Pharmacy Center Working to Improve Heart Health in Jackson

'Healthy Hearts in the Heart of the City' addresses cardiovascular health issues

Leigh Ann Ross (second from left), associate dean for clinical affairs at the UM School of Pharmacy and director of the school’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science, and Lauren Bloodworth (third from left), director of the center’s community/population unit, accept an award from AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation for the center’s work in cardiovascular health initiatives in the Jackson area. The award provides a $125,000 grant for the center’s ‘Healthy Hearts in the Heart of the City’ program. Submitted photo

JACKSON, Miss. – The University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science is one of 11 innovative, community-based organizations across the country awarded a grant from the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation‘s Connections for Cardiovascular Health program to help improve heart health.

The $125,000 grant will provide continued funding for the center to administer “Healthy Hearts in the Heart of the City,” a program that offers free health screenings, classes on heart health and medication therapy management services in partnership with Families First for Mississippi and other community organizations in the Jackson area.

“This funding supports the center’s work in communities within our state with individuals who are at risk of cardiovascular health issues,” said Leigh Ann Ross, the center’s director and associate dean for clinical affairs at the School of Pharmacy. “Our state has unique challenges related to heart disease, and we are thrilled to have partners who share our goal of improving the health of Mississippians by making these important services accessible to our communities.”

The center’s staff is sharing its approach to preventing and controlling cardiovascular disease and its findings with other nonprofit organizations through conference presentations and social media outreach.

“We are excited to build upon our existing work in Mississippi communities to continue to provide screenings and identify those who may need education or medication management,” said Lauren Bloodworth, director of the center’s community/population unit and clinical associate professor of pharmacy practice.

Julia Woods, a clinical pharmacist at the center, added, “This is a wonderful opportunity to incorporate our students and residents as they help others improve their health.”

“We’re so proud to provide continued support to grant awardees who know how to create heart health programs that can make a real, measurable impact in their communities,” said James W. Blasetto, chairman of the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation.

“With this funding, we can help them carry on their work and share their impact with other nonprofit organizations that we hope will benefit additional communities for years to come.”

Since 2010, the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation’s Connections for Cardiovascular Health program has awarded more than $23.7 million in grants to 52 organizations nationwide.

The program has reached more than 1.7 million people, and more than 63,000 people have had their heart health progress tracked through a variety of awardees’ programs. As a result, these people are making lifestyle changes that help lead to better health and lower risk of cardiovascular disease.

Participant results include improvements such as losing weight, reducing body mass index, lowering blood pressure and hemoglobin A1C levels, making healthier food choices and exercising more.