News Release 

Successful collaboration of community- and state-based heart disease prevention programs focused on health disparities and equity

American Heart Association scientific sessions, oral presentation 125

American Heart Association

DALLAS, Nov. 11, 2019 -- A consortium that coordinates the efforts of local and regional cardiovascular disease prevention programs helped states achieve major goals for eliminating health disparities, according to preliminary research to be presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2019 -- November 16-18 in Philadelphia. The Association's Scientific Sessions is an annual, premier global exchange of the latest advances in cardiovascular science for researchers and clinicians.

Researchers implemented the Northeast Health Equity Consortium in eight Northeast U.S. states (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey) to help decrease heart disease and stroke disparities in at-risk communities by harnessing the collective power of community leaders, organizations and other stakeholders.

"Decades of research has shown that it's hard to make a difference in health disparities when programs work alone," said study author Lenny López, M.D., chief of hospital medicine at the University of California San Francisco/San Francisco VA Medical Center. "Through this Consortium, we shared best practices and selected and coordinated existing national and regional resources of the American Heart Association with local partners and community organizations. Together, we were able to capitalize on existing resources and build new networks of support that proved to be successful."

In three years, the Consortium helped states accomplish eight major goals to improve heart disease and stroke health equity. Key goals included developing regional strategies to address disparities, fostering collaboration with government departments that promote cardiovascular health equity and measuring results at the community and state level.

The Consortium's achievements include:

  • Supporting communities' implementation of the American Heart Association's high blood pressure control initiative Target: BP, resulting in more than one million free blood pressure screenings across the Consortium's eight states;

  • Organizing the Latino Health Summit in New York City, attended by 300 community health leaders;

  • Organizing the Health Equity Summit in Hartford, Connecticut, which 150 community leaders attended;

  • Awarding $30,000 in grants to nine local organizations to support innovative health equity work;

  • Developing an electronic, web-based, community Health Equity Dashboard to make local data on heart disease and stroke more transparent and accessible; and

  • Developing cardiovascular disease educational webinars.

"Community engagement is a key tenet to reducing disparities in cardiovascular health," López said. "What's so novel about the success of this Consortium is that we took the collaborative power of individual organizations and scaled it to reach people where they are. This is something that can be done across the U.S. to help address prevention of cardiovascular disease risk factors and cardiovascular disease disparities in at-risk communities and promote health equity."

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Co-authors are Benjamin Perkins, M.A., M.Div.; Marcus M McKinney, D.Min., L.P.C.; and Sean Cahill, Ph.D. Author disclosures are in the abstract.

Additional Resources:

Statements and conclusions of study authors presented at American Heart Association scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the Association's policy or position. The Association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The Association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific Association programs and events. The Association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and device corporations and health insurance providers are available at https://www.heart.org/en/about-us/aha-financial-information.

The American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions is a premier global exchange of the latest advances in cardiovascular science for researchers and clinicians. Scientific Sessions 2019 is November 16-18 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia. More than 12,000 leading physicians, scientists, cardiologists and allied health care professionals from around the world convene at the Scientific Sessions to participate in basic, clinical and population science presentations, discussions and curricula that can shape the future of cardiovascular science and medicine, including prevention and quality improvement. During the three-day meeting, attendees receive exclusive access to over 4,100 original research presentations and can earn Continuing Medical Education (CME), Continuing Education (CE) or Maintenance of Certification (MOC) credits for educational sessions. Engage in the Scientific Sessions conversation on social media via #AHA19.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public's health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

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