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Kathy Kastan
Kathy Kastan, LCSW/MA Ed, became Director of Duke Medicine’s Women’s Health & Advocacy Initiative in October of 2011. As Director, Ms. Kastan is working on a strategic plan for the Women’s Health Initiative that will focus on improving the quality, satisfaction and evidence based clinical care, research and health education programming delivered to women and their families, locally, nationally and globally.

She is Past President, Emeritus of the Board of Directors of WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease. Ms. Kastan is the Past Chairman of the Board of Directors and board member for the Greater Southeast Affiliate of the American Heart Association. She has been a national spokesperson for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute’s The Heart Truth®/Red Dress campaign since 2003. She is currently serving on the Board of Director’s of the Triangle’s American Heart Association

As a cardiac bypass survivor at age 42, Ms. Kastan understands the unique perspectives and challenges of women living with heart disease. In speaking with women’s groups, the media, health care providers, and political leaders across the country about heart disease, Ms. Kastan urges women to know their risk factors for heart disease and encourages their doctors to partner with them in their health care.

Ms. Kastan holds an MSW and MA Ed. from Washington University in St. Louis and is a certified LCSW and licensed family mediator. She has more than 14 years of clinical experience in hospital and private settings, specializing in individual, family and group therapy for children, adolescents and adults.

Ms. Kastan’s first book “From the Heart: A Woman’s Guide to Living Well with Heart Disease” was published in 2007 (paperback edition, 2008) by Da Capo Lifelong Books—a member of the Perseus Books Group. WomenHeart’s All Heart Family Cookbook, of which Ms. Kastan is a co-author, was published in 2008.

Ms. Kastan is an invited and frequent blogger for the Huffington Post. She has represented female heart patients in many public forums, including interviews on CNN, CBS, and ABC, has been featured in numerous articles in prominent national print media, including Time magazine, the Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post, and has been invited to participate in multiple White House functions related to women’s heart health. “Second Opinion,” a PBS show in its fifth season, highlighted Ms. Kastan as a “patient advocate” in 9 of their shows in 2009-2010. In February of 2010, Ms. Kastan was awarded the Woman’s Day Red Dress Award for her dedication and tireless devotion to the women and heart disease movement. (This award was bestowed upon Mrs. Laura Bush in 2007 and Ms. Barbara Walters and Hoda Kotb in 2011.)

Ms. Kastan has been married for 33 years and has 3 wonderful boys ages 28, 24 and 23. She resides in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Entries by Kathy Kastan

Midlife Matters: Menopause, Sexuality and Women's Health" will feature frank talk on topics too often ignored

(3) Comments | Posted January 29, 2015 | 10:34 AM

The theme for this year's Raleigh, N.C. women's health symposium may raise eyebrows. "Midlife Matters: Menopause, Sexuality and Women's Health" doesn't sound like your typical health fair. And it's not. We're discussing topics our mothers didn't discuss. In fact, we'll be discussing topics many physicians don't even know how to...

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The Mother of all Health Fairs

(0) Comments | Posted April 16, 2013 | 2:24 PM

Art, jazz, food and free screenings for women are all part of the Stronger Together Weekend

I love advocating for women's health. It's my calling, and it's my job. As the director of the Duke Women's Health Initiative, I get to share my passion with women all across the...

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Are You a Hero or Just Part of the Herd?

(0) Comments | Posted January 15, 2011 | 11:42 AM

Last Sunday at 7 PM, Allen Haywood was standing in front of a column reading a book at the L'Enfant Plaza Metro station in Washington, DC waiting for his train like he has done every week for 25 years when a group of ten to 12 teens came up behind...

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Avoiding the Bah-Humbug Blues This Holiday Season

(1) Comments | Posted December 15, 2010 | 1:51 PM

Skyrocketing unemployment rates, economic hardship, terrorism, extremely partisan politics, distasteful reality shows and dire forecasts for the country can leave anyone with a "bah humbug" taste in their mouths this holiday season.

To add a bit of salt to the wound, a recent study published by Harvard Medical...

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Women's Hearts Endangered: Guidelines Ignored

(0) Comments | Posted January 21, 2009 | 1:45 PM

There's bad news for women and their loved ones. If you're a woman having the most serious type of heart attack and you get to the hospital, you're less likely than a man to receive proper treatment and less likely to survive.

