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Connections For Cardiovascular Health announces grant to U-M Health System

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - The AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation program, Connections for Cardiovascular Health, today announced a grant of more than $173,000 to the University of Michigan Health System in support of the Cardiovascular Center’s Project Healthy Schools program. This is the second consecutive year that the U-M Health System has received a grant from the Connections for Cardiovascular Health.

Project Healthy Schools (PHS) expansion efforts are geared toward serving low-income, underserved African-American and other minority middle school students in Detroit. PHS is designed to improve the health of adolescents at a critical point by encouraging lifelong health behaviors in a school-based program that will support healthy children and families.

Engaging in each middle school, the project co-creates and implements a program aimed squarely at food choice and exercise programming for adolescents. It engages with teachers, school employees and families in ways that provide for longer-term sustainability and impact.

“PHS is dedicated to creating collaborative projects that emphasize heart-healthy habits from an early age,” said Kim Eagle, the Albion Walter Hewlett professor of internal medicine and a director of the University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center. “By learning these lessons, these children are improving their cardiovascular risk factors, which we believe will translate into lower long-term risk of hypertension, diabetes and heart disease.”

PHS is a collaboration between the community and the University of Michigan that provides middle-school-based programming to reduce childhood obesity and long-term health risks. It plans to expand to two more Detroit middle schools in 2012 and 2013. The hands-on learning activities and socio-ecological model, which engages the entire school community in this effort, make it a very effective, sustainable approach to impacting children’s health.

PHS’s evaluation component distinguishes itself from other similar school health initiatives by using pre/post-program biometric and behavioral measurements.

“We must work to decrease the risk of and prevent cardiovascular disease in the United States, by providing resources to those in need,” said James W. Blasetto, M.D., MPH, chairman of the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation. ”The University of Michigan Health System is providing an innovative program to improve cardiovascular health in youth throughout the city of Detroit.”

Connections for Cardiovascular Health was launched in 2010 through a charitable contribution of $25 million from AstraZeneca. The program awards grants of $150,000 and up to US-based non-profit organizations that are doing innovative work in the field of cardiovascular health. The grant will be used to focus on teaching healthy habits, establishing a supportive healthy environment, and on screening initiatives that will identify patients with or at-risk of cardiovascular disease. Those individuals who have out-of-normal range values will receive a follow-up phone call from a pediatric cardiologist and will be given information about available resources.

Organizations can learn more and apply online for a Foundation grant at www.astrazeneca-us.com/foundation. Applications must be submitted online no later than 5:00 p.m. EST on March 15.

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About the University of Michigan Health System
The University of Michigan Health System includes the U-M Hospitals & Health Centers, which comprises three hospitals and dozens of outpatient health centers and clinics; the U-M Medical School with its Faculty Group Practice and extensive research and education programs; the clinical operations of the U-M School of Nursing; and the Michigan Health Corp. The three U-M hospitals are University Hospital, C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, and Von Voigtlander Women's Hospital. UMHS has been recognized numerous times for excellence in patient care, including 15 years on the honor roll of "America's Best Hospitals", as compiled by U.S. News & World Report. The U-M Medical School is one of the nation’s biomedical research powerhouses, with total research funding of more than $420 million, and consistently achieves high rankings for excellence in the education and training of physicians and biomedical scientists. For more on UMHS, see www.med.umich.edu.

About the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation
Established in 1993, the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation is a Delaware not-for-profit corporation and a 501(c)(3) entity organized for charitable purposes including to promote public awareness of healthcare issues, to promote public education of medical knowledge and to support or contribute to charitable and qualified exempt organizations consistent with its charitable purpose.
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For more information about the AstraZeneca awards, contact Tony Jewell at 302-885-4594

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