February is American Heart Month—an opportunity for everyone to join forces in the fight against heart disease and stroke. This year, Million Hearts® is using the opportunity to increase awareness about risks for high blood pressure among African American men. I hope you will join me in sharing the tools for health care professionals and patients available athttp://1.usa.gov/1AU65x6. Please participate in and spread the word about the activities listed below to your members, patients, colleagues, and loved ones. Here’s to a heart-healthy February!
—Janet Wright, MD, FACC
Executive Director, Million Hearts®
Easy Ways to Support Million Hearts® This American Heart Month
Tools You Can Use
- Visit the Million Hearts® American Heart Month resource page—This one-stop shop provides resources for health care professionals to help detect (accurately diagnose) hypertension, connect patients with the appropriate clinical care, and make blood pressure controlyour—and your patients’—goal.
- Check out the new Message to Millions Hypertension Control Message Map—Million Hearts® partners and supporters can share these consistent, science-based messages with consumers, health care professionals, and other audiences to help them prevent heart attacks and strokes. Remember: You can download a new Message Map on a different topic every 3 months on the Million Hearts®website.
- Watch the archived webinar about Phase 2 of ONC's EHR Innovations for Improving Hypertension Challenge—On January 23, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) kicked off Phase 2 of the Challenge with awebinar explaining how two primary care practices improved patients’ hypertension control using health information technology. The winning Phase 1 Challenge submissions and materials are now available for Phase 2, which closes October 23. Enter Phase 2 today to spread these processes to as many practices as possible to improve hypertension control rates; the grand prize winner receives $30,000.
- Stay informed about the latest tobacco control news and announcements with ActionToQuit Network—Sign up for a free, weekly email about tobacco control from the Partnership for Prevention. Announcements include upcoming events (conferences, webinars, trainings), funding and public comment opportunities, research articles, news and press releases, federal updates, state projects/successes, and new resources (publications, toolkits, videos, policy reports). More than 2,200 tobacco control leaders, advocates, and professionals already receive this weekly update—join them today!
Million Hearts® in the Community
- National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) examines best practices in cardiovascular care. In an effort to identify best practices in cardiovascular care, NCQA selected and interviewed high performing physician practices using its Heart/Stroke Recognition Program for quality indicators and health plans using its Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set for quality measures. Consistent themes appeared across the high-performing practices and health plans. To learn more, read the full report.
- Association of Public Health Nurses and Association of State and Territorial Health Officials discuss roles of public health nurses in hypertension control. Nurses comprise the largest group of occupational public health workers in the United States, and their strong prevention- and population-focused training makes them ideal partners in health promotion and disease prevention initiatives. Community and public health nurses are using Million Hearts® as a framework to assess and respond to the needs of populations with the greatest risk and highest burden of hypertension at the state and local levels.
- Virginia’s 100 Congregations for Million Hearts® initiative recognized for work to prevent heart attacks and strokes. The Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity recently partnered with the 100 Congregations for Million Hearts® initiative to raise awareness and prevent cardiovascular disease—with a focus on hypertension control—from the pulpit to the pew. So far, 14 Virginia congregations have enrolled in the faith-based program to help guide members toward a heart-healthy lifestyle. The state aims to have 100 congregations and faith-based organizations join the program in 2015. Visit 100 Congregations for Million Hearts® to learn more about how your congregation can join the effort.
- National Association of Chronic Disease Directors (NACDD) selects three states to receive support to address cardiovascular burden. Connecticut, Nevada, and Utah successfully competed in NACDD’s request for technical assistance to help states implement a Million Hearts® Stakeholders Workshop for statewide partners. NACDD will provide enhanced technical assistance to each state through June 2016.
Let us know what you're doing to advance Million Hearts® in your community! Send us a short description with some key points, and we may feature you in a future e-Update!
The Science of Million Hearts®
- Increased use of prescription cholesterol-lowering medication among U.S. adults aged 40 and older. Using National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) data, the National Center for Health Statistics found a significant increase in the percentage of adults aged 40 and older who used a prescription cholesterol-lowering medication. In 2003–2004, one in five adults reported using a prescription cholesterol-lowering medication in the past 30 days. By 2011–2012, that number had risen to one in four adults. High cholesterol is one of the most common preventable risk factors for types of cardiovascular disease that involve hardening of the arteries.
- American College of Cardiology CEO releases call to reduce access to tobacco products. In an article in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Shalom Jacobovitz, CEO of the American College of Cardiology, discussed the importance of partnerships and support in improving the nation’s cardiovascular health through reducing access to tobacco products.
- Affordable Care Act creates opportunities to help smokers quit.In an opinion piece in the New England Journal of Medicine,members of the CDC Office on Smoking and Health discussed provisions of the Affordable Care Act designed to address the long-standing gap in insurance coverage for smoking cessation programs. The authors noted that these provisions could contribute greatly to improving the quality of health care and achieving better health outcomes while reducing health care costs.