Sebelius releases report on success of community-based prevention program

7/16/2009

WASHINGTON Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius released on Wednesday a report documenting the success of the Nebraska Wisewoman program to help prevent heart disease and stroke among low-income women.

The program not only could serve as a model for a reformed American healthcare system but is also a nod to the role that retail-based clinics and nurse practitioners can play in the community as this program could be implemented in a convenient care setting.

"Wisewoman is a great example of a community-based prevention program that can help keep Americans healthy and out of the hospital," stated Sebelius. "In Nebraska alone, Wisewoman helped 19,000 women live healthier lives and significantly reduced their risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke."

Wisewoman is a community intervention program funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that helps prevent heart disease and stroke by providing screenings and counseling for low-income women. The program started in 2000 and there are now 21 similar programs across the country. As a whole, the program has reduced the risk of heart disease, stroke and other chronic diseases in more than 84,000 women.

In Nebraska, Wisewoman partners with health care providers across the state to provide low-income, under- or uninsured women with the information they need to help prevent heart attack and stroke. The program provides risk factor screenings to low-income women at clinics throughout Nebraska and refers women at-risk of heart attack or stroke to experts for additional counseling and care.

Nebraska Wisewoman has screened more than 19,000 underserved women since its inception and has significantly reduced the incidence of chronic disease and death. There has been a 5.4% reduction in 10-year estimated chronic heart disease risk and a 7.5% reduction in five-year estimated cardiovascular disease risk. Smoking incidence has also declined 7.1% since the start of the program.

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