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Higgins Announces Over $306,000 for Community Health Centers in WNY to Address Racial Disparity in Heart Health

Jan 25, 2021
Press Release
Federal Funding Awarded to Community Health Center & Jericho Road to Help Monitor At-Risk Patients with Hypertension & Reduce COVID Risk Factors

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-26) announced $306,420 in federal funding provided by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), awarded to Community Health Center of Buffalo and Jericho Road Community Health Center to help reduce hypertension among high-risk populations. The grants will support an increased use of self-measured blood pressure technology (SMBP) to address racial health disparities associated with the condition, which increases the risk of serious health complications for those exposed to COVID-19.

Higgins said, “As we work to provide our communities with the resources required to combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it is equally crucial to identify and protect patients who are particularly vulnerable to the disease. This federal funding will not only help reduce the racial disparity in patients with hypertension, but also improve outcomes for patients with COVID-19.” 

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is found at higher rates in racial and ethnic minority populations, and is listed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as a condition that increases risk for COVID-19 patients. Health centers are awarded this federal funding to reduce this racial disparity by improving heart health through the use of self-measured blood pressure technology to more conveniently monitor and control a patient’s blood pressure.

Below is a summary of federal funding directed to healthcare clinics in Western New York:

HEALTH CENTER:

FEDERAL FUNDING:

Community Health Center of Buffalo/Niagara

$152,820

Jericho Road Community Health Center

$153,600

Jericho Road founder and CEO Dr. Myron Glick added, “Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said that ‘of all the forms of inequality, injustice in healthcare is the most shocking and inhumane.’   In 1966, when he said these words, he was frustrated and angry that Black Americans had much worse healthcare outcomes and less access to quality healthcare than white Americans.  Fifty-five years later, some progress has been made, but racial differences in health outcomes still exist, particularly in the area of hypertension.  The COVID-19 pandemic has further brought to light the ongoing racial health disparities that exist in this nation.  On behalf of Jericho Road Community Health Center, thank you Congressman Higgins for advocating for those who are most marginalized and thank you to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for awarding Jericho Road with this meaningful grant that will make a significant impact in reducing hypertension among the vulnerable population we serve.”  

“Hypertension is one of the most common co-morbidities found in COVID-19 positive people of color, especially African Americans,” said Dr. LaVonne Ansari, CEO of Community Health Center of Buffalo.  “This new federal Hypertension Initiative will expand blood pressure self-monitoring technology use with evidence-based interventions to improve both cardiovascular health and COVID-19 outcomes. Giving patients the ability to self-monitor blood pressure is a crucial part of our innovative hypertension program headed by Dr. Kenyani Davis. We continue to be appreciative of this federal funding and of the ongoing support we receive from the office of Congressman Brian Higgins.”

Higgins recently participated in a virtual hearing with members of the House Ways and Means Committee to discuss racial health disparities and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color. Additionally, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Higgins has voted for emergency relief packages that would provide significant federal funding to help federally qualified health clinics expand testing to underserved communities through traditional clinic sites as well as mobile and satellite sites.

On his first day in office, President Biden signed an executive order directing all federal agencies to examine existing policies toward the goal of promoting initiatives that advance equity for all.

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