The AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation's Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM program today announced it will award nearly $3.7 million in grants to 19 nonprofit organizations dedicated to improving cardiovascular health in local communities.
The grants are being awarded to organizations nationwide - from Fort Collins, Colo. to Roxbury, Mass. - to support community-based programs that provide targeted approaches to improve cardiovascular health. The programs reach out to the community via schools, churches, grocery stores, farmers' markets and more, and many include certified health workers, health promoters or lifestyle coaches to encourage healthy behaviors.
"Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in our nation, and these organizations are working hard every day to raise awareness, share preventative measures and offer resources to help people decrease their risks," said James W. Blasetto, M.D., MPH, FACC, chairman of the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation. "Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM is proud to support these organizations in their efforts to improve heart health in their communities."
The Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM program annually awards grants of $150,000 or more to U.S.-based nonprofit organizations to support innovative work in the field of cardiovascular health. Since its inception in 2010, the program has awarded more than $14 million in grants to organizations across the country.
To date, more than 30,000 people have participated in a variety of programs funded through Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM. As a result of these programs, participants are making healthier food choices, exercising more and reducing or preventing cardiovascular risk factors. They are accomplishing this by reducing their body mass index, lowering their blood pressure and hemoglobin A1C levels and learning more about nutrition and cardiovascular risk factors.
Organizations can learn more and apply online for a Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM grant at www.astrazeneca-us.com/foundation. Applications must be submitted online no later than 5 p.m. EST on Feb. 27, 2014.
This year's Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM awardees are:
Allegiance Health Foundation in Jackson, Mich.; $157,000: The Health Improvement Organization Project Access Community Hearts program identifies cardiovascular risk among uninsured/underinsured community members and provides them with navigation and resources to assist in reducing risk, increasing health knowledge and building skills to improve quality of life and disease management. This is the third year Allegiance has received a grant.
Ashland-Boyd County Health Department in Ashland, Ky.; $213,000: The Appalachian Partnership for Positive Living and Eating (APPLE) is designed to help 600 children and their caregivers combat complex issues relating to pediatric obesity in Boyd County. The only one of its kind in the state of Kentucky, which ranks third nationally for pediatric obesity, the program identifies participants by measuring the body mass index of elementary-aged children at three school districts. This is the second year the health department has received a grant.
Catherine's Health Center in Grand Rapids, Mich.; $163,387: Live Heart Smart helps low-income, medically underserved residents of Grand Rapids become aware of their personal risk factors for cardiovascular disease and assists them with implementing lifestyle changes that will help them become and remain healthy. This is the second year Catherine's has received a grant.
Christiana Care Health System in Wilmington, Del.; $213,094: No Heart Left Behind works with teens to increase their knowledge and confidence in their ability to make healthy lifestyle changes, as well as to teach them skills to help improve the heart health of their mothers or other important adults in their lives. This is the third year Christiana Care has received a grant.
Dr. Arenia C. Mallory Community Health Center, Inc. in Lexington, Miss.; $228,445: The Dr. Martha W. Davis Healthy Families Movement Program is designed to reduce the risk of heart disease among low-income African-American women by implementing a comprehensive cardiovascular wellness program that includes medical, nutrition, fitness and behavior counseling. This is the third year the health center has received a grant.
Elkhorn Logan Valley Public Health Department in Wisner, Neb.; $250,000: Operation Heart to Heart works to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease and increase health screening opportunities among agricultural laborers in Burt, Cuming, Stanton and Madison counties in Nebraska. The program provides innovative cardiovascular health screening opportunities, ongoing case management and heart health education. This is the second year that the health department has received a grant.
The Food Trust in Philadelphia, Pa.; $209,800: The Heart Smarts program of The Food Trust's Healthy Corner Store Initiative aims to reduce risk factors for heart disease through corner store-based education on good nutrition and healthy behaviors; increased access to affordable, nutritious food and new policy measures to curb tobacco use. The program will also offer free health screenings at corner stores and provide referrals for at-risk adults. This is the first year The Food Trust has received a grant.
Foundation for Community Partnerships in Chester, Md.; $267,845: The Partnering for Youth Cardio-Fit Project targets rural middle and elementary school children and their families. Based on the science supporting cardiovascular health, program participants learn the value of a personal, lifelong commitment to fitness and nutrition via the Partnering for Youth After School Program. This is the third year the program has received a grant.
Manna Ministries Inc. in Picayune, Miss.; $152,763: The Heart 2 Heart Initiative reaches uninsured and underinsured populations in southern Mississippi and Louisiana. The goal is to improve cardiovascular disease awareness, quality of care and patient education through the delivery of heart-healthy lifestyle support services. This is the first year Manna Ministries Inc., has received a grant.
Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center in Nashville, Tenn.; $173,210: Dial Down Diabetes is geared toward African-American and Latino communities with the intention of developing a comprehensive, culturally relevant and community-based program for low-income adults with diagnosed diabetes, undiagnosed diabetes or pre-diabetes. The program will enable patients to "dial down" the impact of diabetes on their lives. This is the third year Matthew Walker has received a grant.
North Georgia Healthcare Center in Ringgold, Ga.; $175,200: The Patient Outreach With Education and Resources (POWER) program uses a mobile health unit to provide free testing and education to prevent, diagnose and treat diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity and heart disease among the most underserved residents in North Georgia Healthcare Center's service area. This is the first year North Georgia has received a grant.