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HHS awards $112 million to help 5,000 primary care professionals advance heart health

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced awards of $112 million to regional cooperatives to work with about 5,000 primary care professionals in 12 states to improve the heart health of their nearly 8 million patients. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. EvidenceNOW: Advancing Heart Health in Primary Care, will help primary care practices in both urban and rural communities use the latest evidence to encourage Better Care, Smarter Spending, and Healthier People. Today’s awards are aligned with the Department’s Million Hearts national initiative to prevent heart attacks and stroke.

The EvidenceNOW initiative establishes seven regional cooperatives composed of multidisciplinary teams of experts that will each provide quality improvement services to up to 300 small primary care practices. These services include onsite coaching, consultation from experts in health care delivery improvement, sharing best practices, and electronic health record support.  This initiative will help small primary care practices incorporate the most recent evidence on how best to deliver the ABCS of cardiovascular prevention into their patients’ care –Aspirin use by high risk individuals, Blood pressure control, Cholesterol management, and Smoking cessation. 

“The goal of the EvidenceNOW initiative is to give primary care practices the support they need to help patients live healthier and longer,” said Secretary Burwell.  “By targeting smaller practices, we have a unique opportunity to reduce cardiovascular risk factors for hundreds of thousands of patients, and learn what kind of support results in better patient outcomes.”

In addition, an eighth awardee will receive a grant to conduct an independent external evaluation of the overall EvidenceNOW initiative. The evaluation team will study the impact of the EvidenceNOW interventions on practice improvement and the delivery of cardiovascular care. The evaluation team will also study which practice supports and quality improvement strategies are most effective in improving the implementation of new evidence. The seven implementation grants will run for three years, and the evaluation grant for four years.

Together, these grants represent one of the largest research investments to date by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Funding for this initiative comes from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund created by the Affordable Care Act.

For more information about AHRQ’s EvidenceNOW initiative, including details on each of the grantees and cooperatives, visit:

For more information about Million Hearts, visit