AstraZeneca - AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation awards $160,916 grant to Catherine’s Health Center to improve heart health

Thursday, 26 February 2015

The AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation’s Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM program is awarding a grant of $160,916 to Catherine’s Health Center to support its Heart Smart Connections program, which works to improve cardiovascular health in the community. This is the third consecutive year in which Catherine’s Health Center has received a grant from the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation, totaling $486,253.

Heart Smart Connections aims to improve the cardiovascular health of 2,000 low-income community residents by assisting with accessing services, including health insurance via the Affordable Care Act. The program builds on the successful Live Heart Smart program, which identifies risk factors and uses targeted interventions to encourage and support healthy lifestyle choices.

“Our patients desperately need access to heart health information and care. Many of them simply assume that heart disease runs in their family and they’re resigned to living with it or dying of it,” said Karen Kaashoek, executive director of Catherine’s Health Center. “When they know their risk factors, patients often work to reduce their risk; we’ve seen reduced smoking, increased exercise and 276 participants have lost 2,068 pounds. The Foundation’s grant helps us do that.”

As a result of previous funding from the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation, nearly 1,000 of the 1,247 participants from the first grant year returned for an annual rescreening, an 80 percent retention rate. In addition, nearly 1,000 new participants were tracked during the second grant year. Nearly 60 percent of new participants decreased their systolic blood pressure by an average of 15 points and nearly 45 percent reduced their Body Mass Index (BMI) by an average of 1.2 points. For those new participants with elevated initial total cholesterol (232 participants), more than 60 percent reduced their total cholesterol by an average of 34 points.

“Cardiovascular disease is a major burden in our communities, and it can be difficult for people to access care or information about their cardiovascular risks,” said Timothy J. Gardner, MD, AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation trustee. “Catherine’s Health Center is addressing this through an innovative program to help community members improve their heart health.”

The Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM program annually awards grants to U.S.-based nonprofit organizations across the country. More than $2.6 million in grants to 13 organizations will be announced this year. More than $17 million in grants have been awarded through the program since its inception in 2010. In 2015, the Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSMprogram will award grants from $150,000 to $180,000.

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. 26, 2015.

About Catherine’s Health Center

Established in 1996, Catherine’s Health Center is a 501(c)(3) safety net medical clinic, providing services for more than 6,000 patient visits annually. Using a small core of paid staff and many dedicated volunteers, Catherine’s mission is to provide free or low-cost medical services to low-income, uninsured and underinsured residents of Kent County. Learn more at or call 616-336-8800, ext. 207.

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 312-558-1770
Catherine's Health Center Mary McLoughlin 616-698-0748