Tag Archives: cardiovascular disease

Perspectives on Cardiovascular Disease: A Multi-Faceted Condition

By Steven Zelenkofske, DO, Vice President, US Medical Affairs, Cardiovascular, AstraZeneca

Steve Zelenkofske

Steve Zelenkofske, DO, FACC, FACOI, FCPP

The 2016 American College of Cardiology (ACC) scientific sessions provides AstraZeneca an opportunity to interact with some of the top clinicians and researchers in the cardiology field, and discuss the difficult clinical questions that they face when treating patients.

With ACC coming up this weekend, I caught up with Roxana Mehran, MD, of Mount Sinai School of Medicine to discuss the multi-faceted nature of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and how research and science is helping to evolve the way we view the causes and management of CVD.

Here’s a snapshot from our recent conversation:

Dr. Zelenkofske: CVD is a common condition that many people see as one singular condition, but it’s actually a chronic and complex disease state with diverse risk factors and sub-conditions.

What’s your perspective on this view of CVD and the varying levels of risk patients with different forms of the disease face?

Dr. Roxana Mehran


Dr. Mehran: When you think about CVD, particularly from a patient perspective, it’s a really complicated disease because it’s caused by a range of factors, like high cholesterol and hypertension – and is often a consequence of other co-morbidities like diabetes and chronic kidney disease (CKD). While there are several issues that make up CVD, the one unifying concern for healthcare professionals in treating it is managing risk – the risk of the disease worsening, the risk of having an event like a heart attack and the risk of recurring events that may take place over time.

Dr. Zelenkofske: You mention managing recurring events. This is an important point because when people think of a heart-related event, they think of it as something that happens once, which is not something we necessarily see in clinical practice.

Dr. Mehran: That’s definitely true. What many people may not realize is recurrent events like a heart attack often take place in patients who’ve already had one because of an underlying atherothrombotic disease. Recent research has shown that one in five patients who has had a heart attack will likely have another cardiovascular (CV) event, such as a heart attack, stroke or CV death in the subsequent three years, even if patients were event free after 12 months. These patients very often have other co-morbidities, such as high cholesterol, so preventing subsequent events, also referred to as secondary prevention, is an important health priority.

Dr. Zelenkofske: Can you share some of your insights on approaches that help patients prevent those recurrent events?

Dr. Mehran: Managing the recurrent risk of events is an ongoing journey that begins in the hospital and continues in the long term once a patient returns to ‘normal life’ back at home. In addition to lifestyle changes, patients should speak to their doctors about treatment approaches which have been shown to help reduce the likelihood of having an event post-heart attack.

And since we’re on the topic of managing risk factors, what’s your perspective on the evolving landscape for managing high cholesterol and high blood pressure?

Dr. Zelenkofske: AstraZeneca has a long-standing history in managing high cholesterol and blood pressure. We continue to follow the science of those medicines, to better understand their role in addressing unmet needs for patients to help them manage their conditions. In fact, at ACC this year, we continue to have data for our legacy CV medicines, including an independently studied late-breaker that evaluates whether cholesterol lowering medicine and a combination of blood pressuring lowering medicine used alone or together can reduce play a role in primary prevention for patients at average risk. As a science-driven organization, I am encouraged to see the clinical community continuing efforts to understand appropriate treatments in managing these conditions.

Dr. Mehran: Often, we know that conditions can be asymptomatic, so patients may not even know that they have them.

Dr. Zelenkofske: I agree. In the U.S., 71 million American adults have high LDL-C or bad cholesterol, yet only 1 out of every 3 adults with high LDL-C has their condition under control. Additionally, an estimated 80 million American adults age 20 years of age or older have high blood pressure.

Dr. Mehran: As you’ve talked about a holistic approach to CVD, what’s on the horizon for AstraZeneca as it relates to associated conditions such as CKD?

