For nearly 100 years, the American Heart Association has been fighting heart disease and stroke. Alongside our supporters, volunteers, community organizations, and clinical partners, we have helped millions of families and communities thrive across the globe.
Since 1949, the Association has invested over $5 billion in research funding, more than any nonprofit organization except the federal government. Nationally, we’ve reached 12 million people with nutrition resources, trained 22 million in CPR, and have improved blood pressure screening for over 19 million. There has been a 15.1% reduction in deaths from heart disease and 13.6% reduction in death from stroke.
In the Greater Washington Region, we are linking arms with you – our trusted supporters, community health centers, region-based organizations, and legislators to enact policies and change systems that have an undeniable impact on the places and people right here, where we call “home.”
See the difference we’re making in the Greater Washington Region and across the nation:
Our Impact on Patient Outcomes:
- Saving more lives in DC through Telecommunicator CPR (T-CPR) – We championed the introduction and passage of a comprehensive T-CPR training policy to ensure DC’s 911 call takers are equipped to provide CPR instructions over the phone. In the District, only 4.7% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims survive. Through the DC Council’s allocation of nearly $100,000 to fund T-CPR, we can increase bystander CPR and double this survival rate.
- Improving hypertension outcomes with evidence-based policies and practices – In collaboration with Greater Prince William Health Center, La Clinica del Pueblo, and Neighborhood Health, we’ve established practices to address blood pressure outcomes across 10 additional facilities in DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia, impacting more than 50,000 patients. Policies include the calibration of blood pressure machines, annual measurement training and skills testing for clinical team members, posting hypertension infographics wherever blood pressure is screened, and reporting the percent of validated blood pressure devices. Through similar efforts, we’ve already implemented systems changes in over 53 clinics across the region, benefiting 290,000 patients.
- Connecting food-insecure patients to community resources and federal nutrition assistance programs – Alongside Children’s National Primary Care clinics in Anacostia and THEARC, we’ve implemented the Family Lifestyle Program (FLiP), an innovative, cross-sector initiative evaluating more than 50,000 patients for signs of food insecurity. Through FLiP, clinicians are trained to assist with federal nutrition assistance program enrollment and connect individuals to local resources including food banks, pantries, physical education resources, and nutrition programs including Simple Cooking with Heart classes.
- Impacting over 290,000 patients through a blood pressure monitoring program – In 2021, 57,613 patients were treated by providers participating in the Target: BP program – the Association’s science-based initiative to improve blood pressure control rates. Blood pressure is a key risk factor for heart attack and stroke. While nearly half of Americans have high blood pressure, many are unaware.
- Recognizing efforts to improve outcomes for Americans with heart disease and stroke – 27 hospitals in the Greater Washington Region are among 2,600 nationwide participating in the Association’s Get With The Guidelines initiative. This year, facilities received 81 awards and seven hospitals were recognized for the first time for consistently following up-to-date, research-based guidelines to ensure all patients have access to lifesaving care. For more than 5 years the Association has worked with the DC Stroke Collaborative and Virginia Stroke Systems Task Force, focusing on stroke systems of care by improving adherence to these evidence-based guidelines.
- Passing legislation to screen newborns for congenital heart disease (CHD) – About 40,000 children in the U.S. are born with heart defects each year. By passing legislation that requires CHD screening using pulse oximetry, over 170,000 newborn babies are screened each year in DC, Maryland, and Virginia.
- Protecting vulnerable communities from the impacts of “junk” health insurance – Our support of several pieces of DC legislation to limit “junk” health insurance plans protects thousands of vulnerable residents with pre-existing conditions from being sold misleading policies with inadequate coverage.
Our Impact on Kids and Families
- Protecting the next generation from being hooked by Big Tobacco – In a multi-year effort, the Association played a critical role in ending the sale of flavored tobacco in the District – including menthol and flavored e-cigarettes. Through our advocacy, the DC Council allocated $3 million to fund and enforce the law and safeguard the health and futures of over 130,000 kids living in DC. And we didn’t stop there. Our efforts also led DC to pass the nation’s highest cigarette tax and become one of the first in the country to raise the age to purchase tobacco to 21.
- Expanding access to healthy kids’ meals in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties – We created momentum for Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties to pass comprehensive kids’ meal laws, ensuring healthier food and drink options on restaurant menus for children. First-of-its-kind legislation in Prince George’s County made making the healthier choice easier for its over 900,000 residents and inspired similar action in Montgomery County, benefiting the current and future health of over 1.1 million people.
