AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation awards more than $1.75 million to 10 grassroots innovative heart health programs

Livestream Available on February 16th at 11:00am ET

Ten innovative, community-based programs will work to improve the heart health of people locally, thanks in part to grants totaling over $1.75 million from the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation’s Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM program.  These grassroots programs will also share their cumulative lessons learned so that other organizations throughout the country may benefit.

For the seventh year, the Foundation is awarding grants to nonprofit organizations addressing the challenges of preventing and controlling cardiovascular disease by conducting programs for at-risk groups, and tailoring those activities and information to the needs and culture of the people they are serving. The programs reach out to underserved people of various ages and ethnic backgrounds through home visits, clinics, community centers and more, using techniques such as support groups, mobile health units, grocery store tours and high school interns serving as community health workers.  

The grants will be announced on February 16th at a roundtable discussion where previous awardees will be live streamed so that program representatives can highlight the positive results of their programs and share lessons learned on how to improve cardiovascular disease at the grassroots level. Visit to watch the livestream. The AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation will be promoting the livestream and program results to university public health programs, community based health centers, hospitals and others.

James W. Blasetto, MD, MPH, FACC, chairman of the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation, said: “Cardiovascular disease is a leading cause of death in this country. Addressing this health challenge in communities requires supporting both innovation and sustainability. Our grant awardees are using innovative approaches to improve heart health at the community level and are sharing their lessons learned broadly to further these efforts.” 

Since 2010, the Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM program has awarded nearly $21 million in grants to 49 organizations nationwide. These grant recipients are working in innovative ways to address urgent, unmet needs in their communities and improve heart health. They are leveraging access to care for uninsured and underserved populations; bringing programs directly to participants where they live, work and play; educating children to serve as heart health ambassadors; improving cardiovascular health through food-based programs; using health coaches to provide one-on-one support and education; and implementing culturally-sensitive program interventions to maximize participant outcomes.

More than 1.6 million people have been reached through activities such as a health fairs, screenings and workshops, and over 56,000 of these people have participated in and had their progress toward improved heart health tracked through a variety of programs funded through Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM. As a result, program participants are making lifestyle changes and improving their risk factors for cardiovascular disease by losing weight, lowering blood pressure and hemoglobin A1C levels, eating healthier and exercising more.

This year’s Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM awardees are:

Catherine’s Health Center, Grand Rapids, MI -- $171,239

 “Whole Hearts” aims to combine outreach, education and screening with team-based, patient-centered care and on-site counseling, treatment and support for underlying mental health issues in order to help low-income, underserved individuals overcome complex obstacles and achieve better cardiovascular and overall health.

City Health Works, New York City, NY -- $178,809

“Extending care for hypertension beyond the confines of the healthcare system via neighborhood-based coaching integrated with primary care” aims to scale up a novel, evidence- and community-based health coaching model that is tightly coordinated with primary care providers and links with local services. The program aims to improve hypertension control, reduce cardiovascular disease-related health disparities and demonstrate that the model is replicable and impactful in diverse settings. The program includes motivational interviewing and self-management skills focused on chronic disease, diet, physical activity and medication adherence.

El Sol Neighborhood Educational Center, San Bernardino, CA -- $176,250

“Mi Corazon, Mi Salud / My Heart, My Health” aims to improve cardiovascular health among Latinos and African Americans by helping to change knowledge, attitudes, skills and behaviors associated with cardiovascular health through increased screening, education, treatment, healthy lifestyle support, care coordination and health navigation.

The Gaston & Porter Health Improvement Center Inc., Washington, DC -- $179,726

“Prime Time Sister Circles® (PTSC): An Effective Intervention to Enhance Control of Hypertension in Mid-Life African American Women Enrolled in Medical Homes” aims to document improvement in hypertension and a reduction in unnecessary hypertension-related emergency room visits and hospitalizations in mid-life African American women who are impoverished and living in Washington, D.C., where the morbidity, mortality and disparity from hypertension are the highest in the nation. The program uses a community-based, culturally competent, curriculum-grounded support group.

Mallory Community Health Center, Lexington, MS -- $180,000

“Take Control of Your Health” aims to improve metabolic control, psychosocial outcomes and quality of life in order to reduce diabetes-related complications, such as cardiovascular disease, among Mississippians in Mallory Community Health Center’s community through an evidence-based community intervention that encourages and teaches people with diabetes how to be active, eat healthy, monitor themselves daily, take medication, reduce risks, problem-solve and develop healthy coping habits for successful diabetes management.

Manna Ministries Inc., Picayune, MS -- $179,570

“(MOVE) Minimizing Obesity Via Education, Encouragement, Exercise” aims to educate, engage and empower individuals and families to achieve healthier lifestyles for themselves and their communities through support, encouragement and community collaboration, thereby reducing obesity in Mississippi one individual/family at a time.

Mercy Hospital Foundation Inc., Buffalo, NY -- $165,770

“Heart Smart for Life” aims to improve the underlying causes of heart disease among a racially and ethnically diverse, underserved population of very low income people and to help them overcome barriers to health that exist in the community. The program uses a multi-disciplinary team approach and partners with a mobile clinic and community center to provide screenings and cardiovascular health, nutrition and behavioral health education, and to promote exercise and appropriate use of medications.

Mid Valley Family YMCA, Van Nuys, CA -- $167,032

“Activate Your Heart/Active Su Corazon” aims to reduce the risk of hypertension and cardiovascular disease for underserved, low-income adults in the San Fernando Valley, and help them build and sustain habits for a healthy lifestyle through education based on the American Heart Association’s “Empowered to Servecurriculum, cooking demonstrations, grocery store tours, group exercise and clinical screenings.

West Virginia Health Right, Inc., Charleston, WV -- $180,000

 “SCALE (Sustainable Change and Lifestyle Enhancement)” aims to achieve sustained weight loss for 100 obese patients through personal coaching, group support, nutritional education, improved diet and regular exercise, to improve the health status of these at-risk patients and reduce their cardiovascular risk factors.

Westminster Free Clinic, Thousand Oaks, CA -- $179,953

 “Corazones Sanos” aims to improve the health outcomes of low-income Latinos suffering from or at high risk of heart disease through culturally competent, patient-centered services and programs including: early detection through community health screenings; access to preventative care and medical specialists; healthy lifestyle support; one-on-one socio-emotional support; empowerment through improvement of food environments and leadership experiences for low-income, Latino high school interns serving as community health workers.

2016 Grant Award Total: $1,758,349


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. The Foundation has provided nearly $21 million in grants to-date, funding over 50 unique cardiovascular health programs. Over 1.6 million people have been reached through the CCH program and over 51,000 participants have been tracked for progress toward improved cardiovascular health. For more information visit:

To download “Lessons Learned” and for media resources visit:


Media Inquiries:

Becky Kern: 914-772-2310