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CHCC pilot program seeks to help community members manage hypertension

(CHCC) — Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a significant concern in the CNMI.

According to a 2016 report by the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp., just over half of the adults in the CNMI have hypertension, and a significant portion aren’t even aware of it. With this in mind, the CHCC has created a hypertension self-management program in collaboration with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials or ASTHO. The program, called the ASTHO Hypertension Identification Control Program, aims to help individuals manage and control their hypertension through lifestyle changes.

The program worked with a group of 20 community members over the course of three months, with project interns working as peer coaches. The individuals were referred by physicians at the CHCC Family Care Clinic or FCC after meeting certain criteria:

1) Newly established primary care at the FCC.

2) Meet the hypertension pre-diagnosis guidelines.

3) Are not on any hypertension medication or management plan.

Once enrolled, participants received blood pressure cuffs, a three-month supply of hypertension medication, a dietary plan, a pair of running shoes, and coverage for an initial and follow up doctor’s visit. They also participated in weekly calls with peer coaches to discuss their progress and the challenges they faced in adhering to their plan.

The project has received positive feedback from participants, who expressed that the lifestyle change tools have motivated them to take active steps to combat their hypertension. In particular, participants reported that the new running shoes have motivated them to participate in regular physical activity such as walking, jogging, and Zumba.

As a pilot program, the goal of the ASTHO Hypertension Identification Control Program is to examine whether these strategies are shown to be effective in helping patients manage a new hypertension diagnosis, which will help the CHCC evaluate the potential effectiveness of another hypertension management program in the future.

The ASTHO Hypertension Identification Control Project is funded through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Million Hearts Initiative.

Program capacity has been reached, and no more applicants are being accepted as of now. If you may be interested in participating in a similar program in future, please let your provider know so that you can be considered when potential funding becomes available.

For more information about its programs, follow CHCC on Facebook and Twitter at @cnmichcc, check out its website at www.chcc.gov.mp or call 234-8950.