Kaiser Permanente has awarded a $2.55 million grant to an American Heart Association outreach effort to reduce hypertension in the African-American community.

The Community to Clinic, Clinic to Community (C2C2): Improving Hypertension Control in Blacks and African-Americans initiative will initially roll out in Atlanta and San Diego. The project is a technology-enabled collaboration among clinics, healthcare providers, community organizations, and volunteer health mentors.

The goal is to help patients track their blood pressure readings, share them with their caregivers and physicians, and monitor their progress over time. The funding for the program comes from the Kaiser Permanente National Community Benefit Fund at the East Bay Community Foundation.

Participants in the program can go to community locations, which may include retail pharmacies, churches, or community centers, which will work in tandem with local clinics, reinforcing doctors’ orders, and even serving as a liaison between patient and clinic. In turn, clinic staff will reinforce the patient’s relationship with the health mentor and community site, where they’ll be receiving encouragement and accountability for making healthy choices and staying on their medication.

The program will include access to the AHA’s Heart360 online health management program. Patients can use Heart360 to track their blood pressure as well as other related health factors. The data will be accessible to the patient, a volunteer health mentor and their healthcare provider.

"Community-based blood pressure programs have a proven track record for success," Kaiser Permanente executives said. "A Kaiser Permanente program doubled hypertension control over eight years among health plan participants in Northern California. The American Heart Association, working with Durham Health Innovations in Durham, N.C., improved blood pressure control by 12 percent over six months."

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