WILMINGTON, Del. — The AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation program “Connections for Cardiovascular Health” announced grants totaling more than $3.6 million to 20 nonprofit organizations dedicated to improving cardiovascular health in local communities.

Included were efforts in Jackson and Ann Arbor.

Connections for Cardiovascular Health was launched in 2010 through a charitable contribution of $25 million from AstraZeneca. The program awards grants of $150,000 and up to US-based non-profit organizations that are doing innovative work in the field of cardiovascular health.

“We must work to decrease the risk of and prevent cardiovascular disease in the United States, by providing resources to those in need,” said James W. Blasetto, M.D., chairman of the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation. “These grant recipients are providing an innovative program to improve cardiovascular health in communities across the country.”

Among the donations:

* $150,000 to the Allegiance Health Foundation in Jackson: The Health Improvement Organization – Community Hearts Project is designed to reduce cardiovascular risk factors of low-income, underinsured adults through integrating a health management component into the Project Access system of donated care for uninsured workers in Jackson County. This program will offer health risk assessments, screenings, health coaching, self-management tools and social support activities to Project Access participants in order to reduce precursors to cardiovascular disease. The program also aligns with the Health Improvement Community Action Plan to improve healthy food access in low-income neighborhoods.

* $173,000 to the University of Michigan Health System in support of the Cardiovascular Center’s Project Healthy Schools program. This is the second consecutive year that the U-M Health System has received a grant from the Connections for Cardiovascular Health. Project Healthy Schools expansion efforts are geared toward serving low-income, underserved African-American and other minority middle school students in Detroit. PHS is designed to improve the health of adolescents at a critical point by encouraging lifelong health behaviors in a school-based program that will support healthy children and families. Engaging in each middle school, the project co-creates and implements a program aimed squarely at food choice and exercise programming for adolescents. It engages with teachers, school employees and families in ways that provide for longer-term sustainability and impact. PHS is a collaboration between the community and the University of Michigan that provides middle-school-based programming to reduce childhood obesity and long-term health risks. It plans to expand to two more Detroit middle schools in 2012 and 2013. The hands-on learning activities and socio-ecological model, which engages the entire school community in this effort, make it a very effective, sustainable approach to impacting children’s health.


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