Licking Memorial Health Systems officials have set a date for their annual community heart-to-heart event.

Licking Memorial Health Systems officials have set a date for their annual community heart-to-heart event.

The hospital will present its annual The Heart Truth: A Red Dress Event from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, at the Bryn Du Mansion Field House, 537 Jones Road in Granville.

The free program is designed to encourage women to make heart-healthy lifestyle changes in cooperation with the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women Day, which is celebrated nationally Feb. 1.

"In the past decade, there's really been a focus on heart health," said Tom Argyle, Licking Memorial Health Systems director of public relations and marketing, who said the hospital has sponsored the event since 2005. "It's an increasingly crucial topic and we want to bring a lot of attention to it."

Originally, the Heart Truth event took place at the hospital, but attendance was so strong that it was moved to a larger location.

"We've had a wait list every year," said Argyle, who added that the event is limited to the first 380 registrants and as of Jan. 11, 230 people were registered. "Space is filling up fast. We're getting calls constantly."

The red dress has become a national symbol to increase awareness that heart disease is the top cause of death for women, and attendees of the event are encouraged to wear red.

The guest speaker will be Emmy award-winning journalist Gail Hogan, who has worked in television and radio news for more than 30 years.

Hogan is a heart disease survivor with more than 20 years of volunteer service with the Columbus Chapter of the AHA. She currently is on the board of the central Ohio chapter of the AHA, and is a founding member of its Women's Heart Health Initiative that led to the current and national Go Red for Women campaign.

"I spoke at last year's event, so I'm going to try to make a bit different this year," said Hogan, who experienced cardiac arrest at age 32. "I'm calling it: 'Mending Broken Hearts,' " she said.

Hogan said her presentation will focus on other women who have experienced cardiac challenges and what they can do to live healthy lives.

"I was really lucky," Hogan said.

While Hogan's process of recovery was long, she said there have been very positive aspects to her experiences that she believes can help others deal with, or avoid, heart disease.

Door prizes will be awarded at the event, and each guest will receive a red dress lapel pin to wear on Go Red for Women Day. Prior to the program, free blood pressure screenings will be offered on a first-come, first-served basis to the first 50 attendees.

Light refreshments will be available.

Advance registration is required. To register, or for more information, call 740-348-1572.