Million Hearts Launches Hypertension Educational Program

CDC created it with help from pharmacists' associations, the National Association of Drug Store Chains, the American Heart Association, and even pharmacy schools.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sept. 5 announced a new educational program called "Team Up. Pressure Down." to help Americans keep their blood pressure under control by working with pharmacists at their local drug stores. The program includes educational videos, a blood pressure control journal, and a wallet card to track medication use.

The program is part of the Million Hearts health education initiative and was developed by CDC, practicing pharmacists, and national pharmacist groups. The goal of Million Hearts is to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. "This valuable Million Hearts initiative will prevent heart attacks and strokes by bringing pharmacists into the care team to help patients control their blood pressure. Pharmacists are able to talk to patients and families about using medication to manage, high blood pressure, and they can also help patients address barriers to taking their medication," said Dr. Regina M. Benjamin, the U.S. surgeon general.

"More than 36 million Americans, or more than half of those with hypertension, don't have their blood pressure under control, and every single day, more than one thousand Americans have a heart attack or stroke," said Dr. Janet Wright, a board-certified cardiologist and executive director of Million Hearts. "Through the 'Team Up. Pressure Down.' educational program for pharmacists, we are taking the first step in helping many more Americans achieve blood pressure control."

"Our organization trains the next wave of young pharmacists who are committed to making a difference in patients' lives," said William Lang, MPH, vice president for policy and advocacy with the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy. He said the educational program "recognizes and supports the critical role of pharmacists in improving blood pressure control through team-based care."

Organizations that contributed to the program's development during the past year include the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy, American College of Clinical Pharmacy, American Heart Association, American Pharmacist Association Foundation, Blue Ridge Mountain Group, Cardinal Health, Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services Innovation Center, Community Pharmacy Foundation, Compliant Pharmacy Alliance, Creative Pharmacist Healthy Heart Club, Indian Health Service, National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations, National Association of Drug Store Chains, National Community Pharmacists Association, National Consumer League, Pharmacy Quality Alliance, PharmaSmart, University of Iowa School of Pharmacy, University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, USPHS/Pharmacist Professional Advisory Committee, WomenHeart.

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