NIH News Release
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Tuesday, October 8, 2002

NHLBI Communications Office
(301) 496-4236

NHLBI Funds New Heart-Health Education Projects in High-Risk Communities

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) today announced the funding of six new community-based education projects, which will focus on improving the cardiovascular health of those at increased risk for heart disease and stroke.

The new awards extend to12 the NHLBI’s nationwide network of community-based organizations known as Enhanced Dissemination and Utilization Centers (EDUCs). The EDUC program was launched in 2001 to implement focused heart-health education strategies in high risk communities.

“These projects take what we have learned about the prevention, identification, and treatment of cardiovascular disease and apply that knowledge where it is most needed — in communities with the highest heart disease and stroke death rates,” said NHLBI Director Claude Lenfant, M.D.

Heart disease and stroke remain the first and third leading causes of death in the U.S. However, certain geographic areas and racial/ethnic groups are disproportionately affected. The Federal Government’s Healthy People 2010 initiative seeks to eliminate those disparities and improve health care for all.

“The EDUC program is a key part of the NHLBI’s agenda to achieve the goals of Healthy People 2010. All of the EDUCs are in health service areas (HSAs) where the death rate for coronary heart disease and/or stroke is in the top 15 percent of HSAs nationally,” said Robinson Fulwood, Ph.D., Senior Manager, Public Health Program Development in NHLBI’s Office of Prevention, Education, and Control.

The new projects target high-risk communities in urban and rural areas in Maryland, Nebraska, Colorado, Ohio, and North Carolina. The EDUCs emphasize the forging of community health partnerships to meet individual project goals. Objectives are achieved through a variety of creative approaches including training peer health educators; conducting awareness-raising town-hall meetings, community-based screening and referral programs, and nutrition and physical activity programs; and working with physicians to improve the implementation of clinical practice guidelines.

In keeping with the “network” aspect of the program, the six existing EDUCs — now in their second year of activity — will share lessons learned and examples of success with the new programs through regular discussion forums. Tracking of progress is helped by a series of built-in evaluation measures.

The new EDUCs and their strategies are: