AstraZeneca - Connections for Cardiovascular Health announces $244,455 grant to Saint Agnes Hospital Foundation, Inc.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation’s Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM program today announced a grant of $244,455 to the Saint Agnes Hospital Foundation to support its “Heart-to-Heart” initiative.

Heart-to-Heart will allow Saint Agnes to partner with a variety of local churches to provide key cardiovascular screenings, with a particular focus on African-American women as they are at highest risk for developing heart disease. Those determined to be at high risk will gain access to ongoing education, health, lifestyle and exercise classes geared towards reducing heart disease in our community. Progress will be measured by clinically significant improvements in laboratory and risk profile results at four and ten month intervals.

“Baltimore City Health Department’s neighborhood health profiles show areas of Southwest Baltimore with some of the highest rates of premature death due to cardiovascular disease,” said Mary Kay Gardenier, vice president of the Cardiovascular Institute at Saint Agnes Hospital. “These areas have death rates nearly six times higher than other areas in the City. Saint Agnes has long been a leader in the treatment of cardiovascular disease, and this grant will significantly accelerate the pace at which we can connect directly with women in our community to provide the education and tools they need to make a difference in their heart health.”

Heart-to-Heart is a new companion program to Red Dress Sunday, a heart disease outreach program for African-American women, which has been running for nine years across 130 congregations. Heart-to-Heart will be implemented at nine churches in Baltimore City where each church is a site for heart risk screenings and intervention programs.

“Cardiovascular disease continues to be the nation’s No. 1 killer, which is why we must work to decrease the risks of this devastating disease," said James W. Blasetto, M.D., MPH, FACC chairman of the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation. "The AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation is proud to provide funding to innovative, grassroots programs like Saint Agnes Hospital’s Heart-to-Heart program, which works to help prevent and control the effects of cardiovascular disease in their community."

Heart screenings include a health risk assessment, electrocardiogram and biometrics as well as testing for blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. Cardiac nurses provide a tailored consultation on each participant’s personal heart disease risk factors and necessary behavioral changes related to diet, exercise and lifestyle to decrease their risk. Women identified as high-risk gain access to well4life, a weight loss and healthy lifestyle intervention program that provides tools, education and support to create lasting health changes. As part of the well4life program, they will have access to a lifestyle coach, oversight by a nurse practitioner, support groups, exercise and education classes and a robust web component for 24-hour access to track physical activity, plan meals and view exercise demonstrations.

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.

Organizations can learn more and apply online for a Foundation grant at Applications must be submitted online no later than 5 p.m. EST on Feb. 28, 2013.

About Saint Agnes Hospital

Founded by the Daughters of Charity in 1862, Saint Agnes Hospital is a 296-bed hospital currently undergoing a $200 million-plus expansion emphasizing patient safety in a high quality healthcare environment. Saint Agnes is the oldest Catholic hospital in Baltimore, Maryland and is a full-service teaching hospital with residency programs in medicine and surgery. The hospital’s key institutes include the: Cancer Institute; Cardiovascular Institute; Maryland Metabolic Institute; Orthopedic & Spine Institute; Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery; and The Bunting Health Institute for Women & Children. Saint Agnes opened the first Chest Pain ED in the world more than 30 years ago, and continues to expand and grow its Emergency Services.

About Saint Agnes Hospital Foundation, Inc.

The Saint Agnes Foundation is a nonprofit corporation that raised millions of dollars annually in support of Saint Agnes Healthcare. Its focus is on the strategic expansion of the six centers of excellence, new health programs, campus expansion, supplemental education for health care professionals, and leading-edge medical equipment and technology.

About the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation

Established in 1993, the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation is a Delaware not-for-profit corporation and a 501(c)(3) entity organized for charitable purposes including to promote public awareness of healthcare issues, to promote public education of medical knowledge and to support or contribute to charitable and qualified exempt organizations consistent with its charitable purpose. Connections for Cardiovascular Health was launched in 2010 through a charitable contribution of $25 million from AstraZeneca.

Media Inquiries

AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation Media Line 302-885-2677
Amanda Karfakis at Vitamin (PR Agency of Records for Saint Agnes) 410-732-6542 or