|NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
||National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute|
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, April 25, 2001
NHLBI Communications Office
As an NHLBI EDUC, DR CHIP will expand its current programs to provide a comprehensive community-wide approach to health professional and public education and risk factor identification and treatment. This intervention will involve community cardiovascular risk factor screenings and referrals; collaboration with community-based hypertension and lipid specialty clinics; and education activities with schools, churches, and other community organizations like the YMCA. DR CHIP will also promote additional continuing education programs for health care professionals in this Federal Medically Underserved area.
Based on input from a Community Advisory Board in each county, the DHEC will recruit approximately 8 churches in each county. Half of the churches in each county will then be selected to participate either in a Lay Health Minister program or a Witness Role Models program. In the Lay Health Minister programs, health professionals from participating congregations will be recruited and trained to conduct health assessments of community members and to followup with information, advice, and referral services for those found to have CVD risk factors. In the Witness Role Models program, survivors of stroke or heart disease will be recruited from each congregation to work with a health educator to present information to the congregation about CVD risk factors and their own personal experiences with CVD.
The project will kick off with a health fair in each church at which participants will undergo a health assessment and be screened for blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Those found to have CVD risk factors will be referred either to their personal physicians or to the Lee County Community Clinic where they will receive care regardless of their ability to pay.
All participating churches will be offered the opportunity to provide educational activities for congregation members in a wide range of health areas, including smoking cessation, nutritional counseling, and exercise classes. Cooking demonstrations and youth group presentations aimed at discouraging tobacco use and encouraging heart healthy eating and physical activity will also be available.
The DHEC, in conjunction with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences regional programs, will also provide onsite training programs and Continuing Medical Education courses for physicians and nursing/office staff in the two counties to ensure that participants in the program receive appropriate care.
The intervention, called Helping Educators Attack Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors Together (HEART), will enhance the local public school curriculum to provide information about healthy lifestyles and expand physical education programs to promote personal fitness and aerobic conditioning. It also will improve school meals and provide in-service training programs for teachers to increase their effectiveness in teaching health-related school subjects. Outreach to parents will also be conducted to promote the same attitudes, knowledge, and behavior. Children and families with CVD risk factors will be identified, and referrals will be made for treatment.
This approach is based on science-based interventions from NHLBI's SPARK and CATCH programs, two large health promotion studies that showed that multicomponent health promotion efforts targeting both children's behavior and the school environment will reduce CVD risk factors later in life.
The project will use the materials and tools produced by NHLBI's "Salud para su Corazón" program, a community-based CVD prevention and outreach initiative. A major focus will be the use of lay health educators, called Promotores de Salud, to help identify individuals with CVD risk factors and to guide them through treatment and followup, providing individualized risk factor reduction education and promoting adherence to prescribed regimens. The intervention will also create a variety of neighborhood and community-wide awareness and education activities, such as guided group discussions, or charlas, community health fairs, cooking demonstrations, and mass media activities to reach community residents with heart health and family wellness messages.
Working with local community-based organizations, HEARTQUEST will implement a variety of educational and health care activities to complement existing health promotion activities in this area. For example, they will provide training for primary care physicians and health clinics on the use of low-cost strategies and therapies for treating people with high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol levels. They also will work with local community-based organizations to help them improve their advocacy efforts for environmental policy changes to promote heart health for example, walking trails and smoke-free restaurants and shopping centers. A model for training lay health educators to provide CVD prevention education to local community members will also be developed, and health fairs will be scheduled to conduct screenings and education activities to make community members more aware of their risk for CVD. Individuals with CVD risk factors will be referred to care. A special component will focus on improving emergency services and educating the community about responding quickly to heart attack symptoms.
HEARTQUEST is an acronym for Heart Attack and Stroke Education, Awareness, Rapid Response, Treatment Adherence, Quality Enhancement through Science Translation.
The project will provide one group with intensive behavioral interventions in exercise, nutrition, weight loss, and smoking cessation, as well as best medical practices, including pharmacological, diagnostic, and therapeutic interventions. The second group will receive only the same level of medical care.
The behavioral interventions will be tailored for each patient to achieve blood pressure and cholesterol control, to reduce hospital admissions and emergency department visits for CVD events, and to increase the number of people who know how to respond to signs of a heart attack. Special efforts will be made to address the problem of CVD in women.
Said Dr. Gregory Morosco, Director of NHLBI's Office of Prevention, Education, and Control, "We believe that mobilizing partners in high-risk communities and helping them implement today's best prevention strategies will save more lives and give more Americans a better quality of life. That is the goal of our Enhanced Dissemination and Utilization Centers."
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.