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Local group gets grant to help keep hearts healthy

By Rebecca Pepin, rpepin@wcyb.com
Published On: Feb 21 2013 02:51:07 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 21 2013 04:49:19 PM CST
CLINTWOOD, Va. -

The AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation's Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM program today announced a grant of $239,500 to St. Mary's Health Wagon in support of the Appalachian Healthy Heart Initiative.

This is the third consecutive year in which the Health Wagon has received a grant from the Foundation, totaling $545,562. 

The Appalachian Healthy Heart Initiative works to improve quality of care through prevention, detection and treatment of heart disease and to reduce cardiovascular health disparities for those who are uninsured and under-insured in the Appalachian Mountains of Southwest Virginia.

The program does this through both primary and preventive care initiatives, outreach programs, health promotion activities and screenings, culturally appropriate education with a focus on risk factor reduction and engagement of the community through awareness.

After a second straight year of funding from the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation, the Appalachian Healthy Heart Initiative reported that in 2012 more than 4,810 patients were screened through the cardiovascular risk assessment. Of those, 519 were tracked longer term and over 50 percent experienced weight loss of 10 pounds or more.  

The expanding infrastructure supported by past AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation funding will help the Health Wagon transition from a "project" to a national cardiovascular health model that can be replicated and developed.

The goal of the program is to expand the innovative health care model currently providing services to the target population by providing a Family Nurse Practitioner and nurse case manager. Concurrently, the program will develop a regional consortium focused on cardiovascular disease that will share inherent strengths and resources to provide a sustained comprehensive model for Central Appalachia.

The Connections for Cardiovascular Health program awards grants of $150,000 and up to US-based non-profit organizations that are doing innovative work in the field of cardiovascular health. This year, the Foundation has awarded more than $4.4 million in grants to 22 organizations.

Since its inception, the Foundation has awarded nearly $11 million across the United States to help improve cardiovascular health.