South Asian Heart Health Awareness and Research Act Passes House

The South Asian Heart Health Awareness and Research Act of 2020 (H.R. 3131), one of ACC's top legislative priorities over the past several years, passed the House of Representatives on Sept. 29.

Introduced by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) and Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), the South Asian Heart Health Awareness and Research Act would create Centers for Disease Control and Prevention grants to states for awareness initiatives, educational materials and research catalogs targeted at the South Asian community. The bill would also authorize the National Institutes of Health to conduct or support heart health research among the South Asian population.

South Asians living in the U.S. experience a higher mortality rate from heart disease than the general population and have a higher risk of heart disease than other Asian groups, especially East Asians from China, Japan and Korea. However, this disparity has been largely obscured until recently by data classifying Asian Americans as one monolithic group. The bill would help to further targeted research and provide vital education to this specific, high-risk patient population.

"This is a big win for the South Asian community thanks to the bipartisan efforts led by Rep. Jayapal and Rep. Wilson," said Sandeep Krishnan, MD, FACC, who has been part of the ACC Advocacy team working with Rep. Jayapal and others to advance this bill over the last several years. "Cardiovascular disease has been a longstanding racial disparity that has burdened the South Asian community worldwide for decades and has stolen family members from some of my closest friends. But thanks to the efforts of our patients, the ACC and AHA, and our Congressional leadership, we are one step closer to understanding and better treating South Asian patients. We must continue to advocate tirelessly for our patients so we can transform cardiovascular care for all patients worldwide."

Read more about the hidden threat of cardiovascular disease in the South Asian community authored by Krishnan in Cardiology magazine. Also don't miss his tips to help South Asian patients, including screening all young patients of South Asian origin for diabetes, encouraging regular exercise, and being aware of diabetes and insulin resistance as part of treatment.

Keywords: ACC Advocacy, National Institutes of Health (U.S.), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.

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