Anaheim, California - The American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary health organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular disease and stroke, has recognized award-winning actress, singer, songwriter and producer Queen Latifah for her dedication and commitment to raising awareness about heart failure, a dangerous, chronic condition affecting more than 6.5 million Americans.

Queen Latifah received a special 2017 Woman of Distinction Award Sunday during opening ceremonies for the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2017, the premier global symposium and exchange of the latest advances in cardiovascular science for researchers and clinicians. This year’s global event is being held at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California.

“Inspired by her mother, Queen Latifah has been an extraordinary advocate and provided hope to so many who are living with heart failure, as well as for the people who are caring for them,” said AHA CEO Nancy Brown. “As a spokesperson for the Rise Above Heart Failure movement, she is helping others understand the signs and symptoms of the condition and providing support so they can live a full life. She is truly an inspiration.” 

Queen Latifah knows first-hand the importance of understanding the symptoms and treatment for heart failure. She’s the primary caregiver for her mother, Rita Owens, who is living with the condition. Since 2015, Queen has served as the spokesperson for the association’s Rise Above Heart Failure initiative, which is nationally supported by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.

“My mom means everything to me, and I am excited to dedicate this award to her,” said Queen Latifah. “For my entire life, she has been my rock. When she was diagnosed with heart failure, I didn’t think twice before stepping up as her caregiver. It wasn’t an easy process, but I hope that our experiences can empower and inspire others who are also living with heart failure.”

Heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart can’t pump blood efficiently enough to meet the body’s needs. More than 6.5 million Americans are living with HF and more than 308,000 people die from it each year. One in five people will have heart failure in their lifetime with nearly a million new cases diagnosed each year.

But, the condition is manageable if it’s diagnosed early. Making sure patients and their families recognize symptoms and talk to a doctor to get on an appropriate treatment plan is critical.

“I look forward to continuing to work with healthcare providers around the country to help raise awareness, especially about heart failure signs and symptoms,” Queen Latifah said. “Together, we can help people manage the condition, and we will Rise Above Heart Failure.”

Information and resources on recognizing the symptoms of heart failure and managing the condition can be found at