Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer in the United States, but only 20 percent of your health is determined by genetics and clinical care; the remaining 80 percent is determined by where you live.
“ZIP Code can matter more than genetic code when it comes to your health,” says Dr. Jokho Farah, director of quality and population health at People’s Center Clinics and Services in Minneapolis and Twin Cities American Heart Association board president. Just in the Twin Cities life expectancy can differ by more than 13 years depending on where you live in the city.
Living conditions that play a role in our overall health include access to affordable and adequate housing, access to nearby stores and restaurants that sell healthy foods, access to transportation, access to safe outdoor spaces like parks and sidewalks, access to quality education, access to nearby clinics and pharmacies, clean in-door air, social connections, support from within the community and more. These are often referred to as social determinants of health.
“We’ve come to realize at the American Heart Association that context matters, where you live and the conditions in which you live matter,” says Dr. Edwardo Sanchez, chief medical officer for prevention with the American Heart Association. “Understanding that good doctors in great hospitals is absolutely necessary but it’s not sufficient and then having the commitment as an organization to engage in that really more complicated space of figuring out what things we need to all be involved in to improve the heart-health of all Americans.”
So the American Heart Association has shifted its focus in the last couple years and partnered with area organizations and community groups to address these underlying determinants of health.
The AHA will celebrate the strides that have been made locally to improve health and explore where more work is needed while honoring local survivors and community groups that are leading the way in helping us build a healthier community at the 24th annual “Twin Cities Heart & Stroke Gala” on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018 at the Minneapolis Hilton. To register visit heart.org/tcheartandstrokegala.
Michelle Davenport, a stroke survivor and nurse educator from Hennepin Health, will share her story at the gala.
Appetite for Change from North Minneapolis will be honored with the “Heart & Stroke Hero: Community Impact Award.”