In November 2016, the Florida Department of Health launched a pilot program aimed at implementing new prevention strategies in places deemed most at risk of heart disease. The state department analyzed rates of heart disease, smoking, cholesterol, high blood pressure and other risk factors in each of the state’s 67 counties and identified 17 counties that then adopted one of three prevention strategies:
» Blood pressure: Some counties chose to distribute home blood pressure monitors to encourage regular self-exams. Counties were instructed to partner with their local Tobacco Free Florida office to incorporate anti-tobacco messages into the program.
» Hypertension: Counties could also organize “hypertension control challenge” competitions aimed at identifying local medical practices, clinicians and health systems that have worked with patients to reach hypertension control rates of 70% or better.
» Partnerships: Some counties elected to partner with churches or other faith-based groups to raise awareness about the risks for heart disease and stroke and about prevention strategies. Counties were instructed to partner with at least two local faith-based groups, helping them to develop “pulpit and other leadership messages” and to organize at least two community events per group focused on heart-disease prevention.
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