Heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases kill over 800,000 Americans each year, accounting for one in every three deaths. It’s the nation’s number one killer among both men and women and the leading cause of health disparities across the population. To address this issue, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) established Million Hearts®, a five-year initiative co-led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
Launched in 2011, the national initiative—alongside 120 official partners and 20 federal agencies—successfully aligned national cardiovascular disease prevention efforts around a select set of evidence-based public health and clinical goals and strategies. As a result, significant progress was made toward the audacious aim to prevent a million cardiovascular (CV) events in five years.
However, many challenges confront our collective effort to help Americans live longer, healthier lives. An aging population and increasing rates of obesity and diabetes threaten to undo the progress of the past few decades. After decades of steady improvements, the rate of decline in both heart disease and stroke mortality have essentially flattened in the U.S. This change in trend illustrates how important it is to continue the Million Hearts® mission and accelerate efforts and implement policies aimed at CV disease prevention.
Over the next five years, Million Hearts® will re-double its efforts to engage and equip partners and stakeholders nationwide to reach or exceed aggressive goals that will improve CV health and care for all Americans. Based on extensive modeling, expert interviews, and literature review, and an aim to prevent a million CV events in five years, the priorities of Million Hearts® are:
Building on the experience, expertise, and partnerships of the first five years, Million Hearts® 2022 seeks strong and specific commitments to these priorities so that together, we can improve CV health for all.
Since launching in 2012, Million Hearts® has made progress toward reducing illness and death from heart attack and stroke. We’ve learned a lot from leaders and partners in health care and communities about how to effect change. At the halfway mark, we’re accelerating our efforts—join us and take action.
In 2012, the initiative’s first year, Million Hearts® built strong partnerships to ensure steady progress toward preventing 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. Check out a few examples of how partners worked to improve heart health—a focus on the ABCS, using health information technology, and working in teams.
Nurse Practitioner, February 2016
(Interview with Janet Wright, Executive Director of Million Hearts®)
Future Cardiology, May 2013
Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, October 2012
Circulation, July 2012
US Cardiology, February 2012
Stroke, February 2012
Journal of the American College of Cardiology, December 2011
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, September 2011
New England Journal of Medicine, September 2011
Circulation, September 2011