Dr. Zelenkofske: CKD is a global health problem that affects more than 10% of the world’s population. Individuals living with CKD are more likely to die of CVD than to develop kidney failure. Hyperkalaemia, a complication of CKD, affects more than 3 million patients suffering from CKD and chronic heart failure (CHF) in the U.S. alone. It can be a life threatening condition for which there are limited treatment options. Because we know that CVD is a well-known consequence of CKD, AstraZeneca draws on its deep understanding of cardiovascular treatment to help identify solutions in CKD as well. AstraZeneca recognizes there are unmet needs in hyperkalemia, among other complications from CKD. As a result, we continuously seek opportunities, both independently and in partnership, to investigate treatment options that can help reduce the burden of CKD.


Roxana Mehran, MD, FACC, FACP, FCCP, FESC, FAHA, FSCAI is Professor of Medicine and Director of Interventional Cardiovascular Research and Clinical Trials at the Zena and Michael A. Weiner Cardiovascular Institute at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Her clinical focus includes Acute Coronary Syndrome (ACS), angina, coronary artery disease and hyperlidemia among other therapeutic areas.

From the Head to the Heart: Key Learnings to Improve Cardiovascular Health

By James W. Blasetto, MD, MPH, FACC

J Blasetto-headshotAcross the country, nonprofit, grassroots organizations conduct innovative programs designed to reduce the impact of the number one cause of death in the U.S., cardiovascular disease. Their success depends not only on funding, resources and staffing, but also finding the answers to critical questions: How do you build effective programs and demonstrate their long-term impact, not only on people’s lives but the organization as well? How do you find what works, and what doesn’t?

At the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation, we seek to improve cardiovascular health by awarding Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM (CCH) grants to U.S.-based nonprofit organizations conducting health programs at the community level. We understand that these programs require more than financial support to be effective. That’s why we work with our grant awardees to build capacity and identify key learnings.

This year, the Foundation decided to draw on the knowledge and experience of its CCH grant awardees to discuss answers to some of the questions above. Representatives of nine CCH grant awardees, along with Foundation trustees, participated in four separate roundtable discussions across the country to share their key learnings about how to improve cardiovascular health.

Here are some highlights from each roundtable discussion, including the one I had the privilege to attend in Charleston, W.Va. (and click on the links to watch these discussions):

Picayune, Mississippi – February 1, 2016

In Picayune, Miss., we celebrated the work of two long-time CCH grant awardees, Manna Ministries Inc. and Mallory Community Health Center. Manna Ministries received its third grant for its Heart 2 Heart Initiative, and Mallory Community Health Center received its fourth grant to begin its Take Control of Your Health program. Both organizations reach uninsured and underserved people in a state with some of the nation’s highest rates of cardiovascular disease, obesity and poverty.

Representatives of Manna Ministries and Mallory Community Health Center agreed that behavior change is a critical, and often challenging, component of their work. It extends to debunking myths about chronic disease and ensuring that people understand the purpose of primary care. The common theme throughout the discussion was a focus on motivation and individualized care.

2016 MS Roundtable 1

Left to right: Rich Buckley, President, AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation; Ray Parisi, Trustee, AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation; Jameye Martin, RN, Executive Director, Manna Ministries; Anthony Morales, MD, Consultant Cardiologist, Louisiana Heart Hospital; Dixie Reneault, Project Director, Manna Ministries; Jessanna Guzman, Manna Ministries; Aurora King, FNP, Medical Program Director, Manna Ministries; and Dustie Adams, Manna Ministries

Van Nuys, California – February 2, 2016

Van Nuys, Calif. was the meeting place for second-year grant awardee, Westminster Free Clinic, and first-time grant awardee, Mid Valley Family YMCA. Westminster’s Corazones Sanos (Healthy Hearts) program and the YMCA’s Active Su Corazon (Activate Your Heart) program both target Latinos in southern California.

The Mid Valley Family YMCA established its program to educate and empower the local Latino community about heart health. They took into account barriers to participation, and as a result they offer classes in Spanish and provide childcare. Westminster Free Clinic uses Latino teen volunteers to lead program activities and work with local grocery stores to offer healthier foods. Westminster also noted that many of their participants hesitate to ask questions during doctors’ visits; therefore, they work closely with them to ensure they understand medical terms such as high cholesterol and what they can do about it.

