AstraZeneca - Connections for Cardiovascular Health announces $189,500 grant to Cornell Cooperative Extension Association

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

The AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation’s Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM program today announced a grant of $189,500 to the Cornell Cooperative Extension Association of Schenectady County to support its “Health Shares: Doctors Prescribing Healthy Local Produce to At-Risk, Low Income Families” initiative.

The Health Shares program works to reduce complications from cardiovascular disease and other chronic diseases through an innovative community partnership that improves nutrition by prescribing fresh vegetables for high-risk, low-income patients at an urban family health center.

“We are excited to be the recipient of the Connections for Cardiovascular Health grant which will be used to implement the Health Shares Project,” said Christopher Logue, Executive Director, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Schenectady County. “Its purpose is to improve the lives of county residents who are at risk for chronic disease through improving nutritional awareness and increasing access to fresh vegetables. In the future, this project could be a model for local farmers to partner with the health care community to increase access and availability of local fresh produce. On behalf of the Cornell Cooperative Extension and our partners, Ellis Medicine, Schenectady County Public Health Services and Schenectady ARC, we thank the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation for their generous support.”

The focus of the Health Shares program is to mitigate the complications of cardiovascular disease and chronic disease among impoverished adults through increased vegetable consumption and nutrition education. Through this project, physicians at Ellis Health Center will issue vouchers to chronic disease patients, which they may use to acquire five meals worth of vegetables bi-weekly.

The goal is to impact 400 individuals and provide enough produce for 4,000 meals per month. Youth from the “Roots and Wisdom” agriculture and community service program and individuals with developmental disabilities from Schenectady ARC will grow, harvest and package vegetables at a city greenhouse and one-acre garden. Ellis Health Center patients can redeem the vouchers for produce at an urban farm stand where nutritionists from Cornell Cooperative Extension Association of Schenectady County will teach people to use recipes that incorporate vegetables into daily meal plans. 

“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 the Cornell Cooperative’s Health Shares program, which work to help prevent and control the effects of cardiovascular disease in their community."

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 Cornell Cooperative Extension Association

Cornell Cooperative Extension, Schenectady County (CCE,SC) provides research-based education and training opportunities for adults and youth. CCE,SC helps people gain knowledge and skills to improve their quality of life. CCE,SC responds to the changing needs of the community. Programs are offered in the areas of Wellness and Health, Agriculture and Horticulture, and Youth Development. CCE,SC has been educating the residents of Schenectady County since 1918.

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
Chris Logue, Cornell Cooperative Extension Association 518-372-1622, x252