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The Polis Center is working with Indiana University Health, the Indiana Clinical and Translational Science Institutes, and the Fairbanks School of Public Health in collaboration with Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation as part of a three-year initiative to create the Indianapolis Health Equity, Access, outReach and Treatment (iHEART) collaborative aimed at reducing health inequities that contribute to overall heart disease and cardiovascular health. The Polis Center will serve as the Community Data Engagement Lead.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Indiana ranks 35th as the nation’s least-healthiest states, in large part due to CVD. The state underperforms nationally in CVD-related conditions including hypertension (ranked 36th), hyperlipidemia (30th), and obesity (40th).

The Collaborative’s innovative approach brings together medical, research and community engagement resources to screen, refer and treat individuals in three medically underserved areas of Indianapolis: Meadows/Martindale-Brightwood, the United Northwest Area/Riverside and the Near Southeast Side.

Health interventions such as blood pressure screenings, point-of-care testing (glucose, lipids, hemoglobin A1C) and body mass index measures will be offered within various community institutions including barbershops/salons and local places of worship. Follow-up education and resources will be available for residents to connect with clinical care and social services close to home.

iHEART will also host a series of public forums within these communities to raise awareness about the long-term effects of uncontrolled high blood pressure such as heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, etc., and to educate residents on local cardiovascular health data, cardiovascular self-management tools and resources for overcoming structural factors that contribute to cardiovascular disease (CVD).

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