Educational Initiative Addresses Disparities In Cardiovascular Care

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Disparities In Cardiovascular Care

Boston Scientific debuted an educational initiative called "Close the Gap," which is aimed at addressing disparities in cardiovascular care for the underserved patient populations of women, black Americans and Latino Americans. The Company said it is collaborating on the Close the Gap initiative with a number of organizations, including WomenHeart, Black Coaches and Administrators, the Athlete's Heartbeat and the National Coalition of Pastors' Spouses. Several National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) member schools are also supporting Close the Gap efforts. The campaign is being led by a steering committee of leading physicians from across the country and will have a strong focus on community education.

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"Heart disease causes more deaths in Americans of both sexes and all racial and ethnic groups than any other disease," said Close the Gap steering committee member Charles Noble, M.D., a Columbus, Ohio-based electrophysiologist and incoming Vice President of the Association of Black Cardiologists. "Many different medical conditions or lifestyle habits can affect one's chance of developing heart disease. Close the Gap seeks to help Americans understand risk factors and know what actions can be taken to lower their risk of developing heart disease."

Close the Gap will work to increase awareness of cardiovascular risk factors through community programs involving faith-based organizations, collegiate and professional athletic teams, and patient advocacy groups.

A key focus of the campaign will be to raise awareness of sudden cardiac arrest as a leading cause of death among young athletes. Toward this end, Close the Gap has established a close relationship with the Black Coaches and Administrators organization, a national nonprofit whose members are mentors and leaders in their communities. Statistics reveal that in the United States, a young competitive athlete dies from sudden cardiac arrest every three or four days. The average age of those who die is 17.5 years, ninety percent of them are male, and more than half are black.

"As coaches, we are on the front lines of the battle against sudden cardiac arrest in young athletes," said Floyd Keith, Executive Director of Black Coaches and Administrators. "We have the power to help save lives, and we're proud to join with Boston Scientific to spread the word about this largely unrecognized crisis and work to make a difference."

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