AstraZeneca - AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation awards $197,634 grant to Saint Agnes Hospital Foundation

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

The AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation’s Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM program today announced a grant of $197,634 to Saint Agnes Hospital Foundation to support its Heart-to-Heart initiative. This is the second consecutive year in which the Saint Agnes Hospital Foundation has received a grant from the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation, totaling $442,089.

Heart-to-Heart aims to identify and assess underserved, low-income African-American women at high risk for cardiovascular disease and provide a community-based church intervention program that includes nutrition, physical activity and healthy lifestyle education to reduce their risk for heart disease.

“With Southwest Baltimore having some of the highest rates of premature death due to cardiovascular disease, Saint Agnes Hospital has made it a priority to not only educate and raise awareness about heart disease but also to help prevent and cure it,” said Lucy Ferko, senior vice president of the Clinical Institute and Ambulatory Services, Saint Agnes Hospital. “The Heart-to-Heart program allows us to bring the services and screenings of our Women’s Heart Center, the only program of its kind in Maryland, to the community. After only one year, the Heart-to-Heart program has reached hundreds of women, successfully improving the cardiovascular health of participants -- and we look forward to improving even more lives this year.”

As a result of previous funding from the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation, Heart-to-Heart staff completed 276 one-on-one tailored heart risk assessments for African-American women living in communities with some of the most severe healthcare disparities in the state of Maryland. At the beginning of the program, 80 percent of the participants had a waist circumference (an indicator of cardiovascular risk in women) that placed them in the At Risk category. After four months of program participation, the percentage of participants in the At Risk category decreased to 65 percent.

“Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in the United States, and organizations like Saint Agnes Hospital Foundation are creating innovative programs to help prevent and decrease the associated risks with this devastating disease,” said James W. Blasetto, M.D., MPH, FACC, chairman of the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation. “We are grateful to Saint Agnes Hospital Foundation for its commitment to improving heart health in their community.”

The Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM program annually awards grants of $150,000 or more to U.S.-based nonprofit organizations dedicated to improving cardiovascular health in local communities. This year, the program awarded nearly $3.7 million in grants to 19 organizations. More than $14 million in grants have been awarded through the program since its inception in 2010.

Organizations can learn more and apply online for a Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSMgrant at Applications must be submitted online no later than 5 p.m. EST on Feb. 27, 2014.

About Saint Agnes Hospital

Founded by the Daughters of Charity in 1862, Saint Agnes Hospital is a 276-bed hospital that recently completed 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 Emergency Department in the world more than 30 years ago, and continues to expand and grow its Emergency Services. Learn more at

About Saint Agnes Hospital Foundation, Inc.

The Saint Agnes Foundation is a nonprofit corporation that raises 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 healthcare professionals, and leading-edge medical equipment and technology.

About 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 HealthSM was launched in 2010 through a charitable contribution of $25 million from AstraZeneca.

Media Inquiries

Public Communications Inc Colleen O'Donnell or Sky Oplia 312-558-1770
Saint agnes Hospital Foundation Amanda Karfakis at Vitamin (PR Agency of Record for Saint Agnes) 410-732-6542 or