UnitedHealth Group and United Health Foundation Support President-Elect Obama’s "Day of Service" Through Coalition to Fight Cardiovascular Disease
PEACE of HEART Conducts Screenings in Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Greensboro, and Miami
* American Heart Association, Association of Black Cardiologists, LabCorp, National Association of Community Health Centers, National Medical Association, National Minority Quality Forum, RainbowPUSH Coalition, UnitedHealth Group and United Health Foundation form PEACE of HEART
* Program aims to reduce cardiovascular disease in lower-income, medically underserved communities
MINNEAPOLIS . –UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), United Health Foundation and their PEACE of Heart partners answered President-elect Barack Obama’s call to serve by participating in a national day of service. The coalition will offer PEACE of Heart cardiovascular disease screenings in Brooklyn, N.Y., Philadelphia, and Greensboro, N.C. today. Later in the week, a screening will be held in Miami. For details on each location, visit www.apeaceofheart.org.
PEACE of Heart aims to fight the epidemic of heart disease afflicting African Americans, lower-income minority groups and other medically underserved communities by checking people’s blood pressure, BMI, and cholesterol and blood-glucose levels. In addition, PEACE of Heart urges better preventive health by connecting people with local physicians and encouraging them to establish a medical home at a community health center or elsewhere.
The coalition came together because of the partners’ concerns that heart disease is the number one killer in the United States, and the risk factors that lead to heart disease continue to be inadequately addressed and controlled. Additionally, heart disease disproportionately affects communities of color.
As a result of a high prevalence of hypertension, African Americans have a 1.5-times greater rate of heart disease death and 1.8-times greater rate of fatal stroke than Caucasians, according to the American Heart Association (AHA). Heart disease, stroke and all other cardiovascular diseases account for 33 percent of deaths among African American males and 38 percent of deaths among African American females, according to recent statistics cited by the AHA. Obesity, diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol – all risk factors for heart disease and stroke – show no sign of decline.
To date, 450 people have been screened at PEACE of Heart events in Chicago, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., and New Orleans. Nearly 43 percent were overweight or obese; approximately one-quarter had elevated blood pressure; and 10 percent had blood pressure considered dangerously high. Half the people who have participated in PEACE of Heart reported that they do not have a “medical home” where a primary care physician or other health professional coordinates all of their medical care needs.
“When President-elect Barack Obama asked corporations, nonprofits and individuals to give of their time and resources on Martin Luther King’s birthday, we mobilized our employees and our partners to reach out and conduct these vital health screenings in key cities to improve the health of our communities,” said Reed V. Tuckson, M.D., United Health Foundation board member and UnitedHealth Group executive vice president and chief of medical affairs. “Our experience in Brooklyn, Philadelphia, Greensboro and Miami, shows us that fewer than 10 percent of people are getting checked for cardiovascular disease. If we want to ensure that people live healthier lives, that statistic must change. We are honored that, along with our partners, we can do something so important on this monumental day in American history.”
UnitedHealth Group and the United Health Foundation are committed to supporting and strengthening community health centers, and the PEACE of Heart events are just one example. Through a multi-year, multi-million dollar “Community Centers of Excellence” partnership, the United Health Foundation funds community clinics in some of the nation’s most economically-challenged communities in Miami, New Orleans, New York City, and Washington, D.C. The acronym PEACE encapsulates the core elements of the program: Partnership, Evaluation, Action, Community and Education.
In December, UnitedHealth Group presented a $1 million check to the Washington, D.C., Martin Luther King, Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation Inc.
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