Health Care and Nonprofits

Health center wins $163K from AstraZeneca foundation

February 24, 2014
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A health center has won a $163,387 grant to support its cardiovascular "intervention" program for medically underserved people.

AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation said this month that it awarded funds to Catherine’s Health Center in Grand Rapids, as part of the foundation’s Connections for Cardiovascular Health program.

"Heart-healthy lifestyles"

The funds will help finance the Live Heart Smart Initiative at the center, which serves more than 5,000 low income and medically underserved people a year.

The Live Heart Smart program provides healthy living intervention to all patients, regardless of gender or age, according to the center’s website.

The program enrolled more than 1,000 participants in 2013, as a result of receiving a similar grant from the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation. The combined funding from the foundation for both years is $325,337.

Since enrolling in 2013, more than half of the participants have decreased BMI and blood pressure, and more than 500 people lowered their cholesterol.

The Live Heart Smart program also offers multiple education programs, such as gardening, walking, yoga, healthy cooking, diabetes prevention and a diabetes support group.

The center is "thrilled and honored" with the gift to provide at-risk people access to cardiovascular screening, information and services, said Karen Kaashoek, executive director at Catherine’s Health Center.

“We’ve seen people make real changes, invest in heart-healthy lifestyles and improve their health,” Kaashoek said.

Cardiovascular disease

One of the major components of the program is to implement lifestyle changes for those at risk for cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death for men and women in the U.S.

Forty-nine percent of Americans have at least one of three heart disease risk factors: high blood pressure, high cholesterol or smoking, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation’s Connections for Cardiovascular Health program, which began in 2010, has awarded roughly $3.7 million this year to 19 organizations in the U.S.

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