Heart Health in Fulton County: Time for Action

September 3, 2013

Originally published Feb. 6, 2012

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Fulton County for both men and women. Nearly 30 percent of all deaths in Fulton County were due to cardiovascular disease in 2008. In an effort to increase awareness of cardiovascular disease, the Fulton County Department of Health and Wellness organized the Healthy Heart Coalition (HHC) of Fulton County to develop an effective, multifaceted approach to promote heart health while creating opportunities for further collaborations. 

HHC kicked off its initiative on Nov 15, 2011 at the Roswell-Alpharetta Recreation Center. There were a total of 60 participants at the meeting from various sectors. Chad Neilson, an epidemiologist with the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), talked about the status of heart health in Fulton County and Mr. Michael J. Miller from the Brown & Miller PR firm shared with the participants the tactics he had to play to get the menu labeling law passed in the state of California. The featured guest speakers, Chad Neilsen, DPH; Michael J Miller, Brown Miller Communications, Inc.; and William Riner, Rural Metro EMS shared perspectives for improving poor health outcomes through education and social media marketing. 

“Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in Fulton County,” stated Dr. Matthew McKenna, Medical Director, Fulton County Health & Wellness. “And although we seem to be heading in the right direction in some way, we need to have further discussions to figure out what to do about the things that are headed in the wrong direction.” 

Within its short existence, HHC has already galvanized a community-wide diverse group of organizations and individuals that are working together to reduce the health and financial burden of heart disease through education, policy, system, environmental changes and healthy lifestyles. HHC coalition has more than 50 partners including the Atlanta Regional Commission, American Heart Association, Emory University, Morehouse School of Medicine, Georgia State University, Georgia Department of Public Health, Children’s Health Care of Atlanta, representative of the municipalities in Fulton County, representatives from the faith-based community and a host of other non-profit organizations and businesses representing all segments of Fulton County Communities.

February is American Heart Month and HHC is working hard to increase awareness and encourage early detection and treatment of cardiovascular disease among Fulton County citizens. Some of the events planned for this month are: 

1. Panel discussion on Fulton County Government TV
2. Webinar on “Resources for living well with diabetes on a budget”
3. Proclamation from the Fulton Board of Commissioners
4. Promoting the GA tobacco quit line number in the campaigns
5. Promoting “Take the risk test”
6. Fight for Fitness survey project in Fulton County schools

The co-chairs for the Healthy Heart Coalition are Susan Butler, Emory University & Cornelia King, Youth Leadership Academy in the Pittsburgh community. Deborah Cherry and Robert Wright, Jr. are the coordinators for the Healthy Heart Coalition.

For more information about the Healthy Heart Coalition of Fulton County, please contact Nazeera Dawood, Health Promotion Program Manager at 404-613-1685

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