AHA NYC Board Member Liz Elting Combats COVID-19 and Health Inequality

American Heart Association New York City Board Member Liz Elting unveiled a multimillion-dollar charitable initiative created to support comprehensive COVID-19 pandemic relief efforts – including funding for research, frontline healthcare workers, public health resources, and direct support to the country’s most vulnerable and under served communities. As a part of the initial Halo Fund investment, the Elizabeth Elting Foundation announced a $25K contribution to the American Heart Association to help vulnerable communities during the COVID-19 pandemic and to support the Association’s overall efforts in funding research, improving the quality of care in our hospitals, and much more. The Foundation’s gift provides timely support to a local organization offering direct service to at-risk populations.

The funds will provide health promotion and blood pressure management resources at Susan’s Place Health Center, an entity of Care for the Homeless, which serves mentally ill and medically frail women in the Bronx.  Included in these resources are telehealth kits providing 100 blood pressure cuffs and thermometers to the women in the shelter as well as providing Care for the Homeless clinicians with continuing medical education (CME) courses to educate them on how to partner with patients on self-monitoring blood pressure.

Early findings suggest high blood pressure could raise your risk of experiencing severe complications from the coronavirus regardless of your age. According to the American Heart Association, socioeconomic inequality, like homelessness and increased economic stress, are strong determinants of cardiovascular risk. Those inequalities are heightened in moments of crisis, like the one all New Yorkers are experiencing during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

“At a time like this, it’s impossible not to wonder how you can help,” said Liz Elting, Founder and CEO of the Elizabeth Elting Foundation. “The economic and human fallout from this pandemic is obviously immense, and the need to step up and help others couldn’t be more urgent. How we respond to this crisis, whether we answer this call to action with everything we have, will define us for years to come.”

”The American Heart Association is incredibly grateful to the Elizabeth Elting Foundation for dedicating resources to make a difference right here in New York City,” said Meg Gilmartin, Executive Director, American Heart Association. “The COVID-19 outbreak has disproportionately impacted vulnerable communities, communities of color and individuals who were already at higher risk for chronic disease, creating unprecedented health and economic challenges for many. By working in tandem with philanthropic leaders like Liz Elting, we hope to continue tackling health inequity and embed social determinants into conversations about various risk factors.”

The Elizabeth Elting Foundation’s gift also supports the Association’s mission of being a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives.  Nationally, the American Heart Association has fast-tracked a special $2.5 million fund for rapid response scientific research projects to investigate the specific cardiovascular implications of coronavirus, investing in short-term projects that can turn around results quickly – within 9-12 months. The Association is working at the federal, state and community levels in support of public policies that help to ensure families have access to health care and financial security so they can protect and promote their own health in the face of COVID-19.