2016 CA Roundtable 1

Left to right: Karla Toledo, Teen Volunteer, Westminster Free Clinic; Esperanza (Espy) Gonzalez, Case Manager, Westminster Free Clinic; Timothy J. Gardner, MD, Trustee, AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation; and Rich Buckley, President, AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation

Charleston, West Virginia – February 4, 2016

In Charleston, W.Va., we learned from West Virginia Health Right, Inc. and St. Mary’s Health Wagon, both of whom are conducting their second CCH-funded programs – Sustainable Changes and Lifestyle Enhancement (SCALE) and Heart Health 1, 2, 3, respectively. Their programs provide medical care and health education in the Appalachian region, an area often characterized by lack of access to both.

West Virginia Health Right representatives attributed their program’s weight loss success to an emphasis on cultural sensitivity. Their team helps participants to find healthier recipes for regionally popular meals and learn about financially accessible diet options. St. Mary’s Health Wagon explained the rationale behind their use of a mobile clinic. Due to the geography of the region, people often have trouble getting to healthcare providers. St. Mary’s found that by delivering healthcare to the “doorsteps” of Appalachian residents, they could provide more screening opportunities and build trust in the community.

2016 WV Roundtable 1

Left to right: James W. Blasetto, MD, MPH, FACC, Chairman, AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation and L. Kristin Newby, MD, MHS, Trustee, AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania – February 9, 2016

Three first-time CCH grant awardees gathered in Philadelpia to share how they are beginning or expanding their heart health programs with support from the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation. Drexel University’s Stephen and Sandra Sheller 11th Street Family Health Services, City Health Works and the Gaston & Porter Health Improvement Center Inc. all operate in urban areas on the East Coast.

Representatives of each organization highlighted some of the challenges faced by their populations, ranging from language and literacy barriers, to racial disparities in health status. Drexel representatives explained their focus on resilience as a key component of their heart health program. By building teens’ “innate ability” to bounce back from trauma, they become better equipped to manage stress and make healthy lifestyle choices. Representatives of the Gaston & Porter Health Improvement Center discussed the importance of culturally appropriate, relatable mentors. Their program for mid-life African American women is led by previous program graduates. Similarly, City Health Works uses health coaches from the same backgrounds as they clients they serve. Each group spoke about the value of funding preventive health initiatives.

2016 PA Roundtable 1

Left to right: Ann Booth-Barbarin, Trustee, AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation; Timothy J. Gardner, MD, Trustee, AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation; and Howard Hutchinson, MD, FACC, Trustee, AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation

Each year, other trustees and I have the pleasure of meeting one-on-one with these groups and seeing the incredible impact of their programs. Participants are losing weight, reducing their blood pressure and Hemoglobin A1C levels, learning more about nutrition and increasing their physical activity. At the organizational level, program leaders are sharing proven strategies to improve cardiovascular health.

These discussions are the first step in sharing program success with others working to improve cardiovascular health in their communities. By demonstrating the value of innovative, locally tailored interventions and offering insight on how to improve these efforts, we hope that others will be better equipped to carry on this work. In doing so, I believe we can make an enduring impact on cardiovascular health.

Dr. James Blasetto is the Chairman of the Board of the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation and Vice President of US Medical Affairs, Evidence Generation at AstraZeneca. He also is a Fellow in the American College of Cardiology.

