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Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the most common cause of death in the U.S. Fortunately, the earlier people find out they have CVD, and with the many ways it can be treated, people can live healthier, longer lives. The UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute developed the Community Outreach and Cardiovascular Health (COACH) program to provide education about heart health, screening and treatment for CVD.
COACH has three components. The first is Check Your Heart, a community program that checks people for CVD. The next is FreeCare, a program to provide cardiovascular care to underserved patients who lack medical insurance. The last is the Childhood Health and Nutritional Goals and Education (CHANGE) program, dedicated to helping children be healthy.
Members of the COACH team provide free CVD screenings to adults in the community. Screenings include measures of height, weight, blood pressure, body mass index (BMI), cholesterol levels and blood sugar. Additionally, counseling is available from dietitians and cardiologists.
The FreeCare program runs a free cardiovascular clinic as part of the Birmingham Free Clinic (412-431-4280), located at 44 South 9th Street on Pittsburgh’s South Side. This clinic serves patients who have little to no health care coverage. The free cardiovascular clinic is sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh’s Program for Health Care for Underserved Populations. Cardiovascular services provided include heart-health tests, standard treatments and follow-up visits with doctors.
The CHANGE program was created to reach children. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. The goals of CHANGE are to help provide educational services to address the cardiovascular health and physical activity needs of local children. CHANGE emphasizes physical activity, healthy eating and overall wellness.
The CHANGE program works with schools, communities and health care providers to promote heart health. The Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh Charter School has partnered with the CHANGE program to help their students reduce BMI and childhood obesity as important risk factors influencing heart health.
For more information about the COACH program and the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute, visit UPMC.com/COACH or call toll-free at 1-855-UPMC-HVI (876-2484).