Maseri-Florio Keynote: Policy, Prevention and Partnership Key to Tackling CV Disease Globally

Medical science has made great progress in treating cardiovascular disease, but an even more effective approach would be to take steps to stop the development of disease.

Today's Maseri-Florio Keynote will explore how the ACC and its members can be leaders in this proactive approach by helping to develop public policy starting at the local level and expanding it to include a global view.

"Disease prevention involves not only leadership in the health care system, but it has to do with policy, working at the community level and working with government. The College and its members are in a good position to do that," says C. Noel Bairey Merz, MD, FACC, who will give today's keynote titled "Global Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease: After Clean Water, What Works?"

According to Bairey Merz, a professor of medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA, the ACC has emerged as a leader in the health care community through its development of treatment guidelines and continuing medical education programs, as well as its partnerships with other organizations to educate the public about the benefits reducing cardiovascular risk factors like smoking, high cholesterol, hypertension and unhealthy diet choices.

She also notes the importance of the College's efforts in the U.S. and globally to work with governments and policymakers to improve cardiovascular health.

"Public policy can change disease patterns and the College has always been an active participant in public policy issues," she says. Beyond the College's role in changing the cardiovascular disease paradigm, Bairey Merz says individual physicians must also play a key role in prevention, whether it's treating the patients that walk through their doors each day, or educating the public about social determinants of disease, such as smoking, nutrition and exercise.

"How do we embrace the role as cardiovascular specialists and be advocates for public health policy?" Bairey Merz answers her own question by pointing out that increased cooperation in the global community will be a key in disease prevention. One example is food labeling, where the regulation of salt in foods has not succeeded in the U.S.

"We can learn from other countries," she explains. "Some of the Scandinavian countries regulate the amount of salt that can be added to all food products and it has lowered hypertension in those countries. We failed to do that. Given the incredible abilities we have to communicate and the increased partnering, there is no reason we shouldn't do a better job of sharing information and sharing strategies that work or don't work."

Other global approaches she will examine in today's keynote build on recommendations from an Institute of Medicine study, "Promoting Cardiovascular Health in the Developing World: A Critical Challenge to Achieve Global Health."

The recommendations include: recognizing chronic diseases as a development assistance priority; improving local data; improving national coordination for chronic diseases; disseminating knowledge and innovation among similar countries; collaborating to improve diets, cardiovascular disease diagnostics, medicines and technologies; advocating for chronic diseases as a funding priority; and defining resource needs.

"Cardiovascular disease is the leading health care threat worldwide," Bairey Merz says. "Despite differing ethnicities, despite differing colors of our skin, we are all the same. Common risk factors cause disease everywhere."

Keywords: ACC Publications, ACC Scientific Session Newspaper, ACC Annual Scientific Session, ACC19

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