FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, June 24, 2003
HARLEM HOSPITAL LAUNCHES
HeartBeat COMMUNITY CARDIOLOGY INITIATIVE
Public Hospital Seeks to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Heart Disease Risk
The New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation (HHC) announced today that it will be launching the HeartBeat Community Cardiology Initiative at Harlem Hospital to link medically underserved communities with important diagnostic and preventive cardiac services.
“HHC’s primary mission,” said HHC President Dr. Chu, “is to provide the highest quality health services to all New Yorkers regardless of ability to pay. Prevention and early treatment are critical components of this goal, which is why HHC has developed a comprehensive program to prevent cardiovascular disease, promote health and deliver appropriate care to the diverse racial and ethnic communities served by Harlem Hospital.”
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the United States and claims the lives of over 960,000 Americans each year. In 2000, New York City heart disease accounted for 41% of all deaths. As with many other chronic conditions, CVD disproportionately impacts the medically underserved populations, and particularly African-Americans, who continue to have the highest mortality rates – about 50% higher than that of whites – for heart disease. African-Americans are still 13 to 40 percent less likely to receive coronary angioplasty, and 32 to 70 percent less likely to receive bypass surgery.
CVD-related deaths in at-risk populations are also attributable to differences in lifestyle and the prevalence of certain risk factors, such as high blood pressure, less physical activity, excess weight and diabetes.
Following its initial launch at Harlem Hospital, HHC plans to roll out the HeartBeat program in selected public hospitals throughout New York City, in areas where the community is at highest risk for heart disease.
Harlem Hospital Center is part of the Generations Plus/Northern Manhattan Network and a member of the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation.