By working with ongoing national campaigns and “galvanizing America's physicians,” the American Medical Association will be seeking to reduce the deaths and healthcare costs associated with cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.
Dr. Jeremy Lazarus, president of the AMA, said the organization has earmarked $6 million for the first year of its multiyear Improving Health Outcomes initiative, which could continue for a decade or more.
“We're committed to this for the long haul,” Lazarus said in an interview. “These are two of the chronic conditions we think we can influence in a meaningful way.”
Lazarus noted that cardiovascular disease accounts for one third of all deaths in the U.S. and, if current trends continued, one third of all U.S. adults will have type 2 diabetes by 2050. He added that the direct and indirect cost of cardiovascular disease and diabetes is more than $535 billion a year.
Lazarus announced the initiative during the National Summit on Health Disparities being hosted in Washington by the National Quality Forum. He noted how rates of diabetes are higher in African American, Latino and Native American communities. Blacks also have higher rates of cardiovascular disease.
“Some of it has to do with genetics, some of it has to do with access to care,” Lazarus explained.
The initiative will begin by focusing on risk factors and will aim at lowering U.S adults' blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol to more optimal levels.