Department of Population Health Receives $15 million Federal Grant to Advance Heart Health

Dr. Donna Shelley will lead HealthyHearts NYC, part of initiative under U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

Wednesday, June 03 2015

The Department of Population Health at NYU Langone Medical Center, along with a cooperative team of health care and quality improvement experts, has been awarded a $15 million, three-year federal grant from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to help primary care practices use the latest evidence to improve the heart health of millions of Americans. NYU Langone is one of only seven grant recipients nationwide to serve as part of the AHRQ initiative, EvidenceNOW – Advancing Heart Health in Primary Care. EvidenceNOW supports the broad HHS effort for Better Care, Smarter Spending, and Healthier People. EvidenceNOW also is aligned with HHS’s Million Hearts® national initiative to prevent heart attacks and strokes.

“The goal of the EvidenceNOW initiative is to give primary care practices the support they need to help patients live healthier and longer,” said Sylvia M. Burwell, Secretary of HHS. “By targeting smaller practices, we have a unique opportunity to reduce cardiovascular risk factors for hundreds of thousands of patients, and learn what kind of support results in better patient outcomes.” Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. In New York City alone, 28 percent of individuals suffer from hypertension, and 29 percent suffer from high blood cholesterol, according to a 2012 survey of 10,000 adult New Yorkers by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. In addition, residents of the poorest neighborhoods in the city consistently have higher mortality rates from cardiovascular disease, compared with residents of higher income neighborhoods.


Donna Shelley, MD, MPH

To successfully prevent heart attacks, it is critical that health care professionals work with patients to adopt the “ABCS” of cardiovascular prevention: Aspirin use by high risk individuals, Blood pressure control, Cholesterol management and Smoking cessation. However, evidence is continually evolving about how to best deliver the ABCS. The goal of Evidence NOW, its leaders say, is to ensure that primary care practices have the evidence they need and use it to help patients live healthier and longer. As part of its involvement in the EvidenceNOW initiative, NYU Langone will team up with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and its Primary Care Information Project, and the Community Health Care Association of New York State to form HealthyHearts NYC. HeartHealthy NYC will recruit and engage 250-300 small, independent primary care practices to provide quality improvement services typically not available in practices of their size. These services include onsite practice facilitation and coaching, expert consultation, and electronic health record support.

“This is an unprecedented opportunity to work with primary care practices to help their patients live longer, healthier lives, and to study how our interventions work so that we can disseminate the findings to primary care settings nationwide,” said Donna Shelley, MD, MPH, associate professor of Medicine and Population Health at NYU Langone Medical Center. While HealthyHearts NYC will conduct an internal evaluation, AHRQ also awarded a grant to the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) to conduct an independent national evaluation of the overall EvidenceNOW initiative. The OHSU team, with whom NYU Langone will collaborate, will study the impact of the EvidenceNOW interventions on practice improvement and the delivery of cardiovascular care. In addition, the evaluation team will study which practice supports and quality improvement strategies are most effective in improving the implementation of new evidence.

The Department of Population Health at NYU Langone already promotes proactive approaches to disease prevention and management at the community, health system and policy levels. Our mission is to advance the health of human populations by discovering new knowledge that informs policy and practice; educating tomorrow’s leaders and serving local, national, and global communities. To learn more, visit http://www.med.nyu.edu/pophealth

NYU Langone’s grant will run for three years, part of one of the largest research investments to date by AHRQ. For more information about AHRQ’s EvidenceNOW initiative, including details on each of the grantees and cooperatives, visit: http://www.ahrq.gov/evidencenow.html.

EvidenceNOW supports AHRQ’s overall mission to ensure that evidence is understood and used. Funding for this initiative comes from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund created by the Affordable Care Act and supports AHRQ’s mandate to disseminate and implement patient-centered outcomes research findings so that new findings are integrated into the delivery of health care. For more information about Million Hearts, visit http://millionhearts.hhs.gov/index.html.​