Cardiovascular disease and stroke are an epidemic in the United States, with an average of 1.5 million heart attacks and strokes happening every year. Million Hearts is a national program that combats this epidemic by focusing on improving heart health across the country. The program partners, along with state health departments, set out to decrease the incidence of heart disease and spread useful information about prevention.
The Maricopa County Department of Public Health (MCDPH) in Arizona and Million Hearts program are partnering with Vista Alegre, a Mercy Housing community in Glendale, Arizona. Vista Alegre is a 60-home, garden-style property for low-income seniors. Through this partnership, the MCDPH and Million Hearts hope to bring more awareness about heart disease and provide the residents with useful tools to improve heart health. One way this is accomplished is through an assigned Community Health Worker (CHW) who can identify health needs within the Mercy Housing community and connect them with resources at no cost to the resident.
Health is important to the residents of Vista Alegre, so much so, they’ve created their own Health Committee of property residents. Once a month, the Health Committee and the CHW meet to discuss current needs and plan future activities. Some of the activities include Matter of Balance classes, Salud Con Sabor Latino nutrition classes, Health Rhythms (drumming and meditation), and a Biometric Health Screening event scheduled every October.
Julie, a Resident Services Coordinator at Vista Alegre, believes the program has many positive aspects.
“The Maricopa County Department of Public Health has relationships with so many community resources and agencies and we get to take advantage of those. It opens the doors to so many more opportunities for the residents. They love the variety of opportunities and special experiences they’ve had because of this relationship.”
The partnership has been so successful at Vista Alegre, the MCDPH has agreed to add more Mercy Housing properties in the Phoenix area for future programs.