AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation Awards Over $1.16 Million to 11 Innovative Heart Health Programs

Eleven community-based heart health programs with innovative approaches to help prevent and control heart disease received grants totaling over $1.16 million from the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation’s Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM program.

For the ninth 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 focus on screenings, education, disease management and access to healthcare and reach out to underserved people of various ages and ethnic backgrounds through clinics, community centers, schools and more. Techniques such as support groups, mobile health units, grocery store tours and high school interns serving as community health workers are utilized to engage and support program participants.  

This year’s eight repeat-funded organizations also received funding to support their dissemination efforts to share lessons learned from their Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM-funded programs through conference presentations, program toolkits and publications and by mentoring three newly-funded organizations to help them successfully launch and manage their programs.

“We are proud of the innovative work our Grant Awardees are doing in their communities to help improve cardiovascular health, as cardiovascular disease remains a leading cause of death in our nation,” said James W. Blasetto, MD, MPH, FACC, chairman of the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation. “By supporting their programs and dissemination efforts, we hope to broaden the reach and impact of the Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM program beyond just those organizations we fund.”

Since 2010, the Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM program has awarded nearly $23 million in grants to 52 organizations nationwide. More than 1.6 million people have been reached by the program and over 59,000 people have had their heart health progress tracked through Grant Awardees’ programs funded by Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM. As a result, these people are making lifestyle changes that help lead to better health and lower risk of cardiovascular disease. Participant results include improvements such as losing weight, reducing body mass index, lowering blood pressure and hemoglobin A1C levels, making healthier food choices and exercising more.

Organizations can learn more about the Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM program and lesson learned at

This year’s Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM awardees are:

Asian Health Coalition in Chicago; $149,930: “CARDIO: Cardiovascular Awareness Recognizing Diet and Integration of exercise Options” aims to target preventable risk factors and reduce disparities in cardiovascular disease and diabetes comorbidities among Chicago’s South Asian communities utilizing innovative, community-clinic partnerships through culturally tailored screening, education, treatment and lifestyle support.

Catherine’s Health Center in Grand Rapids, Mich.; $90,000: “Healthy Heart Team/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 to help low income, underserved individuals participate in health promotion/disease prevention activities to overcome complex obstacles and achieve better cardiovascular and overall health. Catherine’s Health Center will serve as a mentor to two newly-funded organizations.

Chesapeake Charities, Inc. in Stevensville, Md.; $88,447: “Partnering for Youth Cardio-Fit Project” aims to provide participants the opportunity to learn the value of a personal, lifelong commitment to fitness and nutrition by increasing their physical activity and knowledge of cardiovascular health, and to expand program results into other communities by mentoring youth programs interested in replicating the Cardio-Fit Project model.

Mallory Community Health Center in Lexington, Miss.; $90,000: “Take Control of Your Health” aims to improve metabolic control, psychosocial outcomes and quality of life to reduce diabetes-related complications, such as cardiovascular disease, among Mississippians with an evidence-based community-based program that promotes and teaches people with diabetes to be active, eat healthy, conduct daily monitoring, take medication, reduce risks, problem solve and develop healthy coping habits for successful diabetes management.

Mercy Hospital Foundation, Inc. in Buffalo, N.Y.; $89,607: “Heart Smart for Life” aims to improve the underlying causes of heart disease using a multi-disciplinary team approach by providing screenings, nutrition and behavioral health education, and promoting exercise and appropriate use of medications through both the center’s mobile clinic and community partners  to assist a low-income, racially and ethnically diverse, underserved population overcome barriers to good health.

Sankofa Community Development Corporation in New Orleans; $90,000: “Healthy HeartBeats” aims to identify atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease risk and high blood pressure in individuals with the main goal of improving dietary intake of fruits and vegetables by strengthening awareness of cardiovascular health and ways to prevent and manage chronic diseases through community-based interventions.

Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate of the Lake Traverse Reservation in Agency Village, S.D.; $150,000: “Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Connections for Cardiovascular Health - Heart of the Nation (HON)” aims to reduce the risks for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality through reservation-wide outreach, education and activities in a partnership campaign focused on the associated risk triad of obesity, diabetes and smoking and aligns with the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate Tribal Action Health Plan 2016-2020 and its established priority initiative, chronic disease prevention and management.

St. Mary’s Health Wagon in Wise, Va.; $89,910: “Expansion of Heart Health 1, 2, 3. Comprehensive Cardiovascular Disease Initiative for Diabetes Mellitus, Metabolic Syndrome and Obesity” aims to identify individuals with metabolic syndrome, diagnosed as dysmetabolic syndrome x, diabetes mellitus and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and correlate the risk for cardiovascular disease related to these afflictions, ultimately minimizing and preventing the risk of a cardiac event through the use of health education, screening, medication management and evidence-based practices such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Diabetes Prevention Program.

University of Mississippi in Jackson, Miss.; $148,863: “Healthy Hearts in the Heart of the City” aims to improve identification and management of cardiovascular disease risk factors among vulnerable populations by providing screening, risk assessment, healthy lifestyle education, comprehensive medication management and linkage to care for program participants, with the goal of improving participant understanding of cardiovascular disease and modifiable risk factors, as well as establishing control of blood pressure, lipids, blood glucose and body mass index.

West Virginia Health Right, Inc. in Charleston, W. Va.; $90,000: “SCALE (Sustainable Change and Lifestyle Enhancement)” aims to achieve sustained weight loss for 100 obese patients through personal coaching, group/peer support, nutritional education, improved diet and regular exercise to improve at-risk patients cardiovascular risk factors. West Virginia Health Right will serve as a mentor to a newly funded organization.

Westminster Free Clinic in Thousand Oaks, Calif.; $90,000: “Corazones Sanos” aims to provide indigent, underserved, low-income Latinos at risk for heart disease with volunteer-based heart health clinical and prevention services that support the whole person, are culturally competent, create healthy environments in communities of color and engage youth from the targeted communities in serving their families and neighbors.

2018 Grant Award Total: $1,166,757

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, separate from AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, including to promote public awareness and education of healthcare and support nonprofit organizations consistent with its charitable purpose. Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM was launched in 2010 and has received $30 million in charitable contributions from AstraZeneca to date.