The American Heart Association has pledged to raise and invest more than $230 million over the next four years in support of efforts to eliminate barriers to equitable health outcomes for all Americans.
Commitments announced by the organization include $100 million for new scientific research programs and grants focused on evidence-based solutions. The organization also will work to expand diversity-research opportunities for underrepresented racial/ethnic groups in science and medicine through grants, STEM programs, and its HBCU Scholars and EmPOWERED to Serve Scholars programs, and will invest at least $100 million through its Social Impact Fund, Bernard J. Tyson Social Impact Fund, and issue-based campaigns in support of hyper-local community-led solutions designed to eliminate barriers to health equity.
In December, AHA announced a $32 million partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to address hypertension — a major source of poor cardiovascular health in Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities — by improving the quality of care at select Health Resources and Services Administration-funded health centers and supporting the efforts of healthcare providers to engage patients in controlling their hypertension.
AHA also plans to elevate scientific discourse around the issue of health equity by publishing more research focused on racial disparities in health care; leveraging its hospital-based clinical registry programs and networks to capture data that helps advance understanding of the negative effects of the social determinants of health and healthcare quality variances; and advocating for policies that ensure access to health care in underresourced communities of color and rural areas.
"In order to ensure every person has the same opportunity for a full, healthy life, the barriers that worsen the economic, social, and health inequities of vulnerable communities must be dismantled," said American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown. "It is the right thing to do, the just thing to do, and the only way to improve overall health in this country. We look forward to working with like-minded organizations and supporters to be a relentless force for change that will result in longer, healthier lives for all."
(Photo credit: American Heart Association)