Healthy Heart Demonstration Project Grants – Overview
The Healthy Heart Demonstration Project is being implemented in 30 IHS, Tribal, and Urban Indian grant programs nationwide. These programs focus on reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease in American Indians and Alaska Natives who already have diabetes. Cardiovascular disease is the leading complication of diabetes and the number one killer of American Indian and Alaska Native adults. The Strong Heart Study, an ongoing study of cardiovascular disease in 13 American Indian and Alaska Native communities, demonstrated that diabetes is a major risk factor and accounts for the majority of risk for cardiovascular disease events in this population. The Healthy Heart Demonstration Project grants offer hope that communities can reverse these troubling trends.
The grant programs are currently using a clinical, team-based, case management approach to treat risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Based on current models for chronic care management and the latest cardiovascular disease prevention clinical guidelines, this approach includes:
- Blood pressure control through intensive antihypertensive medication management
- Reduced cholesterol levels through intensive medication management
- Aspirin use
- Smoking cessation
- Physical activity
- Weight management
To implement this approach, the grant programs recruit individuals with diabetes to participate monthly in an intensive, clinic-based program. The program uses the Honoring the Gift of Heart Health Curriculum, which was designed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for American Indian and Alaska Native communities, to provide cardiovascular disease risk reduction education.