American Heart Association outlines response to COVID-19 in Boston

To minimize COVID-19’s impact on the public health of Greater Boston, the American Heart Association has activated its full organizational strength to combat the spread of the virus and address the vulnerability of heart and stroke patients, caregivers, healthcare professionals and underserved populations. Here are some areas we’re focusing on. To download an infographic of this post, click here.

Access to Healthy Food
The American Heart Association continues to support local organizations that are addressing social determinants of health, including investees of the Social Impact Fund. These organizations are breaking down social and economic barriers to healthy living, such as access to healthy food, through creative solutions.

About Fresh, one of the fund’s recipients, runs a mobile food market that gets healthy food to people that need it most. We are now looking to help them expand a direct-to-doorstep grocery delivery service to support Boston residents during the pandemic. For more information, please contact Benjamin Perkins, vice president of health strategies, at

We’re teaching hospitals and communities how to safely and effectively administer CPR. We have also established a website with CPR training-related resources and information and will be using social media to encourage individuals to use the Hands-Only CPR approach if they encounter a victim of cardiac arrest.

We are now facilitating virtual CPR trainings with corporate partners with our CPR Anytime Kits. And, we are looking to expand the number of Adult & Child CPR Anytime Kits we provide to Greater Boston families and individuals who are isolated and unable to learn CPR in a group setting.

The American Heart Association funds $35.5 million in research across 100 studies in Massachusetts alone.

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, we have established a $2.5 million rapid research fund to fast-track scientific research to better understand COVID-19 and its interaction with cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. Specifically, the Association will be offering fast-tracked research grants for short-term projects that can turn around results within 9-12 months to better understand the diagnosis, prevention, treatment and clinical management of COVID-19 as it relates to heart and brain health.

Access to Care
The areas of Boston – Roxbury, Mattapan, Dorchester and East Boston – that experience the highest rates of heart disease and stroke are now
seeing the highest rates of COVID-19.

We provide federally qualified health centers in these communities with free tools and resources to improve the health of their patients. We are
now looking to expand the number of tools, including blood pressure monitors, that we can provide to local health centers that serve our most vulnerable patient populations and have the greatest need for resources. Patients will be able to use these monitors from the comfort of their homes during online and phone consultations with their healthcare provider. For more more information, please contact Lawrence VInson, community impact director, at

Workplace Health
Building a healthy workplace and encouraging a healthy workforce can create a self-reinforcing environment that leads to increased productivity, less absenteeism and health-spend savings for employees and employers. Our Workplace Health Solutions offers a suite of science-based, evidence-informed tools and services to help people build and maximize an effective workplace culture of health.

With more people working from home, we are quickly adapting our resources. These resources include a library of materials that encourage physical activity while working from home, stress management and healthy cooking recipes with shelf-stable foods. For companies participating in our Workplace Health program, My Life Check home test kits are available for employees to participate in health screenings, and employees can continue to participate in their digital coaching program.

Keeping Kids Healthy
As more schools are cancelling class for extended periods, the American Heart Association is quickly responding with resources for parents and teachers to keep children active and engaged in healthy behaviors. Through the Kids Heart Challenge, we have developed the Kick Cabin Fever to the Curb 10-day Challenge that’s designed to get kids up and moving while home. This campaign uses virtual rallies, social media and more to keep kids interested and help parents and teachers. For more information, please contact Mary Blake, vice president of youth markets, at