Pictured top of page: Left to right: Chad Maender, Executive Director, Mid Valley Family YMCA; Joni Novosel, Community Services Director, Dignity Health Northridge Hospital Medical Center; Juan De La Cruz, VP of Community Development, YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles; Lisa Safaeinili, MPH, RD, Executive Director, Westminster Free Clinic; Karla Toledo, Teen Volunteer, Westminster Free Clinic; Esperanza (Espy) Gonzalez, Case Manager, Westminster Free Clinic; Timothy J. Gardner, MD, Trustee, AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation; and Rich Buckley, President, AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation

Three Companies Collaborate to End Coronary Heart Disease for Good

By Gregory Keenan, MD, Vice President and Head of US Medical Affairs

Greg Keenan

This could be the beginning of the end for coronary heart disease and its consequences. Cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death globally, accounting for approximately one out of every three deaths. In the U.S. more than 85 million Americans age 20 and older currently live with heart disease. Coronary heart disease, the most common type of heart disease, alone causes more than 7 million deaths annually. Something must be done, but tackling a health crisis of this magnitude can seem daunting. How can we accelerate our efforts, and how can we improve upon current research models to make an impact faster?

OBI logoThis is where One Brave Idea™ comes in. This new initiative, formed through a collaboration of the American Heart Association (AHA), Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences) and AstraZeneca, aims to identify a visionary leader who will lead the research charge to end coronary heart disease and improve the cardiovascular health of people around the world. This individual will have the opportunity and challenge to build a diverse team featuring the best and brightest minds from across industries and disciplines.

One Brave Idea sets out to accelerate discovery by removing some of the barriers that have plagued the traditional research process. The selected leader and his or her team will have resources beyond the financial investment of the three organizations (a combined $75 million over five years) by combining the AHA’s medical and scientific expertise, Verily’s technical prowess, with scientific insights and mentoring from AstraZeneca. The ultimate goal is to design and implement novel strategies to prevent or reverse coronary heart disease with an inclusive focus on causative factors and its consequences, thereby restoring cardiovascular health to patients and improving lives around the world.

AstraZeneca is continually looking for new ways to enable cross sector collaboration amongst individuals, organizations and communities who share our passion for patients. This research initiative allows us to combine resources to improve cardiovascular health – and take a truly innovative approach to solving issues of cardiovascular disease in a multidisciplinary way.

If you believe you have the idea and capabilities to lead a team that can end coronary heart disease and improve cardiovascular health, visit onebraveidea.com to submit your idea by 11:59p CT on February 14, 2016.

Applications will be reviewed by a joint leadership team comprised of representatives from AHA, Verily and AstraZeneca. I will be a part of this team, along with my colleague Bruce Cooper, MD, Vice President and Head of Global Medical Affairs at AstraZeneca. Bruce will bring his more than 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry along with entrepreneurial experience founding a successful specialty pharmaceutical company to the efforts. Bruce and I, along with our partners at AHA and Verily, eagerly anticipate the ideas, new perspectives and solutions that One Brave Idea will generate.

A Look Back At 2015

Inspiring stories. New approaches to healthcare. Empowering patients.

In 2015, AstraZeneca Health Connections told dozens of stories about our business, our medicines, patients and our role in the community. We took you from scientific conferences to Machu Picchu, to programs and initiatives we support across the United States. We hope each story helped you learn a little bit more about AstraZeneca as a business – and how we view our role in the healthcare system.

As the year winds to a close, join us in taking a look back at some of our favorite posts from the last 12 months:

AZ&Me Prescription Savings Programs Support Patient Access For More Than 35 Years

PAP 2014 figuresOur most popular post in 2015 was about one of AstraZeneca’s most popular programs: The AZ&Me Prescription Savings Programs, which in 2014 helped nearly 383,000 patients in the United States save more than $670 million on AstraZeneca medicines.

This suite of programs is designed to help qualifying people without insurance, those enrolled in Medicare Part D, those who receive their medications through participating health care facilities and those who have faced a financial challenge recently.

Personalized Healthcare: Early Diagnostics, More Targeted Treatment

AZ_board_images_72dpi_1020px18For Mother’s Day, AstraZeneca U.S. President Paul Hudson took a look at how personalized healthcare presents a golden opportunity to significantly improve women’s health – notably among ovarian, breast and lung cancer patients. The promise of personalized healthcare is clear: It can enable doctors to more quickly identify which treatments will be most effective for individual patients based on their genetic makeup. Personalized healthcare means we can identify when a potential treatment requires an individualized strategy at an early stage and develop an integrated diagnostic plan. This helps get the right treatments to the right patients at the right times – even faster.

