Little Hats, Big Hearts Program Raises Awareness of Dangers of Stroke and Congenital Heart Defects

Ava Rose Tiu wearing a little red hat from the Little Hats, Big Hearts Program.

Heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 5 killers of Americans. Congenital heart defects are the most common type of birth defect in the country. One in every 100 babies are born with heart defects. To raise awareness of heart-related dangers, the American Heart Association’s Little Hats, Big Hearts™ program honors babies, moms, and heart healthy lives in a very special way.

As part of the program, the Maternity Department of Peconic Bay Medical Center is distributing hand-made little red hats to all babies born at the hospital. The signature color of the red hats is intended to bring awareness to the need for greater heart health for everyone of every age.

“This is a wonderful program that raises attention of the need for heart healthy behavior to begin at birth,” said Barbara Poliwoda, Long Island Regional Director of the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association. “This is the program’s inaugural year on Long Island, and we’re encouraging participation of volunteers interested in knitting or crocheting more little red hats.”

“When the American Heart Association approached us with the idea for this program, we were thrilled to get involved,” said Andrew J. Mitchell, President and CEO of Peconic Bay Medical Center. “With plans to break ground on the new Kanas Regional Heart Center this summer, we are working to ensure state-of-the-art cardiac services and highly trained clinicians to the East End. Programs like ‘Little Hats, Big Hearts’ help spread the word that heart health is a collaboration between the individual and their doctor and it reminds families just how important and common heart disease is. ”

For more information about the program, contact: The American Heart Association at 516-962-0804 or visit

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About Peconic Bay Medical Center
Located in Riverhead, NY, Peconic Bay Medical Center is a non-profit hospital committed to providing exceptional care and improving the health of the communities it serves. Peconic Bay Medical Center offers wide-ranging, full-scope services and programs along with state-of-art technology. Peconic Bay Medical Center joined Northwell Health in 2016. For more information, visit

About Northwell Health
Northwell Health is New York State’s largest health care provider and private employer, with 22 hospitals and over 550 outpatient facilities. We care for more than two million people annually in the metro New York area and beyond, thanks to philanthropic support from our communities. Our 62,000 employees – 15,000+ nurses and about 3,900 physicians, including more than 2,800 members of Northwell Health Physician Partners – are working to change health care for the better. We’re making breakthroughs in medicine at the Feinstein Institute. We're training the next generation of medical professionals at the visionary Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine and the School of Graduate Nursing and Physician Assistant Studies. And we offer health insurance through CareConnect. For information on our more than 100 medical specialties, visit

Lauren Jacobsen 
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