BALTIMORE, MD (February 13, 2012) – The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), in partnership with the Delmarva Foundation, today brought together public and private partners for the first Maryland Million Hearts Symposium to discuss public health solutions to fighting heart disease and stroke, two of Maryland’s leading causes of death.

Million Hearts™ is a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) nationwide initiative to focus, coordinate, and enhance heart disease prevention activities across public and private sectors. The goal of this unprecedented effort is to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes over five years and demonstrate to the American people that improving the health system can save lives. In 2012, Maryland became the first state to sign its own Million Hearts commitment.

“Preventing heart disease is a top priority in the effort to improve health across communities,” said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, Secretary of DHMH. “The Million Hearts initiative brings together existing efforts and new programs to help Marylanders live longer, healthier lives.”

More than one out of every four deaths in Maryland is due to heart disease. Every 33 minutes, someone in Maryland dies from heart attack, stroke or other heart disease complication. The costs of heart disease are tremendous. In 2010, heart disease and stroke accounted for $1.23 billion of hospital expenses in Maryland (Health Services Cost Review Commission inpatient data accessed via MATCH) (Maryland Vital Statistics Administration).

Maryland’s commitment to the Million Hearts™ initiative has 5 core components: improving clinical care, strengthening tobacco control, promoting a healthy diet, encouraging workplace wellness, and incentivizing local public health action. Progress on those components is tracked through StateStat.

The Million Hearts™ initiative aims to prevent heart disease and stroke by:

  • Improving access to effective care
  • Focusing clinical attention on the prevention of heart attack and stroke through the ‘ABCS’-- aspirin when appropriate, blood pressure control, cholesterol management and smoking cessation
  • Activating the public to lead a heart-healthy lifestyle, including physical activity and healthy food choices
  • Improving prescription adherence to appropriate medications for control of risk factors

  • The Maryland Million Hearts Symposium featured presentations on workplace wellness, healthcare reform, creating healthy environments in schools and childcare settings, and improving cardiovascular health through collaboration of health professionals.

    Dr. Sharfstein and Frieda Wadley, MD, MSPHA, CEO of the Delmarva Foundation, delivered welcoming remarks at the event.

    Janet Wright, MD, FACC, executive director of the Million Hearts initiative, delivered the keynote address, It Takes a Village, and Gail Mates, a heart disease patient, shared her inspirational story with the audience.

    For more information on the Symposium and other Million Hearts™ goals and activities, please visit:

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