Transformational Journey Takes AZ Employee, Cancer Survivor To Machu Picchu 

Donato 3In April, we brought you the moving story of AstraZeneca employee Kelly Donato, who hiked Machu Picchu in Peru on her 10th anniversary of being cancer free. Donato joined 30 other cancer survivors for the trek organized by the group Above and Beyond Cancer, a non-profit organization based in Des Moines, Iowa, that organizes annual transformation journeys that unite a group of individuals affected by cancer for trips around the world to complete challenging hikes, including Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Everest Base Camp.

World Heart Day: Our Opportunity To Make An Impact

John ClymerFor World Heart Day, we published a guest post from John Clymer, the executive director of the National Forum for Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention to promote a new initiative designed to educate communities on how to live healthier lives. The AstraZeneca “Make Your Move Across America” initiative, a national cholesterol education campaign that offers free cholesterol screenings to adults 18 and older in select cities across the country, is an activity we were proud to be a part of this World Heart Day. Make Your Move Across America provides adults an opportunity to learn their cholesterol numbers and how to work with their doctor to manage them if necessary, which are critical components to reducing a person’s risk for heart disease and stroke.

Redefining Value Of Care

photo1aDuring Lung Cancer Awareness Month in November, we discussed the potential of personalized healthcare as it pertains to lung cancer, which causes the most cancer deaths worldwide.

Because we now know that not every case of lung cancer is the same, we know that we can no longer treat the disease as a whole in the same way for everybody. Patients have different genetic mutations, some of which develop resistance to certain types of therapies and treatments. At AstraZeneca, we’re working to understand why resistance emerges to certain therapies so that we can design improvements in the drugs we use to overcome those mechanisms of resistance.

Thank you all for reading in 2015, and we look forward to sharing more with you in 2016!

Reaching Hearts, One Lesson at a Time

By James Blasetto, MD, MPH, FACC

J Blasetto-headshotAs Chairman of the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation, I am proud of the nonprofit organizations that have empowered people to change their health – and lives – through our Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM (CCH) program. These nonprofits use CCH grants for programs that target cardiovascular disease at the community level.

On November 3, I had the honor of representing the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation at the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) 2015 Annual Meeting in Chicago, IL, along with Joyce Jacobson, the Foundation’s Executive Director and our evaluation partners from the Center for Social and Economic Policy Research at West Chester University. We displayed a poster highlighting how the best practices of the Foundation’s CCH program contribute to the high success rates of grant awardees’ cardiovascular health programs.

We understand that each community has a different cardiovascular need and a different way to approach that need. We designed the CCH program so that grant applicants could choose the innovative methods and measures best suited to their target populations. Thanks to this flexible approach and a standardized evaluation process, CCH has supported a diverse, successful funding portfolio in terms of the program disease focus, program delivery setting, geographic location and demographics. The common thread among these programs is a focus on learning from the past and building for the future.

During this APHA poster session, I thought about how far this program has come. We established the CCH program five years ago with the simple, but tall goal of improving cardiovascular health in the United States. In 2015, we are sharing our progress toward that goal at one of the nation’s most respected public health conferences. Our grant awardees have reached over 1.2 million people with health resources and information. Over 44,000 of those people have been tracked for improvement in cardiovascular metrics such as body mass index, blood pressure, hemoglobin A1C, eating habits, exercise and more.

The CCH program fosters an environment of widespread success. We ask our grant awardees to identify key learnings that can spread not only within their communities, but beyond them as well. The goal is to develop strong program strategies, evaluation practices and sustainability efforts that we can share with other organizations across the country. CCH grants are “seed money” to make this happen.

We have a responsibility to extend our best practices because in the end, it’s all about the people we help. With robust processes in place, we can continue connecting individuals to the resources they need to improve their cardiovascular health for the long run. And that may be the best connection of all.

