AstraZeneca - AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation awards $250,000 grant to St. Mary’s Health Wagon to improve heart health

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

The AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation’s Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM program is awarding a grant of $250,000 to St. Mary’s Health Wagon to support its Heart Health 1, 2, 3: Comprehensive Cardiovascular Disease Initiative for Diabetes Mellitus, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity, which works to improve cardiovascular health in the community. This is the second consecutive year in which St. Mary’s Health Wagon has received a grant from the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation, and the fifth year overall, totaling $995,562.

Heart Health 1, 2, 3 aims to identify, minimize and prevent cardiovascular disease in individuals with metabolic syndrome, diabetes and Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver disease through health education, screening and medication management.

“Poor diet, food deserts and sedentary lifestyles have led to an increase in obesity, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, resulting in increased risk for cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Teresa Gardner, executive director of St. Mary’s Health Wagon. “Our program is specifically seeking to decrease weight, abdominal circumference and blood pressure to significantly reduce the risks of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, cardiovascular disease and diabetes.”

As a result of previous funding from the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation, over 700 people participated in the program, with over 85 percent decreasing their cholesterol levels and more than 70 percent lowering their blood pressure readings. Over 60 percent of participants lost weight and over a quarter of those who lost weight lost 10 pounds or more. Program staff report that participants have been keeping scheduled appointments with their pharmacists for increased education and medication management counseling.

“Cardiovascular disease remains a leading cause of death in the United States, which is why we must find new ways to help prevent and decrease the risks associated with this disease,” said James W. Blasetto, MD, MPH, FACC, chairman of the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation. “The AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation is proud to provide funding to St. Mary’s Health Wagon’s innovative program to help improve cardiovascular health in their community.”

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 St. Mary’s Health Wagon

The Health Wagon is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization providing mobile health services to the medically underserved in southwest Virginia since 1980. The Health Wagon’s mission is to provide compassionate, quality healthcare to the medically underserved in the mountains of Appalachia. The Health Wagon visits 10 sites in six counties – Buchanan, Dickenson, Lee, Russell, Scott and Wise counties – to serve a severely medically underserved population. The Health Wagon currently has a mobile health unit and two stationary clinics servicing southwest Virginia. Learn more at or call 276-328-8850.

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 Bridget Kagan 312-558-1770
St. Mary's Health Wagon Marcus Adkins 276-328-8850