A $25,000 gift to Christiana Care Health System from the Helen D. Groome Beatty Trust, administered by BNY Mellon Wealth Management, is helping to prevent high blood pressure and make Delawareans healthier. With this generous gift, Christiana Care’s volunteer Blood Pressure Ambassadors will continue to strengthen their successful campaign as peer educators in the community to raise awareness about the consequences of high blood pressure, particularly among African Americans for whom high blood pressure is more prevalent.
“Through our Blood Pressure Ambassadors program, Christiana Care has pioneered a health screening and educational program in our community to identify individuals with high blood pressure, with the goal of getting them medical care that will reduce the complications of chronic high blood pressure, such as heart attack, stroke and kidney failure,” said Timothy Gardner, M.D., medical director of Christiana Care’s Center for Heart & Vascular Health. “The ambassadors enthusiastically help their own neighbors – our own neighbors – achieve optimal health with attention to this fundamental health measure.”
Lee Woolley, president, Mid-Atlantic Region, BNY Mellon Wealth Management, said, “The opportunity to connect underserved neighborhoods with preventive health care inspired us to support this innovative program. We are thrilled to help Christiana Care, through the generosity of the Helen D. Groome Beatty Trust, continue its grass-roots effort to help our neighbors become healthier through access to important information and free screenings, and help make a positive change in the lives of so many Delawareans.”
During their visits to churches, community centers and local events, 95 Blood Pressure Ambassadors offer free blood pressure screenings and encourage their peers to take advantage of Christiana Care’s free weekly blood pressure screenings. The Ambassadors conducted more than 2,500 screenings in the last year.
Getting the message out is critical. Loss of life related to high blood pressure contributes to nearly 1,000 deaths in the U.S. per day and the rate has been on the rise, reported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High blood pressure is also associated with significant economic impact, costing Americans an estimated $46 billion annually in health care services, medications and missed days of work.
According to the American Heart Association, one in three Americans has high blood pressure. The incidence of high blood pressure among African Americans is higher, at 40 percent. If unmanaged, high blood pressure can lead to serious and fatal health problems, including heart attack, stroke and kidney failure.
Michelle Schwandt, a Christiana Care trustee and chair of Christiana Care’s Champions of the Center for Heart & Vascular Health, which promotes important heart-healthy initiatives, said the gift underscores the importance of prevention. “This important support from the Beatty Trust helps us tackle ‘the silent killer’ of high blood pressure, which strikes families and communities, often without warning signs or symptoms. BNY Mellon Wealth Management and our Blood Pressure Ambassadors are our partners in keeping our neighbors healthy.”
With events at central neighborhood locations like supermarkets and libraries, “our goal is to get the message to patients where they are, and that is in the community,” said Ray Blackwell, M.D., cardiac surgeon and chair of the Blood Pressure Ambassador Advisory Committee. “The more people who know, the more people we can treat, the more lives we can save.”