Dr. James Blasetto is the Chairman of the Board of the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation and Vice President of US Medical Affairs, Evidence Generation at AstraZeneca. He also is a Fellow in the American College of Cardiology.

Pictured above: (left to right) Jeffery Osgood, PhDCenter for Social and Economic Policy Research, West Chester University; Joyce Jacobson, Executive Director, AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation; James W. Blasetto, MD, MPH, FACC, Chairman, AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation; and R. Lorraine Bernotsky, DPhilCenter for Social and Economic Policy Research, West Chester University

The Importance of Translating Clinical Guidelines into Practice

By Nancy Brown, Chief Executive Officer at American Heart Association

IMG_4810 (3)The American Heart Association (AHA) is hosting its annual Scientific Sessions on November 7-11, 2015, and one area of focus this year is the appropriate implementation of clinical guidelines by healthcare providers in support of patients’ cardiovascular (CV) health.

Guidelines within the CV community are important as they provide clinicians with summaries of clinical research and therapeutic recommendations. For patients living with CV disease (CVD), diagnosis can be complicated and guidelines help clinicians translate data into practice, ensuring that appropriate care is given across the broad spectrum of CVD.

The clinical community also looks for guidelines to be a tool to help build consistency in practice. However, implementing guidelines can sometimes be easier said than done, and so, organizations often study guidelines in a real-world setting to understand where challenges lie.

For example, one AstraZeneca-sponsored study, which was presented at this year’s conference, takes a deeper dive into the American College of Cardiology (ACC)/AHA Cholesterol management guideline, published in 2013. This guideline reinforced the importance of lowering cholesterol by utilizing valuable resources to help save millions of people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world.

The study showed that the ACC/AHA guideline appeared to have a modest effect among new users immediately following its publication. However, the researchers concluded that follow-up in future years to fully assess the impact of the ACC/AHA guideline is warranted.

Studies like this reinforce the need for continued resources that increase the lifespan of guidelines beyond the initial issue date. We know that when medical professionals apply up-to-date, evidence-based treatment guidelines to their practice, patient outcomes improve. Speedy implementation of guidelines is important to allow patients to receive the most updated, efficacious treatments and care.

AHA is committed to addressing this problem through various programs, including the Guideline Transformation and Optimization Initiative (GTO) for non ST-segment elevation acute coronary syndrome (NSTE-ACS) guidelines. NSTE-ACS is a type of heart attack, also referred to as myocardial infarction, which occurs when an artery is partially blocked and severely reduces blood flow.

GTO, supported by a grant from AstraZeneca, is officially launching at this year’s conference. The initiative seeks to accelerate the application of updated science and provides an integrated, collaborative approach to transform clinical guidelines into practice. We believe that by doing so, this will drive better health outcomes, increase patient satisfaction and contribute to AHA’s goal to reduce mortality from CV diseases and stroke by 20 percent by 2020. Our comprehensive, coordinated approach will:

  • Innovate processes that will accelerate guidelines into practice
  • Activate medical professionals to leverage science faster and measure clinical effectiveness and quality, and
  • Empower patients and caregivers to better manage health and participate in care coordination

By spearheading initiatives like GTO, AstraZeneca and the AHA demonstrate our commitment to putting patients first by ensuring the most advanced treatments and care reach the patients who need them.

World Heart Day 2015: Keeping Cardiovascular Health at the Heart of Our Mission

Today is World Heart Day, a day set aside each year to raise awareness of the risks of cardiovascular disease (CVD), and to take steps to help improve the heart health of individuals around the globe. But what does this mean to us at AstraZeneca? With over 100 years of cardiovascular (CV) experience, AstraZeneca continues to build a strong focus around CV health and the patients it impacts. This World Heart Day, we are sharing our efforts to offer resources that support heart health in a variety of ways. Through a cross-country tour of America that educated the public on cholesterol health, and programs that provide support and help patients access and afford their medicines, AstraZeneca works to strengthen our commitment to helping millions of CV patients worldwide.

