AHA awards $15M to 4 centers targeting heart disease, stroke

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Four universities are taking aim at heart disease and stroke with the launch of Strategically Focused Prevention Research Network Centers.

On July 1, four institutions received $15 million from the American Heart Association (AHA) for a network that brings together the University of Texas-Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York, Northwestern University in Chicago and Vanderbilt University in Nashville. Each university is looking to tackle one aspect of what affects both disease outcomes. Prevention, through behavioral and ultimately cultural changes, is at the center of the projects each institution will be undertaking.

Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai will work to create an urban-based health program centered on combating obesity in order to reduce incidence of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, cancer and other obesity-related, preventable deaths. Northwestern University will apply a behavioral approach to the decline in heart health measures from childhood into middle age. The University of Texas-Southwestern Medical School in Dallas will tackle how to prevent heart failure through interventions a clinical provider may be able to provide in office. Vanderbilt University will be tackling high blood pressure prevention through salt reduction.

The AHA will be providing each network center approximately $3.8 million for their projects.

These projects and their emphasis on a culture of health align with the AHA’s goals to reduce deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent and improve Americans’ cardiovascular health by 20 percent by the year 2020.

Elliott Antman, MD, president of the AHA and a physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, said in a press release, “Scientists working in these research centers are seeking to discover mechanisms that will allow all Americans to live healthier lives, and help lead us to a culture of health.”