The American Heart Association has established guidelines for...

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Call to Action: Holy Smokes the Head Bone is Connected to the Leg Bone and Especially the Heart!

(1) Comments | Posted November 13, 2008 | 5:30 PM

Nothing new to many of us heart patients, but the American Heart Association just released a statement that heart patients should be screened for depression and treated if necessary. Studies have shown for years that depression is three times more likely in a patient post heart attack than in the...

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Doodle Versus Poodle: A Paw-fect Obama Choice

(5) Comments | Posted November 10, 2008 | 9:37 AM

Who will be the Obama family's new "best friend?" In a recent interview, president-elect Obama said in a joking manner, "This is a major issue. And we have 2 criteria that have to be reconciled." One is that the dog be hypoallergenic because Malia (Obama's 10 year old daughter) is...

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Is Chocolate Really Heart Healthy? You Bet!

(5) Comments | Posted July 1, 2008 | 11:48 AM

After having such a very sad couple of weeks, there's nothing like surrounding yourself with good food, friends and family. One delectable super food that is good for our overall health including our hearts is dark chocolate or more specifically cocoa and bittersweet chocolate (which must contain at least...

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Mr. Russert's Opus

(1) Comments | Posted June 29, 2008 | 9:16 PM

Several years ago Richard Dreyfus starred in a wonderful movie named Mr. Holland's Opus, a story about a high school music teacher who is forced to retire and focuses on how little he thinks he accomplished in his life. As he cleans out his classroom and begins to leave the...

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Heart Disease Death Rates Decrease, But...

(2) Comments | Posted March 24, 2008 | 2:18 PM

The good news is that the data recently released from the National Center for Health Statistics and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that death rates from heart disease and stroke in the USA have dropped significantly and surpassed the prevention goals for the American Heart Association for 2010....

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Middle Age + Holidays: A Lethal Combination?

(1) Comments | Posted December 18, 2007 | 12:06 PM

A recent study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that suicide rates have increased to their highest level in at least 25 years among people aged 45-54. And women had the highest rates of suicide in this age group. The study doesn't explain why there is...

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Social Isolation: A Trend That We Can Change

(1) Comments | Posted December 7, 2007 | 6:19 PM

Social isolation is becoming more prevalent in our lives and the lives of our loved ones. And during the holidays, feelings of loneliness, isolation, and depression can be magnified.

A recent study by McPherson et al showed that Americans have one-third fewer friends than they did twenty years ago....

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Gender Differences, Medical Disparities

(1) Comments | Posted October 16, 2007 | 5:53 PM

Over the past six years there have been absolute changes in the country around the issue of women and heart disease. The great news is groups such as WomenHeart, the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has made strides in improving awareness. About 57 percent...

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Powerful Emotions Affect Heart Health

(1) Comments | Posted August 28, 2007 | 6:11 PM

According to the National Mental Health Association, at any given time in the U.S. there are 54 million Americans suffering with a mental health concern. But only eight million people seek treatment.

As a psychotherapist, these statistics alarm me. But they also alarm me as a bypass survivor and...

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10 Unanswered Questions Leave Millions of Lives Hanging by a Heartbeat

(2) Comments | Posted July 31, 2007 | 2:16 PM

Because heart disease affects so many people, one may think that we as a nation have put the time and resources into figuring out how to reduce its devastating impact. There is, however, an element of flying blind when it comes to women and heart disease.

Women's heart disease...

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(5) Comments | Posted July 17, 2007 | 4:10 PM

Congress is currently considering proposals that could penalize doctors who practice personalized care or use the most advanced medical technology. To me, this is misguided, harmful, and very, very personal.

Four years ago, I was a healthy, 41-year-old, avid athlete who intensely enjoyed the challenges of...

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The HEART for Women Act

(0) Comments | Posted June 4, 2007 | 5:15 PM

Cardiovascular diseases kill more women each year than the next five causes of death combined, according to the American Heart Association.

I could've been one of those women.

Five years ago, I was a 41-year-old avid athlete who had no idea women my age could get heart disease....

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