- Establishing a systematic community-based blood pressure screening and referral program – Together with the Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH), we provided self-measured blood pressure training to APAH resident services managers and residents. APAH received 20 automated and validated blood pressure devices that are available to 40,000 residents across their 21 locations.
- Increasing community access to healthy and affordable food – Our collaboration with Bowie State University, YMCA, Prince William County Food Rescue, and the Manassas Free Clinic provided over 7,600 people in need with food and empowered 1,300 families to prepare healthy, low-cost meals through Simple Cooking with Heart curriculum.
- Enabling low-income DC residents to access healthy food through Produce Rx – In collaboration with community stakeholders, we advocated for the DC Council to double funding of the District’s Produce Rx program, which allows providers to prescribe subsidized fruit and vegetables to those at risk for diet-related conditions. More than 4,500 under-resourced residents have already benefited, with more set to participate through the increased funding.
- Advocating for increased postpartum Medicaid coverage in DC – We upheld our commitment to improving outcomes and addressing inequities in maternal health care by driving support for expanding Medicaid postpartum coverage to 12 months.
Our Impact in Schools
- Preparing kids for success through the Kids Heart Challenge and American Heart Challenge – Over 500 schools across DC, Maryland, and Virginia are leveraging our science-based resources in the classroom to support kids’ physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Now more than ever, it takes an extraordinary commitment to support students’ overall health. Given the vital role these early years play, the Association’s school initiatives assist educators in ensuring all students can grow to reach their full potential. Locally, more than 39,000 kids have accepted the challenge to be kind or move more, and they have collectively raised over $3.4 million to save and improve lives.
- Teaching 1.8 million families how to save a life with Hands-Only CPR – We’re committed to educating more lifesavers in the Greater Washington Region and across the globe. Through the Kids Heart Challenge and American Heart Challenge, over 6,000 local families answered the call to learn CPR in the 2021-22 academic year.
- Strengthening recognition of stroke warning signs in local communities – Last year, over 6,000 DC, Maryland, and Virginia families committed to learning how to spot a stroke F.A.S.T. through the Kids Heart Challenge and American Heart Challenge.
- Educating the next generation of lifesavers – Through our support of CPR in schools legislation, we’ve helped to ensure every high school student in DC, Maryland, and Virginia receives lifesaving CPR training before they graduate. That’s more than 160,000 new lifesavers trained each year!
Our Impact in Research and Grant Funding
- Funding local research and science – Last year, the Association provided over 94 grants across DC, Maryland, and Virginia, and allocated more than $26.5 million to advance research in cardiovascular care and prevention that could lead to next big medical breakthrough happening right here in the Greater Washington Region.
- Contributing over $6.7 million to advance our global impact – Dedicated community organizations, volunteers, and individual supporters across the Greater Washington Region raised over $6.7 million to champion health and well-being for all, advance lifesaving research, and to transform communities to give all people an equal chance at longer, healthier lives.
- Supplying local grants to shift the inequitable health paradigm – In 2022, four Greater Washington Region-based organizations received $800,000 collectively from the Bernard J. Tyson Impact Fund to remove social and economic impediments to health equity. Grants furthered the work of local investees including Clymb (formerly Infinite Focus Schools), Smart from the Start, Urban Ed, and 4P Foods in the areas of food security, mental health, early childhood development, and economic stability.
- Aiding accessible EMT training for DC’s underserved young adults – EMTomorrow, a DC-based nonprofit striving to eliminate the financial and geographic barriers to EMT training, received $10,000 in funding as the second-place winner of the 2021 EmPOWERED to Serve Business Accelerator.
- Educating future leaders in health equity – The Association’s EmPOWERED Scholars Program recognized local Howard University student Madison Tate as a 2021-2022 scholarship recipient for her commitment to reducing health disparities in underserved communities. Madison is among six students across the nation to receive this honor.
- Fostering diversity in clinical trial research – We announced five new national grants to address the lack of diversity, equity and inclusion in clinical trials. Nationwide, 11 universities and health care centers including MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington DC are participating in the $20 million research study.
THANK YOU for furthering our commitment to advancing the health of our region and building a world of longer, healthier lives! To learn more about our local impact or see how you can get involved, visit Heart.org/DC.
Sharing the stories of the work of the American Heart Association to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives.