April 22, 2014

GE Foundation Announces $2.2 Million Grant to Combat Chicago’s Leading Causes of Death: Heart Disease and Stroke

Chicago Department of Health, the GE Foundation, and Northwestern University partner to screen 50,000 residents by 2017

Media Contact: Jennifer Erickson, GE Transportation    312.241.8903 jennifer.erickson@ge.com

GE Picture

CHICAGO - The GE Foundation today announced a $2.2 million grant to expand the City of Chicago’s innovative cardiovascular screening program, Keep Your Heart Healthy (KYHH). The Developing HealthTM grant will support a partnership among the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), Northwestern University and local community organizations to screen 50,000 residents for cardiovascular disease by the end of 2017.

The program will build on the success of a GE Foundation-funded pilot program that implemented a similar community outreach intervention model in 2012. This model brings together health professional students, community health workers and local health centers to provide Chicagoans with the education and resources they need to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease. Specifically, the partnership will provide free heart screenings and referrals to low-cost primary health care services.

“Empowering communities is the best way to solve community health problems in a sustainable way,” said Deb Elam, GE Foundation President. “It is not enough to simply send experts in. It is far more valuable – and effective – to empower our local community health workers with the skills they need to serve their community.”

The prevalence of cardiovascular disease is a major public health problem in Chicago. It is the leading cause of death in a city where 30 percent of the adult population has high blood pressure. Each year, one-in-four deaths in the city are related to the disease.

"This generous grant from the GE Foundation will allow the City of Chicago to further address two priority areas outlined in our Healthy Chicago agenda: increasing access to health care and improving cardiovascular health,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. "The City remains committed to boosting all areas of public health, building on the successes we’ve achieved by expanding our free school-based vision program and expanding our free mammography program. Through innovative, sustainable collaborations like this partnership with the GE Foundation, we are better able to promote the health and wellness of all Chicagoans."

“Thanks to this investment from the GE Foundation, we can enable more community organizations in more neighborhoods to help reduce cases of cardiovascular disease, which will in turn help our residents live longer, healthier lives,” said CDPH Commissioner Bechara Choucair, M.D.

In 2014, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine students will collaborate with Family Focus in North Lawndale and the Diabetes Empowerment Center in Humboldt Park to conduct weekly heart screenings. Students will also work with community health workers at large-scale screening events in South Chicago and Douglas. The program will expand by two neighborhoods each year of the grant so that by 2016 KYHH will serve eight communities in Chicago.

“We are proud to partner with CDPH in the development and execution of this important initiative” said Dr. Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, Senior Associate Dean and Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine. “Through the skilled hands and passion of our medical students, we will work with the community to help improve cardiovascular health among Chicagoans.”

The GE Foundation, the philanthropic organization of GE, is committed to building a world that works better. We empower people by helping them build the skills they need to succeed in a global economy. We equip communities with the technology and capacity to improve access to better health and education. We elevate ideas that are tackling the world’s toughest challenges to advance economic development and improve lives. The GE Foundation is powered by the generosity and talent of our employees, who have a strong commitment to their communities. We are at work making the world work better. Follow the GE Foundation at www.gefoundation.com and on Twitter at @GE Foundation.

GE Foundation created Developing Health in 2009 to help increase access to primary care for underserved populations, by fostering partnerships with independent, non-profit community health centers. Developing Health is a multi-year, $50 million program that underscores GE’s commitment to deliver better health to more people.

 News Release Facts

 I Want To