AstraZeneca - Connections for Cardiovascular Health announces $256,460 grant to MedStar Washington Hospital Center

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

The AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation’s Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM program today announced a grant of $256,460 to MedStar Washington Hospital Center in support of its “Hair, Heart and Health” initiative.

Hair, Heart and Health is a community-based program that seeks to reduce risk for cardiovascular disease among African-American men. Barbershops serve as a community venue, offering screenings for high blood pressure and diabetes. When unrecognized or uncontrolled hypertension and/or diabetes are identified, services are provided to help bring them under control and reduce risk for heart disease and stroke.

“This innovative program works with barbers to engage our district residents at highest risk for cardiovascular disease in healthy lifestyles to improve their health,” said Michelle Magee, MD, Medical Director of the Hair, Heart and Health program. “African-American men suffer disproportionately from high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and their complications. They also have less frequent contact with healthcare providers than others.”

Since 2008, Hair, Heart and Health has operated in The District of Columbia Wards 5, 6, 7, and 8, and has served more than 750 people to date. The program trains barbers to measure blood pressure. Armed with that information, they act as heart health advocates for their clients. In addition, a health navigator from the Hospital Center is on-site to provide healthy lifestyles education and referrals to follow-up health care services. Hair, Heart and Health is aligned with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Million Hearts Campaign, which seeks to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over five years.

With the support of this grant from the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation, Hair, Heart and Health will add additional shops in the District and Baltimore. The barbershops will also offer eHealth2go, MedStar’s web-based personal health record, to participants and family members to help them manage and share key personal health information across the spectrum of care. In addition, the program will train residents at MedStar Washington Hospital Center and its sister hospital, MedStar Georgetown University Hospital to rotate with health navigators in staffing the shops for the project. The training aims to shore up the program’s success long-term. Hair, Heart and Health is a collaborative partnership with MedStar Health and the District of Columbia Department of Health.

“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 MedStar Washington Hospital Center’s Hair, Heart and Health program, 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 MedStar Washington Hospital Center

MedStar Washington Hospital Center is a 926-bed, major teaching and research hospital. It is the largest private, not-for-profit hospital in the nation’s capital, among the 50 largest hospitals in the nation and a major referral center for the most complex tertiary services. It consistently ranks among the nation’s top hospitals as recognized by U.S.News & World Report. The Hospital Center is a national leader in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and endocrinology, emergency medicine, geriatrics, women’s services, trauma and burn care, and neurosciences. It operates MedSTAR, one of the country’s top shock-trauma and medevac programs, and also operates the region’s only adult burn center.

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
So Young Pak, MedStar Washington Hospital Center 202-877-2748