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Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011 11:22 a.m.

Health secretary announces $200 million heart disease initiative

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This post was written by Hatchet senior staff writer Matt Rist.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius answers an audience question Tuesday morning in Jack Morton Auditorium at the announcement of the Million Hearts campaign to combat heart disease. To her right, from left to right, is Dr. Donald Berwick, Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Reed Tuckson, Vice President and Chief of Medical Affairs for UnitedHealth Group and Jonathan Lever, Executive Vice President of Strategy & Innovation at the YMCA. Jordan Emont | Assistant Photo Editor

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius answers an audience question Tuesday morning in Jack Morton Auditorium at the announcement of the Million Hearts campaign to combat heart disease. To her right, from left to right, is Dr. Donald Berwick, Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; Reed Tuckson, Vice President and Chief of Medical Affairs for UnitedHealth Group and Jonathan Lever, Executive Vice President of Strategy & Innovation at the YMCA. Jordan Emont | Assistant Photo Editor

Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius announced a new initiative to combat heart attacks and strokes at the Jack Morton Auditorium Tuesday morning.

Sebelius outlined Million Hearts, a $200 million initiative aimed at preventing 1 million heart attacks and strokes in the next five years by encouraging life-saving choices like aspirin use, blood pressure control, cholesterol management and smoking cutbacks.

“Just about all of us have been touched by someone who has had a heart disease, a heart attack or a stroke,” Sebelius said, adding that many individuals who need medical care do not actually receive it. “Heart attacks take the lives of too many people in this country. This is particularly tragic because we know that many heart attacks can be prevented with simple low cost care that’s available to us today.”

The Department of Health and Human Services will work alongside private companies and organizations like the YMCA and Walgreens to promote programs as part of the Million Hearts initiative.

More than one hundred government officials, community members and students attended the event, followed by a question and answer session with the panel of speakers that also included President of Walgreens’ Pharmacy Health and Wellness Division Kermit Crawford, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Donald Berwick, American Heart Association Chief Executive Officer Nancy Brown and YMCA Executive Vice President for Strategy and Innovation Jonathan Lever.

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