Helen Jean MitchellLudeman Center Jan 1, 2013
Ludeman Center: Why did you connect with the research and work presently being done at the Ludeman Family Center for Women’s Health Research?
HELEN: I connected with the research and work presently being done at the Ludeman Family Center for Women’s Health Research based on my own personal health challenges. Since my physicians are all University of Colorado graduates, I wanted to promote the ongoing research work being performed there. Based upon my assessment of each departments’ research objectives, I determined the recipient of my gift. Through my contribution to the Ludeman Family Center for Women’s Health Research at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, my hope is to fund the research that will help to develop treatments for the management and eventual prevention of heart disease in women.
Ludeman Center: Your gift has provided an important seed grant for Dr. Lori Walker’s work. What have you learned about her research and its potential impact on women’s health?
HELEN: Lori Walker’s research is focused on causes of heart failure in women and how it may differ from heart failure in men. Heart failure is the leading cause of death and disability in the U.S. It disproportionately impacts women with regard to disease severity and survival. In the heart, cells release chemical signals to neighboring cells that impact their function. Dr. Walker’s work is focused on understanding the role of these chemical signals in the diseased heart. She has found that one such signal, a molecule known to be involved in inflammation, is different in hearts of female animals with heart disease than in the hearts of their male counterparts. Understanding the role of this chemical molecule will provide invaluable information on cardiac disease in women and may potentially provide new avenues for more sex-specific targeted therapies.
Ludeman Center: Tell us about what motivates you philanthropically
HELEN: I am motivated by my gratitude for enduring my health challenges in my own life. Through medical advancements, I have been fortunate to survive each episode. It is only through medical research that I have benefited in my own situations, and I feel it is important to assist where I am able so that continued research may benefit others.
Ludeman Center: Who inspires you? Why?
HELEN: What has inspired me is the ingrained image of my own mother the day she passed away from a probable preexisting and congenital heart condition. I miss my mother and think of her every day. My mother’s untimely death inspires me to provide financial support toward research efforts designed to identify women at risk for this “silent killer,” heart disease.</strongstyle="color:#ae2573;">