Marking February as American Heart Month on Feb. 5, doctors, nurses and staff at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood came together to create a human-chain heart on the hospital’s center campus as a symbol of their commitment to preventing heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. 

Approximately 610,000 people die from the condition each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The staff members at St. Francis are determined to dramatically decrease that number, according to Dawn Torress-Cook, manager of interventional services at St. Francis.

“Our team is sending a message loud and clear with our human-chain heart,” said Torress-Cook. “Heart disease can be prevented through awareness, education and lifestyle changes. People don’t have to die.”

Hospital staff work directly with patients affected by heart disease, providing life-saving intervention, education and preventative treatment as part of the center’s heart and vascular services and outreach programs. 

An approved STEMI Receiving Center for L.A. County, St. Francis has provided crucial medical care for more than 400 STEMI patients since March 2014, minimizing their risk for long-term heart damage. A STEMI (ST-elevation myocardial infarction) is one of the deadlist forms of heart attack.

For more information about St. Francis Medical Center’s programs, please visit