The initiative is a public-private effort led by HHS with a goal of using clinical and community-based public health programs to prevent a million heart attacks and strokes nationwide by 2017. Baltimore, Tulsa and Philadelphia are also launching campaigns, said Dr. Janet Wright, executive director of the Million Hearts campaign at HHS.
In Chicago, heart disease is the leading cause of death while strokes rank third, Choucair said. Two-thirds of Chicagoans are overweight, 37% have high cholesterol and 19% smoke tobacco.
“We need to spend a lot of energy engaging our residents,” Choucair said. “We're going to be using different ways to spread the word about this challenge,” including promotion via social media as well ads on buses and trains.
“We as a region are on a journey to becoming proactive,” said Yphantides, a self-described “board-certified hypocrite” who said he once weighed more than 500 pounds but has since shed 275 pounds and now wants to become “board certified in epiphany generation.”
Yphantides said he plans to work the mobile heart program into the LiveWell, San Diego! initiative, a 10-year plan, begun in 2010, to promote population health.
The Million Hearts Risk Check Challenge was announced last month by ONC chief Dr. Farzad Mostashari, who also attended the news conference Monday for the challenge's official kickoff.
The goal is to encourage software developers to produce smartphone and mobile tablet apps that can direct patients to the nearest locations to get their blood pressure and cholesterol levels checked, assess their risk of having a heart attack based on those results, and then develop a personalized, preventive heart-health plan. The top prize is $100,000.
“We're asking you to turn your thinking caps to this really important issue and really make a difference,” Mostashari said.