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New Mobile Program Will Focus on African Americans Who Have a Greater Risk for High Blood Pressure

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The Consortium for Southeastern Hypertension Control (COSEHC), which is headquartered at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, has received a $55,000 grant from the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation to provide a mobile cardiovascular disease prevention program, Hypertension on Wheels, to Forsyth County residents.

The program will focus on African Americans, who have a higher genetic health risk of having high blood pressure. Hypertension currently affects 39.8 percent of Forsyth County African Americans. The Hypertension on Wheels program will be free of charge and conducted at churches and worksites.

Participants will receive blood pressure and cholesterol screenings, cardiovascular risk assessments, health education, and an individualized plan of lifestyle change. At follow-up visits, participants will receive additional screenings and education aimed at lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and cardiovascular risk through lifestyle intervention.

“We expect that of the 200 to 300 program participants, 25 percent will reduce their blood pressure, cholesterol, and cardiovascular risk levels and 85 percent will increase their commitment to a healthier lifestyle,” said COSEHC project manager JaNae Joyner, Ph.D. “This grant will provide the financial support necessary to provide the screening, education, and follow-up to achieve such outcomes in the Forsyth County area.”

COSEHC was co-founded in 1994 by Carlos Ferrario, M.D., and Michael Moore, M.D., faculty members of Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center’s Hypertension and Vascular Research Center, along with a group of prominent medical authorities in the field of hypertension, with a mission of reducing hypertension-related morbidity and mortality in the southeastern United States through physician and community education.

The organization has not only become a vehicle for increased awareness of the problem of excess cardiovascular mortality in the Southeast, but has also created a unique network of physicians and health organizations who work together to reduce the excess prevalence of hypertension and related cardiovascular risk factors in the 13 states within the region.

Kathy Higgins, president of the BCBSNC Foundation, said, “We believe that this investment will help us further our mission of improving the health and well being of our fellow North Carolinians. It is important that we continue to support innovative and effective programs and services that help individuals and communities across the state.”

Churches and businesses interested in having the Hypertension on Wheels van provide this community health service to their congregations or employees or for additional information, contact project manager JaNae Joyner at (336) 716-9522 or jjoyner@wfubmc.edu.

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Media Relations Contacts: Ann Hopkins, ahopkins@wfubmc.edu; (336) 716-1280; or Bonnie Davis, bdavis@wfubmc.edu; or Shannon Koontz, shkoontz@wfubmc.edu, at (336) 716-4587.

The Consortium for Southeastern Hypertension Control (COSEHC) is headquartered at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. COSEHC has created a unique network of physicians and health organizations who work together to reduce the excess prevalence of hypertension and related cardiovascular risk factors in the 13 states in the Southeast. The creation of the network, which consists of 25 regional COSEHC-designated Cardiovascular Centers of ExcellenceTM,consolidates the efforts of over 600 physicians and health care personnel and serves a population that exceeds 1.5 million people at risk for hypertension-related cardiovascular events. For more information, go to www.cosehc.org.

Across North Carolina, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation invested more than $530,000 in grants to 26 organizations in this most recent grant cycle. The Foundation focuses on three key areas: improving the health outcomes of vulnerable populations served by safety-net organizations, promoting healthy and physically active communities, and increasing the effectiveness and capability of nonprofit organizations in the state. More information can be found at www.bcbsncfoundation.org.

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