity to help create a PSA that would ultimately reach so many people," says Wood. "Even though the majority of the audience watching the Super Bowl are men, 40 percent are women who need to hear this important message. And the men in the audience include relatives, partners or friends of women with whom they will hopefully share the message."

The MGH launched its relationship with CBS Cares several years ago with the help of Isaac Schiff, MD, chief of MGH Vincent Obstetrics and Gynecology, and CBS Cares Executive Producer Matthew Margo, when the hospital and the network partnered to create a PSA about menopause. Recently, Schiff and his MGH colleague Marcela G. del Carmen, MD, MPH, again worked with CBS Cares to promote the importance of women receiving an annual pap smear. The MGH and CBS Cares currently are creating another spot to promote the benefits of colonoscopy.

"The MGH's resources and credibility have been essential to the success of our women's health partnerships," says Margo. "We are grateful that our viewers will benefit from Dr. Wood's expertise on women's heart disease and to Dr. Schiff for seeing this opportunity to expand the CBS/MGH partnership." 

 Learn more about the Heart Center's Corrigan Women's Heart Health Program.

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