Partnership in national initiative seeks to reduce cardiovascular events, mortalities in region
Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz and Erie County Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein have announced renewed support for the Erie County Department of Health's official partnership in the "Million Hearts" campaign, a national initiative committed to preventing 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.
Americans suffer 1.5 million heart attacks and strokes each year, with heart attack and stroke being two of the leading causes of death in the U.S.
"Erie County has a large population of residents who suffer from chronic health conditions, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol," Poloncarz said. "Outreach and education are vital to help individuals improve their health, and our partnership in the Million Hearts campaign helps to amplify the message. As I mentioned in my 'Initiatives for a Stronger Community' plan, improving lifelong health is important and builds a better quality of life for all residents."
Launched by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2011, Million Hearts partners existing efforts with newly created programs to improve health outcomes across communities and help Americans live longer and more productive lives. The initiative is receiving special attention this month as May is American Stroke Month and National High Blood Pressure Education Month.
The Erie County Department of Health began its work on this initiative in 2014 by collecting surveys from county residents and health providers to develop an overview of cardiovascular disease prevention efforts already underway in Erie County. These include providing and promoting the "ABCS's" of cardiovascular health; a simple, uniform set of measures with a lifelong impact that includes aspirin therapy as appropriate; blood pressure control; cholesterol management; and smoking/tobacco cessation.
Data obtained from the surveys was presented to stakeholders this past December and was accompanied by a statement of endorsement and status report by Burstein.
"Preventing 1 million heart attacks and strokes over five years will require the work and commitment to change from all of us in Erie County," Burstein said. "Each of us has to take responsibility for our own health and take positive and realistic steps to improve our health and live a heart-healthy lifestyle."
The ECDOH works to communicate that message and helps facilitate the relationship between clinical and community components, or treatment and prevention education, which are both equal contributors to previous reductions in heart disease deaths. Information is also gathered from the surveys to cross-promote efforts, discover gaps and look for ways to better monitor progress and further enhance effective cardiovascular disease reduction interventions in order to make the objectives of Million Hearts a reality in Erie County.
For more information on the Erie County Department of Health, visit http://www2.erie.gov/health/.