American Heart Association expands “Lower the Pressure” initiative in New York State thanks to $1 million grant

The American Heart Association has new tools to help improve blood pressure rates in New York State, thanks to a grant from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation.

 The two-year grant of $1 million will allow the American Heart Association to expand its focus on improving high blood pressure rates in under-resourced communities. Through the “Lower the Pressure” initiative, the association will enhance its existing work in 50 Federally Qualified Health Centers and primary care centers and expand to 20 more clinics and practices. The American Heart Association will work directly with community partners and patients themselves to help educate and empower them to be a partner in their care.

High blood pressure is a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke. It is known as “the silent killer” because people often don’t feel any symptoms, but it can have deadly consequences.

“As we celebrate American Heart Month this February, the American Heart Association is encouraging everyone to Reclaim Your Rhythm and take back control of their physical and emotional well-being,” said Nicole Aiello Sapio, Executive Vice President of the American Heart Association’s Eastern States Region. “This includes taking steps to control blood pressure. We’re grateful for the generosity of the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation and are honored to be selected as a grantee. We look forward to making an impact on the health of our communities as we address hypertension.”

The “Lower the Pressure” initiative is expected to impact more than 1.9-million people in low-income communities across both rural and urban settings. It will provide up to 7,000 personal blood pressure monitors for participating clinics to share with patients over the grant period.

A blood pressure monitor “loaner program” will place monitors in community locations like libraries, churches, and food banks to increase access to cuffs and help people manage their blood pressure. The skills taught in this program, both to providers and to patients, are tools that will be useful far beyond the two-year grant period.

To further create a sustainable program, the grant will allow the American Heart Association to hire a clinical practice facilitator to support healthcare organizations with assessing needs and implementing changes as this exciting program gets under way.

“As we look back at the compounding crises of the last few years, the health-related needs of vulnerable communities have only grown. Our grantees have demonstrated tremendous resilience, creativity, and dedication to serving those in need, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have such detrimental impact,” said Alfred F. Kelly, Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Visa and Chair of the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation Board.

The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the health and well-being of New Yorkers, bolster the health outcomes of vulnerable communities, eliminate barriers to care, and bridge gaps in health services. Named after a tireless advocate for immigrants, children, and the poor, the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation funds programs and initiatives across New York State that either provide direct healthcare services or address the social determinants of health.