2019 Sweetheart Ball champions cardiology advancements

2019 Sweetheart Ball Chair Lisa Troutt

By Erin Prather Stafford

Guests at the 2019 Sweetheart Ball celebrated a 38-year collaboration with UT Southwestern that has led to improved heart health worldwide. Held at the Brook Hollow Golf Club and chaired by community philanthropist Lisa Troutt, the annual event raised $2,360,535 for cardiology research and programs at UT Southwestern. The total included $1,180,267 from the event, as well as additional matching funds.

“It is well known that UT Southwestern is a leader in heart disease treatment and research,” Mrs. Troutt said. “It was an honor to chair this event that directly supports physician-scientists in advancing cardiovascular research that helps patients now and for years to come. Heart disease is devastating for far too many families. I am grateful to the people of Dallas who came together to support such an important cause that continues to have a far-reaching impact.”

The theme chosen by Mrs. Troutt for the 2019 Sweetheart Ball was Sport of Kings. Her husband, Kenny Troutt, is owner of Kentucky’s WinStar Farm and its 2018 Triple Crown winner, Justify. The event gave Mrs. Troutt an opportunity to share the exciting world of horse racing with guests.

“The support of the Sweetheart Ball has made it possible for UT Southwestern to recruit exceptional faculty members in the Division of Cardiology who make breakthrough discoveries,” said Dr. Daniel K. Podolsky, President of UT Southwestern. “We are deeply grateful for the unwavering dedication of the members of the Sweetheart Ball, who have given the Medical Center a special capacity to make notable progress in combating heart disease, while also training future generations of physicians and scientists focused on cardiology.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. About 610,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year, and many suffer complications from heart attacks and strokes.

Since the fundraiser was created in 1981, Sweetheart Ball gifts totaling more than $33 million have been directed toward cardiovascular research at UT Southwestern. Funding from the Sweetheart Ball’s early years established the Gail Griffiths Hill Chair in Cardiology, held by Dr. Sharon Reimold, Professor of Internal Medicine. Gifts from the group also established a second chair named the Sweetheart Ball-Kern Wildenthal, M.D., Ph.D. Distinguished Chair in Cardiology, held by Dr. James de Lemos, Professor of Internal Medicine.

Sweetheart Ball Legacy

Spanning more than three decades, the Sweetheart Ball has supported UT Southwestern research that has led to discoveries and transformational change in the ways doctors diagnose, treat, and prevent heart disease.

UTSW scientists and physician researchers have:

• Discovered how cholesterol levels are controlled, which led to the development of statin drugs – the most prescribed medication in the world – that have lowered the risk of heart attack by 50 percent

• Set the stage for new discoveries on preventing congenital heart disease by identifying the genes that control the growth of the heart in the fetus

• Improved heart transplant procedures, with mortality statistics at UTSW ranking among the top five in the nation

• Created an exercise regimen after discovering that proper cardio exercise can reverse the damage to aging hearts and help prevent risk of future heart failure

• Developed a new class of drugs, including PCSK9 inhibitors, to treat hypercholesterolemia, which was approved by the FDA in 2015

• Performed revolutionary minimally invasive procedures for valve replacement that reduces the trauma of heart surgery

• Inspired new approaches to prevent and treat cardiovascular and liver diseases through the Dallas Heart Study, which originated at UT Southwestern in 2000, and its next chapter – the Dallas Hearts and Minds Study – now underway, which explores healthy aging in a multiethnic cohort and will serve as a platform for new discoveries in understanding the aging process

Dr. Podolsky holds the Philip O’Bryan Montgomery, Jr., M.D. Distinguished Presidential Chair in Academic Administration, and the Doris and Bryan Wildenthal Distinguished Chair in Medical Science.