Saint Luke’s Profile: Marcia McCoy, RN, MSN

“Marcia is the person one meets only once in their lifetime.”    —Dr. Tracy Stevens

Marcia McCoy, RN, MSN, Program Director of Saint Luke’s Muriel I. Kauffman Women's Heart Center, celebrated her 50th service anniversary with Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, marking a golden milestone in her career dedicated to women’s heart health.

After graduating from Saint Luke’s nursing program, Marcia landed her first job in the surgical intensive care unit (ICU). She started at an hourly rate of $4.35, and her passion for cardiovascular nursing began.   

“The pomp and circumstance of the ‘open heart’ arriving on the elevator after a six- to eight-hour surgery left me in awe of this miracle and empowered me to absorb the knowledge of others and to be the best I could be,” McCoy said. “The OR phone call and memorable chant, ‘the heart is on the way,’ always generated excitement and pride.” 

Over the next 20 years, McCoy became an integral part of three ICUs and four cardiothoracic service groups. She helped care for Saint Luke’s first heart transplant recipient and witnessed historic advancements in medical care and technology firsthand.

Through her critical care nursing experience, McCoy observed that women were dying from heart disease, yet it was not getting national attention like heart disease in men. This drove her to complete her Master of Science in Nursing, which allowed her to pursue her passion for women’s cardiovascular health, public health, and congenital heart disease. 

In 1994, she played a major role in establishing the Women's Heart Center at Saint Luke’s Hospital—the first center of its kind in the United States to proactively address women’s heart health. The center was later renamed Saint Luke’s Muriel I. Kauffman Women's Heart Center after receiving a generous gift from Julia Irene Kauffman to offer health education, screenings in the community, and lead national research on women’s heart health and disease prevention. 

McCoy and the Women’s Heart Center team were recognized for advancing efforts in women’s heart health at two White House events. In 2003, McCoy and Tracy Stevens, MD, hosted First Lady Laura Bush at Saint Luke’s Hospital as she promoted the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Red Dress Heart Truth Campaign. The Women’s Heart Center’s leadership in advocacy for women, their families, and their health played an instrumental role in the Heart Center receiving the 2004 Inaugural Red Dress Award from Woman’s Day magazine.  

“Marcia is the person one meets only once in their lifetime,” Dr. Stevens said. “She is highly respected for her observations and vision, which have created novel programs that are dedicated to our community and support the mission of Saint Luke’s. I am honored to be her colleague.”

McCoy’s accomplishments continued with the creative development and management of Saint Luke’s Athletic Heart Clinic and Saint Luke’s Adult Congenital Heart Disease Program. Her most recent contributions include a whole-food-based nutritional program entitled Food As Medicine Everyday (FAME), the Saint Luke’s Million Hearts® initiative focusing on blood pressure control, and collaborating with the cardiovascular team to create the Center of Excellence in Women’s Cardiovascular Research.  

She received the March of Dimes Nurse of the Year Award and was named one of the Influential Women of Kansas City by Kansas City Magazine

Her greatest joys outside of her dedication to women’s heart health are her husband—a retired United States Army pilot—daughter, son-in-law, and two grandsons. 

McCoy’s countless contributions to Saint Luke’s Health System and the advancement in women’s heart health will leave an immeasurable impact on our community and women nationwide.