This year we launched “Make Your Move Across America,” a national cholesterol education initiative that seeks to bring attention to one of the most common risk factors for developing heart disease – high cholesterol. Many people may not realize that heart disease is one of the leading causes of death, globally. By offering free cholesterol screenings to adults 18 and older at events across the United States, from state fairs to baseball games, Make Your Move Across America is providing the opportunity to learn more about your cholesterol numbers and how to work with your doctor to manage those numbers. More than 10,000 Americans have been screened to-date as a result of this initiative.

We feel it is important that CV patients understand what steps they can take to live a healthy life. AstraZeneca aims to meet this need with a patient support service that provides resources to help CV patients and caregivers from hospital discharge throughout the treatment journey. The free program offers important patient education and coaching in addition to savings offers, refill reminders, personal pharmacy locator, co-pay calculator, and coverage verification and information.

To support their ongoing care plan, patients also need access to the right medications. For the convenience of patients, AstraZeneca offers free home delivery of prescription hypertension (also known as high blood pressure) medicine to patients, a simpler way to meet patient needs.

AstraZeneca continually looks for ways to help patients not only access the care they need, but also help them more fully understand the importance of heart health. To us, World Heart Day serves as a reminder to continue to identify and meet the needs of CV patients and educate the community about actions they can take to reduce their risk of CVD.

Empowering People to Improve Heart Health

By Rich Buckley, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, North America and President, AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation

Rich-Buckley2People have the power to improve heart health. It’s a simple phrase, but one that seems to falter against such an intractable, national burden like cardiovascular disease, the number one cause of death in the United States. Can individuals really turn the tide against heart disease and its associated risk factors such as diabetes, metabolic syndrome and obesity? I believe the answer is a resounding “yes.”

I’m proud to serve as President of the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation, which awards Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM (CCH) grants to nonprofit organizations across the country that work to improve cardiovascular health at the community level by reaching one person at a time with care, resources and support. The Foundation and its CCH Grant Awardees share the belief that we can support people in their ability to improve heart health.

AZHCF 2014 Annual ReportThe AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation’s 2014 annual report shows how these awardees have empowered people to improve their cardiovascular health, one step at a time. The report highlights their innovative community programs – and individuals who found the support to change their health and lives.

One individual, a young man named Eric, participated in West Virginia Health Right’s first CCH-funded program, Pathways to Cardiovascular Health. He struggled with obesity and type 2 diabetes and had hit a plateau after losing 70 pounds. Eric and his father attended the program’s healthy cooking and diabetes education classes and as a result, Eric lost an additional 50 pounds and reduced his Hemoglobin A1C level by a third. His journey didn’t stop there. Eric’s inspirational story was highlighted in the local newspaper, and he convinced his mother to join West Virginia Health Right’s newest CCH-funded weight loss program, SCALE (Sustainable Changes and Lifestyle Enhancement). Eric and his family are continuing to build a healthy lifestyle together, step by step.

To date, CCH grant awardees have reached over one million hearts through various outreach and educational efforts, and actively tracked over 40,000 people for improvements. Program participants have lost weight, reduced their blood sugar levels, increased their health knowledge and more. And like Eric, they’re connecting with others to share what they have learned. Kids are putting more vegetables on their plates and encouraging their parents to do the same. Other participants mentor friends who are looking to improve their cardiovascular health. This is the core of the CCH program – supporting meaningful heart health change at the individual level, and fostering connections to spread that change to others. By empowering one person at a time to improve their heart health, we can begin a ripple effect that will improve the health of communities and generations.

You can learn more about the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation by visiting our website, following us on Twitter or watching us on YouTube.

