Welcome to the fifth issue of the Partnership Pulse - a periodic newsletter of the Partnership for a Heart-Healthy, Stroke-Free Massachusetts.
Important message from the Partnership
Effective July 1, the Partnership for a Heart-Healthy, Stroke-Free Massachusetts will align resources, personnel, and volunteer leadership with the new Massachusetts chronic disease prevention coalition. This initiative will foster a coordinated public health approach to reducing chronic diseases broadly (including heart disease and stroke) in the Commonwealth, consistent with new federal public health funding. By joining forces with the new statewide coalition, the resources and opportunities for achieving the Partnership's goals may be strengthened.
Accordingly, the Partnership will suspend its current activities as of July 1, 2012, and there will be no June 1 meeting of the Partnership for a Heart-Healthy, Stroke-Free Massachusetts. Updates on the status of the Partnership will be posted on this website.
We thank our Partners for their support and good work in preventing and managing heart disease and stroke throughout the Commonwealth. To continue working toward our shared goals, we encourage you to consider joining one of the seven Communities of Practice (work groups). Participating in a Community of Practice will continue the work you have been doing in the Partnership and increase your impact on improving health in Massachusetts. A brief overview of the Massachusetts Coordinated Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention Plan and the seven Communities of Practice can be downloaded from our homepage: HeartStrokeMA.org. If you are interested in participating in one or more of the Communities of Practice, please contact us.
If you have any questions, please contact Peggy Kocoras, Partnership Coordinator.
School Wellness Learning Forum Continues
The Partnership continues to host sessions of the learning forum Your School Wellness Policy: The Next Step. Conference calls on Nutrition, Physical Activity, Wellness Committees, and Grant Writing have been held so far. Each session opens with brief presentations by speakers with experience in the field, followed by discussion among the speakers and school administrators and staff. Useful suggestions and advice have been generated on all the topics. The information from the learning forum sessions is posted on our website: Learning Forum Proceedings.
Chronic Disease Coalition Kick-Off
On June 4, 2012, the new Massachusetts Partnership for Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention will hold its inaugural meeting to kick-off the new State plan. Goals have been identified and strategies are being developed for reaching long-term (five-year) objectives within each of the goal areas. Initial focus is on heart disease and stroke, diabetes, asthma, arthritis, and cancer. The Communities of Practice will convene during the afternoon session. Register for the June 4 kick-off meeting and a Community of Practice here: June 4 registration.
Save the Date!
Worksite Wellness Council of Massachusetts Annual Conference
September 19, 2012
Hoagland-Pincus Center, Shrewsbury, MA
Massachusetts Coordinated School Health Program
The Massachusetts Coordinated School Health Program, funded by the CDC, is a partnership of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. The visition of the Coordinated School Health Program is that all Massachusetts children and adolescents will develop into physically, socially, and emotionally healthy adults, educationally prepared to become contributing members of the society. The overall goal of the program is to help schools deliver evidence-based comprehensive health education, develop and implement health-related policies, and provide health-promoting school environments. Program staff provide training, technical assistance, and resources to schools to promote the healthy development of Massachusetts youth, especially as related to increasing Physical Activity, improving Nutrition, and eliminating Tobacco use (PANT).
Massachusetts Coordinated School Health newsletters have been published on topics such as Health and Academic Achievement, Sexuality Education, Evaluating School Health Environments, School Health Education, Nutrition, Physical Education and Physical Activity, and Tobacco. Download those, factsheets, and other useful resources and links on their website: Coordinated School Health Program.
Mass in Motion
Mass in Motion is a statewide obesity-prevention initiative that emphasizes the importance of healthy eating and physical activity. The Mass in Motion webpages on the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services website include information and resources for eating better and moving more at home, at work, at school, and in the community. Information and links for health professionals, employers, and policy makers as well as consumers are included. A helpful blog adds timely and useful information. The webpages are available in Spanish and Portuguese at the click of a button.
POLICY, SYSTEMS, & ENVIRONMENT
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
The Federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) recently launched efforts to promote patient-centered outcomes research in patient and professional communities in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. territories. AHRQ has established five Regional Partnership Development Offices that are cultivating sustainable partnerships with hospitals and health systems, patient advocacy organizations, businesses, and other groups that serve clinicians, consumers, and policymakers.
Patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR), also known as comparative effectiveness research, provides information that helps clinicians and patients work together to treat an illness or a condition. PCOR compares drugs, medical devices, tests, surgeries, and ways to deliver healthcare. The research findings don't tell clinicians how to practice medicine or which treatment is best, but they provide evidence-based information on the effectiveness and risks of different treatments. Clinicians and patients can use this information to make informed treatment decisions based on each individual's circumstances.
AHRQ's Effective Health Care Program works with researchers, research centers, and academic organizatioins to conduct the research and focuses on 14 priority health conditions, including cardiovascular and related diseases, diabetes, arthritis, mental health disorders, and pregnancy. The full research reports are made available and findings are translated into practical patient and clinician materials.
To learn more about PCOR, to request free materials, or to become part of this growing partnership network, contact Julie Rahmati in AHRQ's New York Regional Partnership Development Office at 212-880-5340 or
. You can also learn more about patient-centered outcomes research by visiting www.effectivehealthcare.ahrq.gov.
DATA & SURVEILLANCE
Harvard Medical School: "His and Hers Heart Disease"
Gender-based reserach at Harvard Medical School concludes that "gender differences should guide many aspects of heart disease prevention, diagnosis, and treatment." Discrepancies begin with risk factors, which affect women and men differently. According to the website:
- Smoking. A cigarette habit tops the list of lifestyle risk factors for men and women alike. But for women who take birth control pills, smoking increases the risk of heart attack and stroke even more.
- Cholesterol. Levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol above 130 mg/dL are thought to signal even greateer risk for men, while levels of "good" HDL cholesterol below 50 mg/dL are seen as greater warnings for women. High triglyceride levels (over 150 mg/dL) are also a more significant risk factor for women.
- High blood pressure. Until age 45, a higher percentage of men than women have high blood pressure. During midlife women start gaining on men. By age 70, women, on average, have higher blood pressure than men do.
- Diabetes. For both men and women, having diabetes more than doubles the risk of developing heart disease, but diabetes more than doubles the risk of a cardiac death in women, while raising it 60% in men.
- Metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome has five features - abdominal obesity, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, low HDL cholesterol, and high blood sugar or insulin resistance. Having any three of the five features is riskier for women than for men: it triples the risk of a fatal heart attack in a woman, and increases her chance of developing diabetes ten-fold. The combination of a large waist and high triglycerides is especially toxic to women.
- Inflammation. Chronic inflammation inside an atherosclerotic plaque makes it more likely to rupture, causing a heart attack or stroke. Women more often have conditions that lead to persistent, low-grade inflammation. For example, the inflammatory disease lupus is much more common in women than in men, and more than doubles the risk of heart attack and stroke for women.
The article includes information on the differences in risk, risk reduction, the disease process, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment. Read the full article at Harvard Medical School Family Health Guide: His and Hers Heart Disease Part 1 and Part 2.
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