The American Heart Association & YMCA of the USA Strike New Agreement to Nationally Scale Community Based Blood Pressure Program

National nonprofit organizations come together to unite communities and clinical care with blood pressure self-management proof of concept program 

New Orleans, November 14, 2016— To ensure that the 1 in 3 American adults who are living with high blood pressure better control their condition, the American Heart Association (AHA) today announced a new strategic relationship with YMCA of the USA (Y-USA) that links communities and clinical care to the YMCA’s Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program.

The program will leverage the information and resources of Y-USA’s existing self-management blood pressure program as well as the Target: BP initiative jointly created last year by the AHA and the American Medical Association.

By focusing on a delivery model that aims to enhance clinical care by creating a direct link to the community, more people with high blood pressure will be connected to resources that help them achieve better health.

Announced at the AHA Scientific Sessions in New Orleans, the AHA and Y-USA have committed over $5 million and other assets of their organizations in this ground-breaking venture to further a common mission to bring science-based resources to underserved communities. 

“High blood pressure is often referred to as ’The Silent Killer’ – 87 million adults in the U.S. have it, but less than half have it under control,” said Nancy Brown, CEO of the American Heart Association. “Effective blood pressure control prevents heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, and premature death.  Extending care and services from the doctor’s office to the patient’s community holds promise to get blood pressure under control more quickly and effectively.”

Proof of Concept Project – Start Small, Learn Fast & Scale Nationally:

To start, AHA and Y-USA will work together to enhance and promote the clinical integration of the Y’s Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program and the YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program.

The enhancements will include innovations, led by AHA, to connect clinics with local Ys in 10 cities. As part of this effort, the Y will engage the communities at large, to help at-risk individuals and groups better manage their blood pressure using the most current science-based programs shown to produce better blood pressure control.

Additionally, AHA will use their expertise to support the Y’s Healthy Heart Ambassadors, who are program leaders trained by the Y, to better help individuals eat healthier, get physically active, understand the benefits of self-monitoring and learn how to correctly take one’s own blood pressure. AHA and Y-USA will work together to evaluate the enhanced clinical integration benefits, and bring lessons learned to a national scale through the Y’s network of program providers by 2020.

“With 2,700 locations and a presence in 10,000 communities, the Y is one of the few community-based organizations with the ability to scale a program that takes health care out of the clinic and directly to the people who need it most,” said Kevin Washington, President and CEO, YMCA of the USA. “Combining our reach with the American Heart Association’s expertise will enable thousands of people, especially those in underserved communities, to get the resources and support they need to control their high-blood pressure.”

“High blood pressure is associated with significant negative economic impact, costing Americans an estimated $46 billion annually in healthcare services, medications and missed days of work,” said Brown. “The AHA is a catalyst for transforming communities and driving change for better health.”


Media Contacts:

American Heart Association: Webb Bierbrier,

YMCA of the USA:  Ryu Mizuno,  or Stephanie Cavataro,

About the American Heart Association The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke –  the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit Opens a new window or call any of our offices around the country.  Follow us on Facebook Opens a new window and Twitter Opens a new window.

About the Y The Y is one of the nation’s leading nonprofits, which strengthens communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Across the U.S., 2,700 Ys engage 22 million men, women and children – regardless of age, income or background, nurturing the potential of children and teens, improving the nation’s health and well-being, and providing opportunities to give back and support the community. Anchored in more than 10,000 communities, the Y has the long-standing relationships and physical presence not just to promise, but to deliver lasting personal and social change.

Monday, November 14, 2016

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