ACC Tackles Population Health as a Strategic Priority: Simon Dack Lecture to Focus on Topic

Population health is not easy to define. It is at a complex intersection between an increasingly diverse population, an evolving health care system, traditional public health and elaborate social policies.

As part of its Strategic Plan, the College has revved up efforts to engage partners and pursue global cardiovascular-related objectives, support members to improve the health of populations, and encourage cardiovascular team-facilitated patient education.

Over the last several years, the ACC has actively advised the United Nations on its efforts to combat non-communicable diseases (NCDs). ACC Chapters across the U.S. have also had success in advocating for laws aimed at improving the health of populations, including smoke-free laws. In addition, ACC’s CardioSmart initiative has also grown exponentially over the last several years, providing guideline-based patient education that can be used in clinical practice, at the point of care, in communities and/or at home to improve health outcomes.

Last July, the College hosted a group of ACC members and external stakeholders at its Heart House headquarters in Washington, DC, for a population health retreat designed to take these efforts to the next level and identify key population health strategies to guide the College into the future.

The retreat brought together a diverse array of experts from government agencies, universities, medical specialty societies and private sector partners to discuss primary prevention, health equity and social determinants of health, the changing health care landscape, and the role of primary care professionals in advancing cardiovascular health. The lineup of speakers included experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the White House and more.

David B. Nash, MD, MBA, the founding dean of the Jefferson College of Population Health, also spoke at the retreat. Nash, who will be giving today’s 2016 Simon Dack Lecture titled “Population Health: Is it the Secret Sauce?” has noted in the past that the U.S. spends under 2 percent of its health dollars on population heath. In addition, chronic diseases, which comprise 80 percent of total disease burden, have no dedicated federal funding stream.

Currently, the College’s Population Health Policy and Health Promotion Committee is hard at work building a population health agenda for the College that encompasses a holistic view of health promotion. Among the items on the agenda: decreasing tobacco use, improved management of hypertension and helping to reach the global goal of reducing premature mortality from NCDs by 25 percent by 2015.

“If we are to successfully contribute to alleviating the cardiovascular disease burden, we must work with our partners to address critical risk factors and design and support policies that generate the greatest health benefit by improving cardiovascular health outcomes,” says Gerard R. Martin, MD, FACC, chair of the committee. “We have only just begun to dip our toes in the population health waters, and there is tremendous enthusiasm by members and partners and numerous opportunities on the horizon for the College.”

Clinical Topics: Prevention, Hypertension

Keywords: ACC Publications, ACC Annual Scientific Session, Cardiovascular Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S.), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (U.S.), Chronic Disease, Health Policy, Health Promotion, Hypertension, Medicaid, Mortality, Premature, Point-of-Care Systems, Primary Health Care, Primary Prevention, Public Health, Public Policy, Risk Factors, Smoke, Social Determinants of Health, Tobacco Use, United States Food and Drug Administration

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