By Michelle McLees, American Heart Association
A free blood pressure management program is currently enrolling participants
At least 350 people will be recruited for a free four month pilot blood pressure program called Get To Goal Richmond. Participants will learn how to lower and maintain healthy blood pressure levels. There are approximately 76 million, or one in three, Americans with high blood pressure, or hypertension. African-Americans have the highest rates of hypertension in the world and millions are unaware of the problem. According to the Virginia Department of Health, 25.7 percent of adults in Virginia reported having high blood pressure in 2009, and that rate has been steadily increasing.
The American Heart Association, in partnership with Bon Secours Virginia, the Center for High Blood Pressure, the 7th District Health and Wellness Initiative, and the Central Virginia Black Nurses Association, is launching Get to Goal Richmond in an effort to eliminate high blood pressure as a health disparity among African-Americans. A community launch event will be held from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, Friday, January 18 at the Fairfield Court Boys and Girls Club located at 2506 Phaup Street in Richmond. The general public is invited to have their blood pressures checked and to learn about the program. In addition to signing up participants, the AHA is also recruiting and training volunteers to serve as Volunteer Health Mentors (Coaches). Health Mentors will assist with enrolling participants and will communicate with participants weekly to help them achieve their goals. These volunteers do not have to be health care professionals.
“High blood pressure is killing our communities and we have the power to get it under control,” says Patricia Lane, Get to Goal Richmond Project Lead and Neuroscience Coordinator at Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital. “People are having heart attacks, strokes and other major health issues because of uncontrolled blood pressure. High blood pressure, like obesity, is a risk factor that can be prevented or controlled. That’s why, through Get to Goal Richmond, we are empowering people with knowledge to be able to do something about it,” she says.
Through the Get to Goal Richmond high blood pressure initiative, the partnering organizations will work with other community groups to conduct pre and post blood pressure screenings. The participants will be assigned a health mentor and receive the tools and resources to help them lower their blood pressure over a four month pilot period. Their blood pressures will be monitored at intervals and there will be on-going follow-up through phone calls, text, email or face-to-face meetings.
For more information about Get to Goal Richmond, contact Dionne Wheeler, Community and Multi-Cultural Health Director, American Heart Association at (804) 965-6578 or Dionne.Wheeler@heart.org.
For more information about the Get to Goal Richmond program, visit www.heart360.org/GetToGoalRichmondCentralVirginia