New York City has one of the highest proportions of uninsured residents among large urban areas in the United States. In turn, a growing number of the city's residents may be at increased risk of chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease (CVD) due to the lack of access to preventive health check-ups.
CVD is a serious health challenge domestically and abroad. It is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, with common risk factors including: high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and cigarette smoking. Our concern, as community health advocates, is that the uninsured are going without proper screening for these risk factors - many of which can be addressed. Weill Cornell's "Heart to Heart" outreach campaign will target uninsured, underserved at-risk communities to empower them to make beneficial lifestyle changes based on personal risk.
Screening days will be held in spaces provided by community centers and faith-based organizations. Each patron will be assessed for:
- waist circumference
- blood pressure
- blood glucose and hemoglobin A1C
- lipid panel (HDL, LDL, total cholesterol, and triglycerides)
They will then meet with a healthcare professional for an explanation of their results, and will receive individualized follow-up information (insurance screen, referral for a medical appointment). Health professions students (medical, nursing, physician's assistant), trained in point-of-care testing equipment will perform all tests, and physicians and nurse practitioners will provide general recommendations, educational materials and, if necessary, referral information for additional care.
Each session aims to screen 75-100 patrons at a per capita cost of under $18. Through a limited social, racial, socioeconomic and demographic history, this program also seeks to understand the health disparities of CVD in underserved populations, through prevalence and societal factors that contribute to an increased disease burden in these at-risk populations.
Lastly, these sessions provide a unique educational opportunity for health professions students to apply material learned in the classroom, obtain practical experience in building patron rapport, and collect vital signs. Health care professionals will also give lectures before each session to provide students with material relevant both to the day and to their general health professions education.