Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program


The Rhode Island Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention (HDSP) Program, funded by the CDC, develops plans and works with partners to promote policy, environmental, and system changes to support cardiovascular health and education to increase awareness of the need for such changes. Priority areas include: prevention and increasing the control of high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol, increasing knowledge of signs and symptoms of heart attack and stroke, improving emergency response and the heart disease and stroke quality health care, and eliminating health disparities.

2012 Accomplishments and Milestones

  • The Rhode Island Stroke Prevention Act of 2009 recognizes the need for ┐rapid identification, diagnosis, and treatment of stroke victims┐ and the need to ┐improve the overall treatment of stroke patients in order to increase survival and decrease the disabilities associated with stroke.┐ Per this legislation, a primary stroke center designation process was developed. As a result, there are eight (8) designated Rhode Island Primary Stroke Centers in the state.
  • There are seventy-four (74) certified Cardiovascular Outpatient Educators (CVDOEs) in Rhode Island: 21 Registered Dietitians, 33 Registered Nurses, and 20 Registered Pharmacists. As an integral part of the patient-centered medical home system, CVDOEs assist patients to become active participants in controlling their heart disease, reducing complications and improving outcomes.
  • Ten (10) sites are funded (6 contracts) to participate in the Cardiovascular Rhode Island Chronic Care Collaborative (CVD/RICCC) to improve the quality of cardiovascular care services. Over 13,500 patients have been entered into the CVD/RICCC database. Participating sites must demonstrate improvement in the required CVD measures including: blood pressure measurement, blood pressure control, self-management goal setting, lipid control, and appropriate use of aspirin therapy.
  • Four (4) of the 39 Rhode Island communities have been designated as HeartSafe Communities. The goals of the Rhode Island HeartSafe Community initiative are to: Increase the number of community members CPR trained, increase First Repsonders equipped with AEDs (automated external defibrillator), ensure appropriate pre-arrival instructions, and optimize the prehospital care system.
  • The Rhode Island Cardiovascular Screening and Risk Reduction Pilot Program was established per 2011 legislation. The pilot is based on the CDC WISEWOMAN Program to provide chronic disease risk factor screenings, lifestyle intervention, and health care referral services during an enhanced breast exam visit. Through an RFP process, this implementation of this pilot is at one site that is an existing National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program and a CVD/RICCC site.


In 2007, the Rhode Island Department of Health received funds from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to support a state heart disease and stroke prevention program. The Department also received CDC optional funding to implement a demonstration public health project. This project aims to improve the management of high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol and the quality of care in healthcare settings by enhancing the existing Rhode Island Chronic Care Collaboration (RICCC) in nine community-based health centers.

In 2008, the program applied for and received additional 3 year funding for a Cardio-Vascular Option Program. The proposal was based on replicating the success in using the RI Chronic Care Collaborative to create system change in healthcare settings by integrating cardiovascular care into the RICCC.

What We Do

We are working to achieve national heart disease and stroke prevention program goals by launching and sustaining a statewide, coordinated effort to prevent and control heart disease and stroke. We are funded to:

  • Facilitate collaboration among public and private sector partners.
  • Define the burden of heart disease and stroke and assess existing population-based strategies for primary and secondary prevention of heart disease and stroke within the state.
  • Develop and update a comprehensive state plan for heart disease and stroke prevention, with emphasis on heart-healthy policy development, physical and social environmental change, and the elimination of disparities based on geography, gender, race or ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.
  • Identify culturally appropriate approaches to promote heart disease and stroke prevention among racial, ethnic, and other priority populations.
  • Use population-based public health strategies to increase public awareness of the urgency of heart disease and stroke, their signs and symptoms, and the need to call 911.

Key Focus Areas

Rhode Island Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program priorities include efforts to:

  1. Increase control of high blood pressure.
  2. Increase control of high blood cholesterol.
  3. Increase knowledge of signs and symptoms of heart attack and stroke.
  4. Improve emergency response.
  5. Improve the quality of heart disease and stroke care.
  6. Eliminate health disparities.

Million Hearts

In September 2011 the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the launch of Million Hearts. Million Hearts aims to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes over the five years of the campaign (2012-2017). Million Hearts is focused on two main goals:

  • Empowering Americans to make healthy choices such as preventing tobacco use and reducing sodium and trans fat consumption This can reduce the number of people who need medical treatment such as blood pressure or cholesterol medications to prevent heart attacks and strokes.
  • Improving care for people who need treatment by encouraging a targeted focus on the “ABCS” – appropriate use of Aspirin for people at risk, Blood pressure control, Cholesterol management, and Smoking cessation / Sodium reduction. more

Million Hearts Resources

Various programs and services are available throughout the state to help Rhode Islanders live heart-healthier lives.

Additionally, brochures and other printed material related to heart health and cardiovascular disease can be ordered free of charge.


The Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program realizes the importance of working with internal and external partners to further our goals. The Stroke Task Force and the Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Steering Committee allow us to leverage our efforts.