Veins on blue background

SVS & SVSF Celebrate Women's History Month

The SVS and SVS Foundation join together to celebrate Women's History Month. The SVS and SVSF have come together to create the Voices of Vascular Series to aid in the expansion of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives throughout each entity. Visit this webpage throughout the month of March to learn new facts and explore profiles of various SVS members who identify as female. 

Edith Tzeng quote and headshot

WHM Member Feature - Edith Tzeng, MD

Edith Tzeng, MD, shares a journey from her immigrant roots to becoming a prominent figure in vascular surgery. Her story is an inspiring narrative of resilience and commitment, embodying the transformative power of determination and hard work in pursuing excellence. Her medical trek began at the University of Chicago, where she earned her medical degree, followed by comprehensive general and vascular surgery training at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. 

Read More About Dr. Tzeng

Donna Mendes, MD

Donna Mendes, MD, reflects on the pioneers who paved the way before her. Her thoughts gravitate towards figures like Elizabeth Blackwell, the inaugural woman to receive a medical degree in the United States in 1849, and Rebecca Lee Crumpler, who, in 1864, shattered barriers as the first African American woman to earn a medical degree in the U.S.

Read More About Dr. Mendes

Jessica Simons, MD

In the heart of Worcester, Massachusetts, a trailblazing vascular surgeon is making waves in the medical community. Jessica P. Simons, MD, has been a figure in the field since early in her career. 

With a medical degree from UMass Chan Medical School, Simons has dedicated her career to vascular surgery at the University of Massachusetts Chan Medical School.

Read More About Dr. Simons

Leigh Ann O'Banion, MD

In vascular surgery, Leigh Ann O'Banion, MD, stands out as a beacon of inspiration and resilience. Her story shines as a testament to the triumphs and challenges women face in a traditionally male-dominated field. 

O'Banion began at Louisiana State University, earning her undergraduate degree in Biologic Sciences before pursuing her medical degree at the Louisiana State University School of Medicine in New Orleans. 

Read More about Dr. O'Banion
Remote video URL


My Health Monday

Throughout March, visit this page each Monday for a new fact regarding women's vascular health. 

Week 1

Women over the age of 60 are at increased risk of developing abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs), carotid (neck) artery disease, and peripheral artery disease (PAD) 

View the SOURCE


Week 2

Pregnant women are 5 times more likely to experience a blood clot compared with women who are not pregnant.

View the SOURCE

Week 3

Women over 50 should have a vascular health screening at least once every five years. This screening can help to detect any early signs of problems, such as vascular disease or stroke.

View the SOURCE

Week 4

PAD has traditionally been identified as a predominantly male disease however, recent population studies on PAD have shown that women are affected at least as often as men. 

View the SOURCE

2023 Women's History Month - My Health Monday Facts

Week One Week Two

Among females 20 years and older, nearly 45% are living with some form of cardiovascular disease and less than 50% of women entering pregnancy in the United States have good heart health. Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of new moms and accounts for over on-third of maternal deaths. Black women have some of the highest maternal mortality rates.

-American Heart Association


Learn More from the AHA 

Over 60 million women (44%) in the United States are living with some form of heart disease.2 Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States and can affect women at any age. In 2020, it was responsible for the deaths of 314,186 women—or about 1 in every 5 female deaths.1 Research has shown that only about half (56%) of US women recognize that heart disease is their number 1 killer.3

- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Learn from the CDC

Week 3 Week 4

Stroke is the number three cause of death in women with strokes killing over 85,000 women per year. One in 5 women will have a stroke. About 55,000 more women than men have a stroke each year.

- American Heart Association 
Go Red for Women


Go Red for Women

Stroke risk increases in women who:

  • Are pregnant
  • Have preeclampsia
  • Take birth control pills
  • Use hormone replacement therapy
  • Have migraines with auras and smoke
  • Have atrial fibrillation

- American Heart Association 
Go Red for Women


Go Red for Women



2023 Voices

Read the features of the SVS Members who were featured throughout previous weeks. 

A Look Into a Mentor/Mentee Relationship

Melissa Kirkwood, M.D., is an associate professor and department chief of the Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. She has been a faculty member at UT Southwestern for about 12 years, after completing a fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania Medical Center back in 2011. In the five years that Vascular Surgery Fellow, Jacqueline Babb, MD has known Dr. Kirkwood, she has fallen in love with vascular under Dr. Kirkwood’s guidance.

Fund the Future of Vascular Health

Your gift to the SVS Foundation is an investment into the Women of Vascular – past, present and future - while also supporting the mission of the SVSF!

Learn more and make your gift today!


Thank you to our Exclusive Presenting Sponsor!

The SVS and SVS Foundation extend their sincerest gratitude to Boston ScientificTM for being the Exclusive Presenting Sponsor for our celebration of Women's History Month.  

Boston Scientific Advancing Science for Life