The Frank E. Staggers, Sr., MD, Hypertension Project aspires to the goals and values of the project’s namesake, the late Frank Staggers, Sr., MD. Doctor Staggers inspired individuals, organizations and communities to do something more than they would have ordinarily done to promote health and well-being.
In that spirit, this project aspires to address a significant health malady – hypertension – and calls on the collaborative spirit in Alameda County to develop a comprehensive, integrated and community-wide model to prevent and treat hypertension. It is envisioned that the project’s scope will range from addressing the upstream causes of hypertension (poverty and health disparities, environmental issues, lifestyle, lack of health coverage, etc.), to creating community-based prevention and detection programs that link patients with sources of care, and then to enhancing the health care system’s ability to more effectively prevent, treat and control hypertension. Moreover, it is intended that this project be a replicable model for other communities.
Self-reported rates of hypertension in Alameda County (28%) are similar to the U.S. hypertension rate (29%). However, disparities in the prevalence of hypertension between African American and other race/ethnicities may be more extreme in Alameda County than in the U.S. with a prevalence rate of 48% in African Americans compared to 23% in Asians, 24% Latinos, and 28% Whites. African Americans have two to three times the stroke hospitalization rate compared with any other racial/ethnic group and twice the rate of heart failure-related hospitalizations over any other racial/ethnic group in Alameda County. Targeting hypertension prevents serious illnesses and mortality. For example, about 2000 African Americans die in Alameda County each year – prevention of 30% of these deaths means 600 saved lives per year. This project is also focused on Alameda County because of the spirit of collaboration that exists in this community, which has led to many forward-thinking health care initiatives that have improved community health. It is a great starting place for creating a template that could be replicated in other communities after it is fully developed. In his spirit, the Frank E. Staggers, Sr., MD, Hypertension Project has already received enthusiastic support from health care organizations, public health agencies, community organizations, and public policy advocates (see list below).
To manage the hypertension in an entire county requires the collaboration of the health care delivery system, the public health community, and community organizations. Additional, prevention requires a life course approach that starts with optimizing the health environment during the prenatal period in women. The vision statement for this project developed by the Steering Committee reflects these considerations:
To develop a model to optimize community-based and culturally appropriate prevention (including environmental factors), identification, treatment and control of hypertension in Alameda County that leverages the expertise and support of the local health care delivery system, public health agencies, and the community at-large, with special emphasis on helping high risk and low income patients who may not currently have a regular source of medical care.
The model for the project is expressed visually below:
The partners in this endeavor need to work collaboratively to perform outreach resulting in increased blood pressure screening, preventive efforts that enable and encourage healthy lifestyle choices to lower blood pressure, and appropriate medical treatment when needed to achieve control of hypertension. Community organizations such as faith-based organizations can play an instrumental role in screening efforts. A high priority of this effort will be to engage high risk populations that traditionally have had inadequate access to medical care including the uninsured and those of lower socioeconomic status. Additionally, there are evidence-based programs in the community that help with blood pressure management, for example the American Heart Association’s Check. Change. Control. Evidence based Community Blood Pressure Program. This is based on the practice of self-monitoring and tracking of blood pressure readings at home or outside of the healthcare provider office setting, along with social support and accountability delivered by a volunteer health mentor. This program has been implemented in churches, community organizations, companies and WITH other partners. Another example is the City of Berkeley program Heart 2 Heart, which uses a mobile van to go to different sites in the community, including barber shops and local food programs, to measure blood pressure and talk with people about high blood pressure. Evidence-based protocols for enhancing hypertension detection and control in the health care setting will also be promoted as part of the project, and it will also build on initiatives that the local medical community has already initiated.
Affinity Medical Group
Alameda Health Consortium
Alameda Health System
Alameda-Contra Costa Medical Association
Alameda County Health Care Services Agency
Alameda County Pharmacists Association
Alameda County Psychological Association
Alta Bates-Summit Ethnic Health Institute
American Heart Association – Western States Region
American Nurses Association, California Chapter
Brown and Toland Medical Group
California Department of Public Health
Chinese American Physicians Society (CAPS)
City of Berkeley Division of Public Health
Community Health Center Network
Hill Physicians Medical Group
Hospital Council of Northern and Central California, East Bay Section
Samuel Merritt University
Sinkler-Miller Medical Association
UC Berkeley School of Public Health