Pictured Above: Robin and her children, Ryleigh and Austyn, participants in Ashland-Boyd County Health Department’s CCH-funded A.P.P.L.E. program

World Heart Day: Our Opportunity to Make an Impact

By John Clymer, Executive Director, National Forum for Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention

John ClymerChances are you know somebody who has or may be at risk for cardiovascular disease. That’s because cardiovascular disease, which includes heart disease and stroke, is the number one cause of death, both in the United States and globally. The sad reality is that 1 in 3 Americans die from this disease each year, but the good news is there are ways to manage your risk.

This is why one day each year, September 29, is devoted to raising awareness about cardiovascular disease: World Heart Day. This observance, created by the World Heart Federation, is the world’s largest cardiovascular initiative. As a result, it provides the National Forum an opportunity to raise awareness and underscore the importance of managing one’s risk for cardiovascular disease and the factors that can cause it.

In celebration of World Heart Day 2015, we are proud to be working with our members to educate our communities on how to live healthier lives this fall. The AstraZeneca “Make Your Move Across America” initiative, a national cholesterol education campaign that offers free cholesterol screenings to adults 18 and older in select cities across the country, is an activity we are proud to be a part of this World Heart Day. Make Your Move Across America provides adults an opportunity to learn their cholesterol numbers and how to work with their doctor to manage them if necessary, which are critical components to reducing a person’s risk for heart disease and stroke. I encourage you to visit the campaign’s website and join the cholesterol conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #LetsTalkLipids.

Let’s celebrate World Heart Day by putting our cardiovascular health first. Take a moment to speak with your doctor about what you can do to manage your cholesterol so you can make smart choices for your cardiovascular health this year and every year!


Do you know your numbers?

An estimated 71 million American adults, representing 34 percent of the population, have high LDL-C or “bad cholesterol” levels – a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, many Americans don’t know that they have high cholesterol because there are usually no signs or symptoms. However, a simple blood test – also known as a lipid profile blood test – can help to determine your levels and is part of a larger cardiac risk assessment.

Cholesterol Fast Facts

About John Clymer

John Clymer is executive director of the National Forum for Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention, an independent, nonprofit catalyst for collaboration.  Additionally, he is an adjunct assistant professor at Loma Linda University School of Public Health, guest lecturer at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and member of the US Community Preventive Services Task Force.

3163023 Last Updated 8/15

AZ Awards Medical Grant for American Heart Association Patient Initiative

By: Steve Zelenkofske, D.O., Vice President, US Medical Affairs, Cardiovascular, AstraZeneca

Cardiovascular (CV) disease remains the leading cause of death for men and women. This startling statistic serves as a daily reminder to AstraZeneca that improvement in health outcomes is not just about discovering and developing new medicines for patients. In order to successfully address complex health challenges, particularly in cardiovascular disease, we must actively seek opportunities to support and partner with the broader community working to improve CV health.

Today, in support of this objective, AstraZeneca awarded a $6 million medical education grant to the American Heart Association (AHA) for a unique cardiovascular health initiative called Guideline Transformation and Optimization (GTO). This initiative is designed to improve the speed with which evidence-based health care guidelines are understood and applied among health care providers in order to help improve health outcomes and patient satisfaction.

AHA Color LogoAs one of the oldest and largest voluntary organizations dedicated to eliminating heart disease and stroke, the AHA has a tremendous reach and history in moving science into practice, which positions them well to activate medical professionals to leverage science faster, and to empower patients and caregivers to better manage their cardiac health care and coordination. The AHA’s GTO initiative will launch in a step approach, as the association has several guidelines to address heart disease and stroke treatment. Using a comprehensive, coordinated method, the AHA will first focus on innovating processes that will improve the use of guidelines for treating the more than 490,000 Americans who each year have a heart attack, known as non-ST segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI). The initiative will also deliver other tools, resources, and educational information to those who are on the front lines of treating patients with severe health issues.

At AstraZeneca, our teams will continue to challenge conventional thinking by pushing the boundaries of medical science to create life-changing medicines that address multiple cardiovascular risks. We also remain steadfast in our commitment to supporting unique cardiovascular health programs created by the broader CV community that are designed to deliver a lasting standard of care and the best potential outcomes for patients.

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