Promoting Native American Health in Northern Nevada

In northern Nevada’s Native American community, where hypertension and diabetes rates are disproportionately high, the American Heart Association’s Check.Change.Control.® initiative has emerged as a lifeline. The evidence-based hypertension management program enables participants to take ownership of their cardiovascular health through blood pressure self-monitoring. Over the past year, the AHA's Northern Nevada Division has teamed with health care leader Renown to scale the program and raise awareness about hypertension risk factors, prevention and management.

Renown Blood Pressure in Northern NevadaThe AHA’s Northern Nevada team worked with local health and corporate champions, such as the Reno Sparks Tribal Health Center, to perform blood pressure screenings at churches, community centers, corporate sites and local events. They also conducted classes in nutrition, physical activity and stress reduction. More than 1,000 people have enrolled to date and learned how to self-monitor their blood pressure and make heart-healthy lifestyle changes.

Renown was drawn to the program because it offered a continuum of care for people at risk for hypertension, including prevention and disease management.

“We are there for our community, not just when people are sick, but when they are healthy as well. Our goal is to meet people where they are on their journey to health and help them prevent diseases such as diabetes, stroke and heart disease,” said Wendy Damonte, Renown’s vice president of Advocacy and Community Partnerships.

Renown blood pressure screeningThe Reno Sparks Tribal Health Center’s foray into the program was driven by the desire to build on its existing diabetes prevention program to help people understand the connection between diabetes and heart disease. In addition to conducting blood pressure screenings in the community, the AHA, Renown and the Reno Sparks Tribal Health Center implemented Check.Change.Control. over fourth months onsite. Participants ranging from 30 to 65 years old met monthly with center staffers Gina Featherstone and Stacy Briscoe, who provided educational materials and followed up to ensure they were monitoring their blood pressure. Nineteen people graduated from the program, which Briscoe credits to an empathetic approach and established relationships between instructors and participants.

Inspired by that success, the AHA and the Reno Sparks Tribal Health Center are co-developing stroke curriculum to educate residents about the relationship between diabetes and heart and brain health.

Thanks to Renown’s support of Check.Change.Control., northern Nevada’s Native American community is engaged, informed and empowered to live longer, healthier lives.