June 01, 2015

Ohio State College of Nursing, Ohio Nurses Association partner to promote Million Hearts® Initiative

Two organizations dedicated to improving the health of Ohioans are teaming up to target crisis levels of cardiovascular disease in the state.

The Ohio State University College of Nursing and the Ohio Nurses Association (ONA) have partnered to expand participation in the Million Hearts® Initiative, a national effort launched in 2011 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. In Ohio, heart disease and stroke are the first- and fifth-leading causes of death, respectively, for both men and women, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

“Nurses are well equipped to assume a leadership role in reaching the goal of the Million Hearts initiative,” said Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, RN, CPNP/PMHNP, FAANP, FNAP, FAAN, associate vice president for health promotion, university chief wellness officer and dean of the College of Nursing at Ohio State. “As prevention and health-promotion specialists, nurses are powerfully positioned to aggressively prevent, assess and manage cardiovascular disease risk factors. We are delighted the Ohio Nurses Association is joining us on our quest to prevent heart attacks and strokes in our state and our nation.”

The College of Nursing offers a free online educational module that empowers healthcare professionals to provide cardiovascular community screenings, individualized patient education and referrals for abnormal screenings. As part of the partnership, ONA transformed the modules into free nursing continuing education for its members, for which they may earn up to 3.46 contact hours. The module was first created when the college launched the National Interprofessional Education and Practice Collaborative to Advance Million Hearts, which has resulted in more than 35,000 individuals being screened for and educated on cardiovascular disease throughout Ohio and the nation.

"The Ohio Nurses Association is thrilled to have formed this collaboration with The Ohio State University in an effort to reduce heart attack and stroke in the citizens of Ohio," Lori Chovanak, MN, RN, APRN-BC, CEO of ONA, said. "This collaborative model is the perfect conduit for our nurses to reach out to their communities and provide one-on-one attention to individuals and talk with them about their risk. If every ONA nurse reaches 10 members in their community, Ohio Nurses Association will provide 100,000 Ohioans with a free preventative screening and support for improving their overall health."

A free toolkit is available on ONA’s website to assist ONA, its members and other healthcare professionals in hosting Million Hearts events. It is designed to be a one-stop place for patient-education materials, assessor tools, event-planning tips and more.

After screenings, ONA and its members will provide anonymous data for the Million Hearts database so statewide impact can be tracked. Data to be tracked includes blood pressure, BMI, age and others.

Those interested in adding the free Million Hearts assessments to their community events may contact Molly Ackley at the Ohio Nurses Association at mackley@ohnurses.org. The free health assessments may also be conducted at workplaces as an employee benefit.

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