Colorado State University’s Heart Disease Prevention Program Receives Grant to Serve Medically Underserved Citizens

Medically underserved citizens of Northern Colorado will benefit from a $45,000 grant given to the Heart Disease Prevention Program, or HDPP, at Colorado State University. The grant was awarded by the Caring for Colorado Foundation, which works to ensure that the people of Colorado are the healthiest in the nation.

The HDPP is part of Colorado State’s Human Performance Clinical/Research Laboratory, or HPCRL, which provides affordable cardiovascular disease prevention services to citizens of Larimer County and the state of Colorado.

"The Heart Disease Prevention Program provides invaluable support to all those who want to take active steps to ensure their long-term health and well-being," said Colorado State University President Larry Penley. "I’ve personally gone through the program’s screening process, and I’ve seen firsthand the importance of Colorado State’s research and outreach in this critical area. This grant simply acknowledges the outstanding public service provided by our faculty and the prevention program."

Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States. Many aspects of the disease are preventable; however, without access to screening and prevention services, medically underserved individuals who are uninsured, underinsured and/or have low income are unable to identify and improve preventable risk factors.

A recent community health survey by the Health District of Northern Larimer County that involved 2,272 individuals revealed the impact of the lack of medical care in the underserved population. Within this medically underserved group, 30 percent have never had a blood cholesterol test and 60 percent reported some type of chronic disease, which includes hypertension, congestive heart failure, high cholesterol, angina, diabetes, heart attack and stroke.

"We are excited that the Caring for Colorado Foundation and other partners have funded this project allowing us to reach out to a group of valued citizens in our community who otherwise would have no access to these life-changing services," said Gay Israel, executive director of the HPCRL and head of the Department of Health and Exercise Science at Colorado State.

The Poudre Valley Hospital Foundation also has donated $10,000, or $2,500 per year for four years, to assist in the support of the project.

"We are very excited to participate with this project, which offers heart screening for a population who otherwise would never be able to get this array of services," said Ruth Lytle-Barnaby, director of Community and Foundation Development for the Poudre Valley Hospital Foundation.

Individuals who meet the screening, selection and referral criteria will be referred to the HDPP from the Larimer County Department of Health and Environment, Health District of Northern Larimer County, Poudre Valley Health System, Family Medicine Center, The Family Clinic of Fort Collins, Heart Center of the Rockies and other community primary care providers who treat the medically underserved.

Referred patients to the HDPP will undergo a full, high-quality screening for cardiovascular disease free of charge. The typical fee for this comprehensive program is $400, but in most medical settings, the costs would be significantly higher.

With early prevention measures, these valued community members will be able to positively impact their personal health status by reducing their risk for cardiovascular disease and promoting healthy lifestyles in their families and communities.

As part of the HPCRL, the HDPP is supported by highly trained personnel and a variety of state-of-the-art equipment. The goals of the HDPP are to assess known risk factors for cardiovascular disease and to use cardiovascular risk factor status in the development of individualized strategies for lifestyle changes, thereby reducing the likelihood of developing heart and vascular disease.

The HDPP is intended for citizens in the local community and throughout Colorado. To date, more than 500 individuals who do not present any symptoms of cardiovascular disease have been tested with 53 percent requiring follow-up referrals for some type of medical intervention.

The HDPP includes three visits to the HPCRL, which includes blood work and urinalysis, skinfold assessment of body composition and electrocardiograms at rest and during exercise. In addition, participants will be assessed on flexibility, muscular strength, pulmonary function testing, hydrostatic weighing to determine body fat percentage and undergo cardio-respiratory and physical examinations by a physician. A maximal graded exercise test, coronary risk profile, exercise prescription and dietary analysis will be included.

Participants will be able to use the knowledge gained during the assessments and interventions to take active roles in improving their own cardiovascular health and to promote positive lifestyle changes in their families and community.

For more information about the Heart Disease Prevention Program at Colorado State, call Tiffany Lipsey at (970) 491-7035.