In 2001, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention and Control Program, the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association, and the Massachusetts Peer Review Organization came together to co-sponsor the Massachusetts Cardiovascular Health Coalition, a predecessor planning effort to the Partnership.
The goal of the Coalition was to devise strategies to reduce illness and death related to heart disease and stroke among Massachusetts residents. Members included organizations, agencies, and individuals with a key stake in the success of a statewide effort to prevent and control heart disease and stroke, including health providers, state and local health department officials, community-based organizations, schools, and community members.
Between 2001 and 2004 the Coalition accomplished numerous essential planning activities that laid the groundwork for the Partnership. The Coalition created goals; galvanized support among key stakeholders; collected and analyzed data from health providers, worksites, and communities; and formed task groups.
These efforts resulted in the publication in 2003 of a comprehensive action plan called The Health of Massachusetts: A Coordinated Response to Heart Disease and Stroke. This document increased awareness and shared recommendations for reducing heart disease and stroke in Massachusetts with clear objectives and measurable outcomes.
In 2004 the Coalition formally became the Partnership for a Heart-Healthy, Stroke-Free Massachusetts. Initial members of the Executive Committee were elected in 2005, and the following year a part-time Coordinator was hired to handle day-to-day activities and to support the standing committees.