Hood Million Hearts: A high-impact practice impacting local public heath

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Hood's Million Hearts Program is making a difference by keeping local at-risk participants informed regarding their heart health.

Hood's Million Hearts Program keeps local at-risk participants informed on heart health.

Program

  • Nursing (BSN)

Department

  • Nursing

Dr. Jen Cooper

When Assistant Professor of Nursing Jen Cooper, DNP started Hood Million Hearts, she took on the task of making a positive impact on local public health, while also providing her students an invaluable high-impact learning opportunity.

With Cooper’s help, Hood nursing students enhance communication, teaching and coaching skills related to blood pressure management and other risk factors, while educating at-risk patients from the local community.

Partnered with The Ohio State University College of Nursing, Hood Million Hearts is part of a nationwide Million Hearts initiative, which aims to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes over five years. Ohio State provides a Million Hearts Fellowship Module, which is training that can be incorporated into existing curriculum.

Since its summer 2018 inception, the program has successfully trained 25 Hood students and nearly 100 participants have completed the program. Hood Million Hearts was recently highlighted in the Journal of Nursing Education, a monthly publication that promotes innovations in nursing education nationwide.  

Hood Million Hearts has created a unique and valuable learning experience for Hood nursing students. Educational experiences like this need to be published, disseminated and replicated,” said Cooper.

L-R Michelle Revesz '20, Dr. Jen Cooper and Jordan Hahn '19 (2018)

Two of the programs first-ever Million Hearts Fellows, Jordan Hahn ’19 and Michelle Revesz ’20, say the real-world experience they gained was invaluable.

When Dr. Cooper announced she was going to be conducting a research project, I was immediately interested,” said Hahn. “The goal was to determine if nursing students could make a significant decrease in participants’ risk factors for heart attacks and strokes. Once we began collecting data, we were able to conclude that we could make an impact on lifestyle modifications and a statistically significant decrease in diastolic blood pressure.”

Hahn, now a register nurse, was able to fully realize his passion for nursing and is now working toward a Doctor of Nursing Practice at Widener University with the focus in family medicine: “Public health and disease prevention have been a passion of mine since the beginning of nursing school. This valuable knowledge of health promotion provides me the opportunity to assist people in lifestyle modification throughout my career.”

L-R Dr. Cooper, Hahn '19, OSU Million Hearts Coordinator Dr. Kate Gawlik and Revesz '20

Revesz expressed similar sentiments with working with Hood Million Hearts: “I jumped on [Hood Million Hearts] and considered it to be my opportunity to start educating our surrounding population on the importance of their health. While working directly in a healthcare setting, I was surprised that many people in our community did not understand what their blood pressure numbers meant or what the normal range was.”

As a Million Hearts Fellow, Revesz met with participants, collected data and worked directly with the nursing faculty to start the program. “I was able to educate my clients not only on their blood pressure, but overall health status. I learned how to tailor my teaching and communication for each individual participant, that way we would have the best results for their personal goals.”

Currently working as a registered nurse in the ICU at Meritus Medical Center in Hagerstown, Revesz takes the skills she learned while being a part of the program and applies them to her career. “As a healthcare professional, if we can influence and instill best practices in our patients, then we are actively working towards a healthier community.”

Even Hood staff members have had the chance to improve their health through the program. Lisa Copenhaver, director of student success, appreciated the opportunity to be a part of the program.

Hood Million Hearts is a win-win program for students, staff and faculty. I participated to provide the nursing students the opportunity to gain practical experience working with someone with type 2 diabetes,” Copenhaver said. “This support, education and accountability were so helpful in managing my health, and I appreciated [Hahn’s] genuine caring attitude.”

Mary Hoagland, assistant director of health and wellness at the YMCA, says the partnership with the Hood Million Hearts has been a positive experience for both students and participants who volunteer to take part.

“Many members have no idea they have high blood pressure or the possible long-term damage to their heart it can cause,” Hoagland said. “We are glad that the Y and our community have the opportunity to be a part of this healthy and possibly lifesaving program.”

Another partner of Hood Million Hearts, Frederick Heath has been able to provide an opportunity for patients to access education for cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention.

Ashley Basely, a registered nurse and care manager at Frederick Health Hospital, said: “Hood Million Hearts allows me to refer patients who would benefit from risk reduction and education to connect with the Hood nursing students and begin to develop an understanding of ways to reduce risk of long-term CVD.”

As two of the inaugural fellows of the program, Hahn and Revesz are excited to see the growth of the program and believe it could one day expand to meet the needs of thousands of Frederick county residents.

“In time, I believe Hood Million Hearts will provide the public with resources to make this goal within reach,” said Revesz. “I intend on following the program with hopes that it will accomplish the stated objective, preventing one million heart attacks and strokes by 2022!”