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Dominican Hospital Launches Dare to CARE Free Cardiovascular Screening Program


Local business owner Ted Burke took 20 minutes out of a busy morning this week to make sure that his cardiovascular health is on track.

Mr. Burke participated in Dignity Health Dominican Hospital’s new Dare to C.A.R.E. free cardiovascular screening program, which is one of only six in the country and the only one available on the West Coast.

“I know that heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women and, after my screening, I’m delighted to say my results were better than I deserve!” said Mr. Burke, owner of the historic Shadowbrook Restaurant and also president of the Dominican Hospital Foundation Board of Directors. “Dominican gives to this community in so many ways. These free screenings are just another example of their mission to provide excellent care to everyone who walks through their doors.”

Every year, more than 600,000 Americans die of cardiovascular disease – that’s one in four deaths. Many of the conditions associated with cardiovascular disease can go undetected until they cause serious complications or death. The Dare to C.A.R.E. program screens for cardiovascular diseases that can lead to kidney failure and more sudden conditions like stroke and aneurysm. 

“We are pleased to be able to bring this important screening to our community,” said Dominican Hospital President Nanette Mickiewicz, MD. “Our Dare to C.A.R.E. program further demonstrates Dominican Hospital’s commitment to providing cutting edge care that wouldn’t otherwise be available in Santa Cruz County.”

The 15-20 minute cardiovascular screenings offered through Dominican’s Dare to C.A.R.E. program help identify at-risk individuals, so that doctors can intervene early when cardiovascular disease can be managed with lifestyle interventions and medications instead of invasive surgery. The free program was made possible through support from Dominican Hospital and private donations from the community through the Dominican Hospital Foundation.

We know that many older adults have risk factors for vascular disease, and we strongly advocate for screenings that can aid in detection of vascular disease at early stages,” said cardiothoracic surgeon Bilal Shafi, MD, lead physician for Dominican’s Dare to C.A.R.E. program. “This program is an important public health tool because the screenings are quick, pain-free, and non-invasive.”

The Dare to C.A.R.E. program screens for common vascular diseases:

  • Carotid artery disease, which causes strokes.
  • Abdominal aortic aneurysm, which is highly deadly if the aneurysm bursts.
  • Renal artery disease, which when left untreated can lead to serious kidney disease requiring hemodialysis. 
  • Extremity artery disease, which can cause serious complications in the lower legs and, in severe cases, may lead to amputation.

Screenings are recommended for those meeting potential risk criteria, including adults age 60 or older, adults age 50 or older with one or more risk factors (high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoker), and adults age 40 or older with diabetes.

To learn about eligibility and how to make an appointment for a free screening, call 831.462.7788.

About Dominican Hospital

Dignity Health Dominican Hospital has been caring for the Santa Cruz County community for more than 70 years. Dominican offers emergency services and is a Certified Stroke Center and Chest Pain Center.

Dominican’s services include the only comprehensive Cancer Center in Santa Cruz County, a Total Joint Replacement program, advanced neurological and endoscopic services, and an expert heart and vascular team treating some of the most complex cardiac cases in the Monterey Bay area. Dominican regularly receives ‘A’ grades for hospital safety from Leapfrog Group, and has received national recognition for superior patient safety, cardiac care, and stroke treatment from Healthgrades, a leading provider of comprehensive information about physicians and hospitals. Dominican also has received several awards for environmental excellence.

About Dare to C.A.R.E.

Dare to C.A.R.E. is a free screening program offered through a collaboration between local community health centers and the Heart Health Foundation, a nonprofit organization founded by John D. Martin, MD and Louise O. Hanson, CRNP of Cardiology Associates, PC in Annapolis, MD. Dr. Martin established Dare to C.A.R.E. to extend his passion for the prevention and early detection of heart disease, the number one killer in the United States. The main mission is to educate local communities about the risks of vascular disease and identify people at risk for major heart events. Unlike other screening services, Dare to C.A.R.E. is absolutely free to patients and their referring physicians. Since Dare to C.A.R.E. began screening patients in 2000, more than 100,000 patients have been screened.

About Vascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in America. Every year, more than 600,000 people die of heart disease—that’s one out of every four deaths. Unfortunately, the majority of people with this disease are living unaware of their risks. Cardiovascular disease affects the heart and arteries in the body. It is called coronary artery disease (CAD) when the heart is involved and peripheral arterial disease (PAD) when it involves arteries in other parts of the body, such as the arms, legs, kidneys, intestines and brain. Potential at-risk criteria for vascular disease include age (greater than 60) and risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, or smoking. Individuals over the age of 50 who have any of the listed risk factors are also considered at-risk. Family history of vascular disease is also a contributing factor (including events in the immediate family such as stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure, kidney failure, sudden cardiac death, or abdominal aortic aneurysms).