Brown’s Super Stores, Oak Street Health, and AHA Collaborate to Establish a Community-based Blood Pressure Screening, Education, and Referral Initiative

Brown’s Super Stores, Oak Street Health, and AHA Collaborate to establish a Community-based Blood Pressure Screening, Education, and Referral Initiative. Hypertension is the leading cause of heart disease and stroke, which kill more Philadelphians than any other disease, accounting for 3,417 deaths in 2019. Philadelphia’s health significantly lags behind other major cities despite overall progress in recent years. Of the six largest cities in the US, Philadelphia has the highest prevalence of self-reported hypertension (34%), with non-Hispanic Black adults reporting significantly higher rates than non-Hispanic white adults (48% vs. 29%). People living in neighborhoods with physical and socioeconomic disadvantages are at higher risk for hypertension, stroke, and coronary artery disease.

The American Heart Association, Greater Philadelphia staff, partnered with Brown’s Super Stores to establish a systematic community-based blood pressure screening, education, and referral initiative with Oak Street Health. The initiative started on December 8, 2021, at the ShopRite of Fox Street. The ShopRite of Fox Street is located in the Hunting Park neighborhood of North Philadelphia and reaches 4,285 customers per day. The hypertension rate in Hunting Park-Fairhill is 34.3%, and the adult obesity rate is 42.8%3.

Jeffrey Brown, a fourth-generation grocer who is chairman and CEO of Brown’s Super Stores, joined Wakefern Food Corporation in 1988, a buying cooperative whose brands include ShopRite and The Fresh Grocer. Brown’s Super Stores currently operates 10 ShopRite supermarkets (Bensalem, Brooklawn, Cheltenham, East Norriton, Fairless Hills, Fox Street, Island Ave, Oregon Ave, Parkside, Roxborough) and 2 of The Fresh Grocer supermarkets (Wyncote, Monument Road) in the Philadelphia market. Brown’s Super Stores created a supermarket operation that caters to the diverse needs of each community where they do business. Their efforts addressing health inequity through the availability of healthy, affordable, high-quality food for all have led to a movement, both in Philadelphia and nationally.

Oak Street Health (OSH) provides friendly and professional care to adults on Medicare, operating in 10 locations across the Philadelphia region. The health care providers at OSH are trained to provide medical care across the adult lifespan and partner with social work and behavioral health providers within the clinic to provide comprehensive primary care. OSH providers speak several languages, including Spanish, which support culturally and linguistically appropriate health care.

To reduce structural barriers and increase access to resources to support blood pressure control, trained OSH staff (Certified Medical Assistant or Registered Nurse) administer blood pressure screenings at the ShopRite of Fox Street. Screening occurs two times per week from 10 AM – 2 PM. Oak Street Health staff explain the significance of the blood pressure reading, provide direct referrals to the closest OSH location (Strawberry Mansion or Germantown) for ongoing clinical care, and offer evidence-based information on high blood pressure and lifestyle modifications. In addition, the AHA provided access to training materials on measuring blood pressure accurately, validated devices for screenings, and evidence-based educational materials to distribute to customers.

This innovative community system change meets people where they are and makes connections to clinical care for community members disproportionately impacted by cardiovascular disease and stroke. The AHA is committed to the partnership with Brown’s Super Stores and Oak Street Health and plans to expand this initiative to additional Brown’s Super Stores in 2022. Oak Street Health is proud to join the American Heart Association and Brown’s Super Stores in helping the community overcome barriers to living healthier lives. – Jesse Marrero, Senior Outreach Director – Oak Street Health | Strawberry Mansion.