AstraZeneca - Connections for Cardiovascular Health announces $187,653 grant to Gulf Coast Health Educators

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation’s Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM program today announced a grant of $187,653 to Gulf Coast Health Educators in support of the Chronic Disease Management and Prevention Program. This is the third consecutive year in which Gulf Coast Health Educators has received a grant from the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation, totaling $528,925.

The goal of the Chronic Disease Management and Prevention Program is to prevent and/or manage chronic diseases associated with obesity and diabetes. The program promotes healthy lifestyles among uninsured, underserved, highly vulnerable populations living in the Mississippi Gulf Coast counties of Hancock, Harrison, and Jackson.

“Knowledge is power, yet many, due to their inability to pay, are denied access to the health education they need to better manage their health,” said Deborah Colby, Executive Director and Registered Dietitian, Gulf Coast Health Educators. “Gulf Coast Health Educators fills that void on the Mississippi Gulf Coast through three separate health education programs, funded by the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation grant, that operate concurrently in the MS Gulf Coast target area: Healthy Lifestyles, Diabetes Education and Healthy Heart.” 

In 2012, participants achieved impressive results through all three programs:

  • More than 83 percent of Healthy Lifestyles patients lost weight over the course of the program, and 11 percent fewer of these patients presented with high blood pressure after the program when compared with intake. Healthy Lifestyles, is made up of 10, one-hour weight management education classes and two pre-and post-test assessment sessions. Healthy Lifestyles addresses pre-diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and weight control through topics such as healthy eating, physical activity and behavior modification.
  • Among Diabetes Education patients, 58 percent exhibited reduced A1C after program completion and 61.5 percent of these patients lost weight during the program. Diabetes Education begins with an initial four-hour session and then a follow-up one-hour session after the first and third months in which topics like diabetes physiology, meal planning, exercise, medications and glucose monitoring are addressed.
  • Seventy-four percent of Healthy Heart patients lost weight from pre-test to post-test or follow-up. Among Healthy Hearts patients, triglyceride levels dropped precipitously. Sixty-eight percent of these participants achieved the blood pressure benchmark by post-test or follow-up. Healthy Hearts begins with an initial three-hour session and two one-hour follow-ups aligned with American Heart Association guidelines.

“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 Gulf Coast Educators Chronic Disease Management and Prevention, 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 Gulf Coast Health Educators

Gulf Coast Health Educators is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit providing diabetes, heart health, and adult and child weight management programs on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Gulf Coast Health Educators assists individuals and families build health lifestyles piece-by-piece.

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
Deborah Colby, Gulf Coast Health Educators 228-234-2046