$500,000 in grants awarded to improve maternal health outcomes in Hampton Roads

The American Heart Association, CVS Health announce a community-based approach to addressing hypertension, a key risk factor in the No. 1 killer of new moms

New mothers in Hampton Roads will now have improved access to hypertension (high blood pressure) care during pregnancy and postpartum. Pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. have risen nearly 140% over the last three decades—cardiovascular disease continues to be a leading cause.[1] The CVS Health Foundation has awarded the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women® movement $1 million over two years to help address hypertensive disorders in pregnancy (HDP), a key risk factor in cardiovascular disease.

The American Heart Association, devoted to a world of healthier lives for all, and CVS Health are investing in improving maternal health outcomes for historically marginalized communities by addressing the conditions most often associated with maternal mortality and severe morbidity.

In Hampton Roads the pilot program will link women and health care providers (including doula-mediated referrals) to hypertension education, monitoring and treatment as part of their pregnancy and postpartum care in order to make managing high blood pressure more accessible, specifically for women of color.

“We know that cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of both men and women but it’s also the main killer of new moms!  We need to do a better job of supporting women, giving them access to good quality care and support,” said Dr. Dena Krishnan, cardiologist and American Heart Association, Hampton Roads executive board president. “Women need to identify their risk factors and have close monitoring if they develop gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. They need postpartum care to prevent heart failure, stroke, and depression. By meeting new mothers where they are with tailored resources, we can promote lifelong wellness of both moms and their babies.”

“Black women have a maternal mortality rate 2.6 times higher than white women, and studies continue to show that over 80 percent of maternal deaths in the U.S. could have been preventable,” said Sheryl Burke, senior vice president of corporate social responsibility and chief sustainability officer, CVS Health. “By collaborating locally with organizations who know the community best, we are working bring maternal health services and educational resources to the people that need it most.”

Black women are more likely to develop pregnancy-related heart problems than other women. Even after adjusting for socioeconomic status, access to health care and other medical conditions, researchers found that compared to white women, pregnant Black women were 45% more likely to die in the hospital, 23% more likely to have a heart attack, and 57% more likely to have a stroke.[2] In fact, some forms of heart disease that can arise during pregnancy may have lasting effects on women’s long-term health and increase the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease later in life.[3]

Potential clinicians, doulas and community partners interested in participating in the pilot program are encouraged to visit www.heart.org/hamptonroads to learn more.


About Go Red for Women®

The American Heart Association’s signature initiative, Go Red for Women®, is a comprehensive platform designed to increase women’s heart health awareness and serve as a catalyst for change to improve the lives of women globally. While the majority of cardiac events can be prevented, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women, claiming the lives of 1 in 3 women. For 20 years, Go Red for Women has encouraged awareness. The movement harnesses the energy, passion and power of women to band together and collectively wipe out heart disease. It challenges them to know their risk for heart disease and take action to reduce their personal risk. It also gives them tools they need to lead a heart healthy life. The Go Red for Women movement is nationally sponsored by CVS Health, with additional support from national cause supporters. For more information, please visit GoRedforWomen.org or call 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721).

About CVS Health

CVS Health® is the leading health solutions company, delivering care like no one else can. We reach more people and improve the health of communities across America through our local presence, digital channels and over 300,000 dedicated colleagues – including more than 40,000 physicians, pharmacists, nurses and nurse practitioners. Wherever and whenever people need us, we help them with their health – whether that’s managing chronic diseases, staying compliant with their medications or accessing affordable health and wellness services in the most convenient ways. We help people navigate the health care system – and their personal health care – by improving access, lowering costs and being a trusted partner for every meaningful moment of health. And we do it all with heart, each and every day. Follow @CVSHealth on social media.

[1] https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/full/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.117.031889

[2] https://newsroom.heart.org/news/black-women-have-the-highest-risk-of-pregnancy-related-heart-problems-in-the-us

[3] https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/JAHA.120.020584