AstraZeneca’s Foundation Grants $775,000 to 11 innovative heart health programs


Eleven innovative, community-based programs are helping improve the heart health of people in the areas they serve thanks in part to grants totaling $775,000 from the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation’s Connections for Cardiovascular HealthS program. Many of these organizations also are sharing their cumulative lessons learned and approaches to preventing and controlling cardiovascular disease so that other organizations throughout the country may benefit.

This marks the 10th year the Foundation has awarded grants to nonprofit organizations addressing cardiovascular disease through programs that target at-risk groups with tailored activities and information to meet the needs and culture of the people in their communities. The programs focus on screenings, education, disease prevention and management and access to healthcare and reach out to underserved people of various ages and ethnic backgrounds through clinics, community centers, schools and more. Support groups, mobile health units, grocery store tours and high school interns serving as community health workers are some of the techniques utilized to engage and support program participants.

“We’re so proud to provide continued support to Grant Awardees who know how to create heart health programs that can make a real, measurable impact in their communities,” said Rich Buckley, president of the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation. “With this funding, we can help them carry on their work and share their impact with other nonprofit organizations that we hope will benefit additional communities for years to come.”

The Foundation also is announcing an open call for applications for the Connections for Cardiovascular HealthS Next Generation program in February 2020. The program will maintain its mission to help improve heart health in the United States and address the nation’s leading cause of death and include many of the same criteria for funding and programs.

Connections for Cardiovascular Health Next Generation will leverage nearly 10 years of Foundation and Grant Awardee lessons learned so new, never before funded, applicants have the opportunity to modify or adapt these learnings when designing and implementing their own innovative, community-based heart health programs. Information about these lessons learned are detailed in the Foundation’s Effective Program Practices Guide available on the Foundation’s website.

A key feature of the Next Generation program pairs new awardees with a mentor from organizations that improved heart health in their own communities to help them successfully launch their programs.

Since 2010, the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation’s Connections for Cardiovascular Health program has awarded over $23.7 million in grants to 52 organizations nationwide. More than 1.7 million people have been reached by the program and over 63,000 people have had their heart health progress tracked through a variety of Connections for Cardiovascular Health Grant Awardees’ programs.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.

This year’s AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation’s Connections for Cardiovascular Health awardees are:

Asian Health Coalition in Chicago; $125,000: “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.; $50,000: “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 serves as a mentor to two other Grant Awardees.

Chesapeake Charities, Inc. in Stevensville, Md.; $50,000: “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 in Lexington, Miss.; $50,000: “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.; $50,000: “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; $50,000: “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.; $125,000: “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.; $50,000: “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.; $125,000: “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.; $50,000: “SCALE (Sustainable Change and Lifestyle Enhancement)” aims to achieve sustained weight loss for 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, Inc. serves as a mentor to one other Grant Awardee.

Westminster Free Clinic in Thousand Oaks, Calif.; $50,000: “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.

2019 Grant Award Total: $775,000