Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing associate professor wins award for clinical article of the year

November 28, 2011

The American Heart Association named Holli DeVon, associate professor at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis, the recipient of the 2011 Council on Cardiovascular Nursing Clinical Article of the Year Award.

The award promotes the dissemination of cardiovascular nursing science, acknowledges the importance of the written word in furthering the goals of the American Heart Association and cardiovascular nursing, and honors the author for effectively communicating the nursing perspective in the context of cardiovascular research, practice and theory, according to the association.

Photo of Holli DeVon, associate professor at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis
Associate Professor Holli DeVon

"I am honored to receive this Council on Cardiovascular Nursing award," DeVon said. "I hope this recognition fosters greater understanding of the nuances of gender-specific symptoms of heart attack and stroke, and the vital role that nurses can play in educating women about cardiovascular risk factors and symptoms."

DeVon was presented with the award at the annual dinner of the Council on Cardiovascular Nursing, which took place Nov. 15 during the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2011 in Orlando, Fla. Publishing company Wiley-Blackwell and the Council on Cardiovascular Nursing sponsored the award. The council is one of the American Heart Association's numerous scientific councils. Its mission is to improve cardiovascular health by accelerating discovery, translation and the application of knowledge.

DeVon earned the award for her article, "Recognizing and Responding to Symptoms of Acute Coronary Syndromes and Stroke in Women," published in June 2011 in the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing. She collaborated on the article with Karen L. Saban, an assistant professor in the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing at Loyola University in Chicago, and Donna K. Garrett, an assistant professor in the Department of Nursing at Hope College in Holland, Minn.

The article discusses how many women are unfamiliar with the symptoms of cardiovascular disease and unaware of how to prevent it. In addition, women tend to be more passive than men in seeking care for heart disease. Women are also significantly older than men when diagnosed with heart disease and many face barriers to seeking treatment.

The article provides a case study of an older woman with no history of heart disease who came to an emergency department feeling nauseous and sweaty. She thought it was the stomach flu, but in fact, she was experiencing a heart attack. This woman delayed going to the hospital for her unusual fatigue and loss of appetite, unaware that her symptoms were caused by something potentially life threatening. Earlier treatment may have prevented this woman from reaching the acute stages of a heart attack.

Nurses should encourage women to be proactive when it comes to preventing heart disease and recognizing its symptoms, according to DeVon's article.

"Obstetric and gynecological nurses especially work with women at ideal times in their lifespan to inform them about cardiovascular risk factors, encourage them to make lifestyle changes that will improve their health and remind them not to ignore symptoms," DeVon said. "These nurses can be leaders in preventing cardiovascular disease, which is primarily a preventable condition."

The council evaluates articles based on the originality, significance and timeliness of the topic, the potential to contribute to cardiovascular knowledge, practice and future research, the logical development and linkage of ideas, and the clear expression of ideas, according to the American Heart Association.

A national expert in cardiovascular nursing and research, DeVon champions cardiovascular health for women through research and education. She currently leads a research study to more accurately define how women experience symptoms of heart disease, an area that requires further study.

About the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis
For 100 years, UC Davis has engaged in teaching, research and public service that matters to California and to transform the world. The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis was established in March 2009, UC Davis' first major initiative to address society's most pressing health-care problems in its second century of service. The school was launched through a $100 million commitment from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the nation's largest grant for nursing education. The vision of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing is to transform health care through nursing education and research. Through nursing leadership, the school will discover knowledge to advance health, improve quality of care and health outcomes, and inform health policy. The school's first programs, a doctoral and a master's degree program, opened in fall 2010. Additional students and programs will be phased in over the next decade. The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing is part of the UC Davis Health System, an integrated, academic health system encompassing UC Davis School of Medicine, the 645-bed-acute-care hospital and clinical services of UC Davis Medical Center and the 800-member physician group known as the UC Davis Medical Group. For more information, visit

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