$6 million grant to boost heart health

Jay FitzOur Town Health

The Tennessee Heart Health Network, an initiative of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, has received a $6 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to continue and expand its work to improve heart health across Tennessee over the next five years.

The Tennessee Heart Health Network Innovative Cardiovascular Disease Program will promote and disseminate evidence-based approaches to address the social determinants of health underlying adverse cardiovascular outcomes and disparities. The focus will be working in collaboration with community health centers in the 40 Tennessee census tracts with the highest prevalence of hypertension.

“This is an exciting next step for the Tennessee Heart Health Network and will allow us to expand our work to improve the cardiovascular health of Tennesseans,” said Jim Bailey, MD. He is the principal investigator for this initiative and the executive director of the Tennessee Heart Health Network, established in 2021 with funding from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to improve heart health statewide by working with primary care practices across Tennessee.

Tennessee has among the highest rates for cardiovascular disease, hypertension and obesity in the country. Unhealthy diet, lack of exercise and tobacco use are the primary contributors to these conditions. The 40 census tracts in Tennessee that are the focus of the Tennessee Heart Health Network’s Innovative Cardiovascular Disease Program are areas in which at least 53% of adults have been diagnosed with hypertension. These also are the areas of the state most negatively impacted by social determinants of health, like food insecurity, that drive cardiovascular health disparities, Dr. Bailey said.

“This grant will give us a chance to measurably decrease deaths and disability from strokes and heart attacks in these neighborhoods at greatest need across Tennessee.”

University of Tennessee System provided information and quotes for this report.


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