American Heart Association and Neighborhood Health Team Up to Help Thousands of Northern Virginia Residents Control their Blood Pressure

This past January, the American Heart Association began a partnership with Neighborhood

Blood Pressure being monitoredHealth around blood pressure awareness and control for its patients. The mission of Neighborhood Health is to improve health and advance health equity across Northern Virginia in Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax by providing high quality primary care regardless of ability to pay. Within the system there are 12 clinics that service residents in need with services ranging from family practice, internal medicine, dental care and behavioral health.

American Heart Association staff and volunteers provided Target BP and blood pressure management training to all Neighborhood Health medical providers and medical assistants. The trainings were led by Past Board President, cardiologist Dr. Roquell Wyche.  Twenty blood pressure monitors were provided and the Association established a BP Loaner program for each clinic. Neighborhood Health clinics across Northern Virginia also integrated the Target BP algorithm into their practice and used posters and resources in their exam rooms to educate patients. The system reaches around 28,500 patients annually.

Seeing an increased need during the pandemic crisis, the Association also provided Neighborhood Health with 50 additional BP monitors, 100 thermometers and 8 contactless thermometers to serve their prenatal and hypertensive patients during the pandemic.

“Healthcare costs and access are especially difficult during this unprecedented time, making our ability to work with Neighborhood Health on blood pressure control critical,” said Erica McIntyre, Community Impact Director for the American Heart Association. “The need is great for under-resourced residents of Northern Virginia where 21% of all residents  – 1 in 5 – suffer from hypertension.”

When healthcare providers apply the most up-to-date evidence-based treatment guidelines, patient outcomes improve, and lives can be saved. Programs like the Association’s Target BP help facilitate continuous quality improvement and support for outpatient organizations’ efforts. Learn more about blood pressure control and find resources here.

American Heart Association and Primary Care Coalition partner to provide emergency relief for hypertension patients in Montgomery County

The American Heart Association is deeply concerned about the public health crisis facing our country. Our top priority regarding coronavirus (COVID-19) is the health and well-being of all individuals and their families today and in the future, in every community, everywhere. Millions of people are counting on us for science-based information, health resources, community programs and patient support. We are continuing our mission-critical work in these challenging times and we know that people with cardiovascular diseases, including hypertension (high blood pressure), are more likely to be seriously impacted by the virus than others.

In the Greater Washington Region, we are all-in to control high blood pressure.  Low income, uninsured and poorly controlled hypertension patients often rely on in-clinic or in-pharmacy blood pressure monitors.  With social distancing and stay at home orders in effect, it is clear that alternative options are necessary.  We are proud to partner with the Primary Care Coalition to assist these patients in Montgomery County, MD, where  36% of the population has high blood pressure, above the national average.

Together, the Primary Care Coalition and the American Heart Association are getting blood pressure monitors to hypertension patients, which will allow them to measure their blood pressure from home.  We are also actively working to connect health care providers with technical assistance in using telemedicine systems and providing access to science based COVID-19 and blood pressure management information for both patients and providers.

The Primary Care Coalition administers Montgomery Cares, a public-private partnership that engages the ten independent safety-net clinics, the local health department, and the hospital systems serving Montgomery County in a coordinated effort to deliver high-quality and affordable health care to low-income and uninsured county residents. Many patients of the Montgomery Cares system live medically and socially complex lives. Maintaining ongoing connection to their primary care providers and access to treatment during this time is important for their health outcomes.

Barbara Eldridge, the Vice President of Quality and Clinical Programs at the Primary Care Coalition.

In the short term, this partnership seeks to maintain these crucial healthcare engagements whilst stay at home orders are in place.  In addition, there is real potential for long term benefits.  “We want to create a culture of self-measured blood pressure monitoring”, Barbara Eldridge, the Vice President of Quality and Clinical Programs at the Primary Care Coalition.  “When it comes to measuring blood pressure, those who are empowered to do this at home on a regular basis have a much better chance of lowering their blood pressure compared to those who rely only on periodic measurement at the doctor’s office.”

By quickly identifying areas of need and devising practical solutions to address these needs, partnerships such as this will help us to continue to support those in our most vulnerable populations during this public health crisis.

Target: BP is a national initiative formed by the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Medical Association (AMA) in response to the high prevalence of uncontrolled blood pressure (BP). Target: BP helps health care organizations and care teams, at no cost, improve BP control rates through an evidence-based quality improvement program and recognizes organizations committed to improving BP control.

Programs like these are the result of generous support from the community. To be a part of the Greater Washington Region’s Blood Pressure initiatives and to make an impact in your community, email To learn more about Target: BP visit: