NIH News Release
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 25, 2001
Contact:
NHLBI Communications Office
(301) 496-4236

NHLBI Creates Community Partnership to Eliminate Disparities in Cardiovascular Health

To ensure that science-based information about cardiovascular disease (CVD) reaches people in low-income and minority communities, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health today announced a partnership with six community-based organizations. These organizations, which have been dubbed Enhanced Dissemination and Utilization Centers (EDUCs), are the first to be selected to participate in what will eventually be a nationwide NHLBI network of community-based organizations implementing targeted, culturally sensitive heart health education strategies aimed at changing local physician practices and patient behaviors.

The EDUCs are located in communities with heart disease and stroke death rates far in excess of the national average.

Said NHLBI Director Dr. Claude Lenfant, "Despite the scientific and technological advances in cardiovascular medicine during the past 50 years, many Americans are not enjoying the improvements in health that application of existing information has the potential to offer. The NHLBI is taking aggressive steps to enhance dissemination and outreach activities to address this disturbing problem."

Heart disease and stroke are the first and third leading causes of death in the U.S., and recent data suggest that this is not likely to change soon. The decline in coronary heart disease mortality that began in the 1960s appears to be slowing, and the recent decline in stroke mortality is leveling off. Control of high blood pressure, especially among older Americans, is less than optimal; teenage smoking is on the increase; and overweight/obesity, coupled with high levels of physical inactivity, is on the increase. There are tremendous geographic variations in heart disease and stroke death rates, and certain racial/ethnic minority groups are disproportionately affected.

The EDUCs initiative is an important part of NHLBI's response to meeting the Federal government's Healthy People 2010 objectives for the Nation which aim to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in the burden of disease and improve health care for everyone.

The NHLBI strategy is to focus on communities at highest risk of cardiovascular disease, collaborate with local health care providers and other community leaders who understand local issues and concerns, and encourage broad partnerships to ensure that an infrastructure exists to sustain the project over time.

The six new NHLBI EDUCs and their strategies are:

For more information, contact the NHLBI Communications Office, at (301) 496-4236.

For additional information on the NHLBI CVD EDUCs and cardiovascular health, visit the NHLBI Web Site at www.nhlbi.nih.gov.