Daniela Crousillat, MD, assistant professor in the Department of Cardiovascular Sciences in the USF Health Morsani College of Medicine and director of the Women’s Heart Program at Tampa General Hospital’s Heart and Vascular Institute, has been named the 2023 Tampa Bay Leaders of Impact winner by the American Heart Association.
Dr. Crousillat was recognized for her work addressing cardiovascular disease, particularly among women, and reducing barriers to care for underserved communities in the Suncoast area. In particular, she has focused on counteracting rising numbers of maternal deaths caused by cardiac conditions.
"My passion for women's heart health is driven by the disparities in care and outcomes women continue to face” said Dr. Crousillat, noting that cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death for women. “This award strengthens my resolve to continue working tirelessly towards equitable health care for all, especially in addressing the alarming rates of heart disease-related maternal deaths.”
The American Heart Association award, in its inaugural year, recognizes not only an individual’s impact on their community but also their success in fundraising for causes that are important to them. In Dr. Crousillat’s case, she spearheaded the “Two Beating Hearts” campaign, which she said is designed to increase education and awareness about pregnancy heart health.
“We lost 1,205 women in 2021 to pregnancy-related complications,” Dr. Crousillat said. “That is 1,205 too many when nearly every maternal death is preventable, and the majority are due to heart disease. We can and need to do better for our mothers, their infants, families, and communities. These women are my WHY.”
Her fundraising campaign, which received a donation from the USF Foundation, will create a program that lends blood pressure cuffs to needy cardiology or obstetrics clinics and provides self-monitoring devices to patients who might not otherwise be able to get one.