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Published 4/14/03
Owens Community College and The Toledo Hospital Form Partnership to Raise Cardiovascular Disease Awareness

Owens Community College's Health Technologies Division and The Toledo Hospital have been chosen by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health to enter into a unique partnership, which will focus on increasing the awareness of cardiovascular disease among area communities in Northwest Ohio. With this initiative, Owens becomes one of only two community colleges in the country to participate in the nationwide community-based educational project.

Sponsored by the NHLBI, the cardiovascular awareness program was established as part of the federal government's "Healthy People 2010" initiative to reduce the likelihood of heart disease and stroke during the first decade of the new century. Since 2001, the NHLBI has created 12 regional organizations, known as Cardiovascular Enhanced Dissemination and Utilization Centers (EDUCs), in communities with the highest heart disease and stroke death rates. States in which the program has targeted includes Ohio, Colorado, Maryland, Nebraska and North Carolina.

"The selection of Owens Community College, to participate in such a prestigious nationwide initiative, reflects the commitment of our Health Technologies Division toward service learning and meeting the demand for education about the prevention of cardiovascular disease throughout Northwest Ohio," said Dr. Paul Unger, Provost of Owens Community College.

According to Janell Lang, Owens Dean of the Health Technologies Division, approximately one third of all Americans will die of heart disease. "In spite of many improvements in the treatment of heart disease, including medicine, surgery, diet and exercise therapy, it remains the single leading cause of death for adults," she said.

Lang added, "One of the ways to reduce the likelihood of developing heart disease is by identifying the risk factors through cardiovascular education. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute endeavor will allow our Health Technologies Division students the opportunity to work with some of the best professionals from Northwest Ohio's health care community in a united effort to make a difference in the fight against heart disease."

The primary goal of the three-year project, titled Health Education Activities and Resources for Toledoans (HEART), will be to provide cardiovascular education and behavior change programs affecting approximately 30,000 individuals who reside in minority and low socioeconomic status neighborhoods throughout Toledo.

The objectives of the community-based organization will include addressing issues of cardiovascular disease risk factor prevention, detection and treatment, as well as identifying early recognition and treatment of acute coronary syndromes. Individuals residing within the Toledo area will have the opportunity to participate in several health-related activities, which will include blood pressure and cholesterol screening, culturally sensitive nutrition and smoking cessation programs.

As part of the HEART campaign, Owens' Health Technologies Division students will play a significant role in educating area communities about cardiovascular disease awareness. Students within the College's Physical Therapist Assistant, Nursing, Dietetic Technician, Dental Hygiene and Hospitality Management programs will work together on interdisciplinary teams trained to offer fitness assessment, exercise and walking programs to area residents.

Students also will offer cholesterol screenings, community health forums and blood pressure training sessions to members of the surrounding communities, serving as educators, trainers, screeners and data gatherers. The collaboration between the various Health Technologies Division programs will allow students the opportunity to obtain clinical experience while working amongst their peers in a community-based setting.

Among the other organizations participating in the HEART program are the American Heart Association, Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, the Ottawa Coalition, Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, Toledo Public Schools and WGTE Public Broadcasting.

Owens Community College is the fastest-growing higher educational institution in Northwest Ohio with 24 consecutive semesters of enrollment increases. On the Toledo-area and Findlay-area campuses, Owens serves more than 38,000 credit and non-credit students making it the number one choice for new college students. Owens is committed to providing small classes, personal attention and unmatched affordability. Owens Community College offers over 130 program areas in Agriculture, Business, Fine and Performing Arts, Health, Public Service, Skilled Trades, Industrial and Engineering Technologies. Owens students also can earn the first two years of a bachelor 's degree with a smooth transfer to any area four-year college or university.


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