The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute has announced that Dayton will become part of its network for implementing targeted and culturally sensitive health education strategies at the community level. A $500,000, three-year grant has been awarded to a coalition headed by the Division of Health Systems Management in the Department of Community Health at Wright State University School of Medicine.
The project's goals center on identifying cardiovascular risk factors and preventing cardiovascular disease by implementing strategies to optimize both physician practices and patient behaviors. Strategies include increasing awareness of one's own health status, better monitoring of hypertension and cholesterol through physicians' offices, early detection of and intervention for cardiovascular risk factors, and patient education materials.
"The Miami Valley has a higher than national average incidence of cardiovascular disease, particularly for heart attack and stroke," says Dr. Richard Schuster, Boonshoft Chair of the Division of Health Systems Management and associate professor of community health and internal medicine. "This is particularly an urgent problem in the African American community."
One of six awarded this year, Dayton will join a group of community-based organizations named Enhanced Dissemination and Utilization Centers (EDUC). The EDUC program, now totaling 12 communities, was launched in 2001 to implement focused heart-health education strategies in high-risk communities. The new projects target high-risk communities in urban and rural areas in Maryland, Nebraska, Colorado, Ohio, and North Carolina.
The program emphasizes forging community health partnerships to meet project goals. "Community partnerships hold the key to improving the health of our citizenry," says Howard M. Part, dean of Wright State's School of Medicine. The Division of Health Systems Management has developed extensive and diverse partnerships with local health care providers, primary care organizations, insurers, public health officials, local employers, media, and medical businesses to address cardiovascular health issues.
Dayton's project will build upon current efforts in the community, including the Premier Cholesterol Reduction Project, the Consortium for South East Hypertension Control Clinic-Based Hypertension Project, and the "Know Your Numbers" Mass Media Campaign.
Premier Health Partners will collaborate with the project through the primary care practices at Miami Valley Hospital and through outpatient clinics at Good Samaritan Hospital and Drew and Vogel Health Care Centers. Primary care physician residency programs at both hospitals will also be involved. "We are excited that the Institute has selected us," says Schuster. "This is an excellent opportunity to help Dayton become a healthier community." 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 agenda to achieve the goals of Healthy People 2010, according to officials at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.