$167,400 grant helps Flagstaff Medical Center bring diabetes and heart disease screenings to rural communities

Submitted photo<br>
Timothy J. Gardner, MD, trustee, AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation, presents Bert McKinnon, MD, Board of Directors Chair, Northern Arizona Healthcare, a check for $167,000 for the Northern Arizona Diabetes — Heart Connection program.

Submitted photo<br> Timothy J. Gardner, MD, trustee, AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation, presents Bert McKinnon, MD, Board of Directors Chair, Northern Arizona Healthcare, a check for $167,000 for the Northern Arizona Diabetes — Heart Connection program.

GRAND CANYON, ARIZ. - Thanks to a grant from the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation's Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM program, Native Americans in underserved northern Arizona communities will have more access to heart disease and diabetes prevention, screenings education and treatment. Flagstaff Medical Center (FMC) is one of only 24 organizations nationwide to receive funds through the Connections for Cardiovascular HealthSM program since its launch in 2010.

The $167,400 grant was awarded to FMC on behalf of the Diabetes Together collaboration to create and fund the Northern Arizona Diabetes - Heart Connection program. Diabetes Together is a Northern Arizona community health initiative between FMC, Native Americans for Community Action, North Country HealthCare, Sacred Peaks Health Center, Tuba City Regional Health Care, Native American Cardiology, Flagstaff YMCA, the Heart & Vascular Center of Northern Arizona and participating community members.

"Diabetes and heart disease are burdens patients can no longer bear, emotionally or economically," said Timothy J. Gardner, M.D., trustee, AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation. "We are awarding this grant to FMC and Diabetes Together so they can go out in the communities, meet the needs of underserved communities, and offer prevention before end-stage treatment is necessary. We selected FMC and Diabetes Together because of their dedication to helping at-risk populations prevent diabetes and heart disease."

The program is aimed at low-income Native Americans who are at risk of diabetes and heart disease. The goal of the program is to provide free heart disease and diabetes prevention, screenings and education to Native Americans who live in the Grand Canyon area and other rural areas and have limited access to healthcare.

"Our mission is to transform the health of the communities we serve, including our low-income, underserved communities," said Bert McKinnon, M.D., Chair of the Board of Directors for Northern Arizona Healthcare. "Close to one-third of our patients at FMC are Native American and live in rural areas. Many are struggling with diabetes and heart disease. This grant will allow us to do more to prevent diabetes and heart disease in these communities."

Heart Connection services include identifying persons at risk for pre-diabetes using the American Diabetes Association recommendations; assessing for heart disease risk through a heart-health screening; providing a visit with a certified diabetes educator and/or a registered dietitian; and developing a customized, culturally-competent plan to best address each person's individual needs.

"We can no longer wait for patients to come to us," said Interventional Cardiologist Eric Cohen, M.D., medical director of the Heart & Vascular Center of Northern Arizona. "We need earlier intervention to prevent diabetes and heart disease. Education is a key element, but we need to take healthcare into the communities we serve. This grant will allow us to offer outreach and prevention services in rural communities such as the Grand Canyon, Winslow, Holbrook and more."

Diabetes Education currently is available for all residents throughout northern Arizona -

Flagstaff Medical Center - (928) 773-2249

Native American's for Community Action (NACA) - (928) 526-2968

North Country HealthCare - (928) 213-6100

Tuba City Regional Health Center - (928) 283-1423

To learn more about Diabetes Together or the Northern Arizona Diabetes - Heart Connection program call (928) 773-2493.

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