February 22, 2021

RossHHheartsCOLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State University and The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center are the first in the Midwest to be recognized as a Million Hearts Health System for their efforts to prevent heart attacks and strokes through the Million Hearts Hospitals & Health Systems Recognition Program. Only three other health institutions nationwide have received this award from Million Hearts, a national initiative co-led by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes within five years. 
“With heart disease being the No. 1 cause of death in the United States, Ohio State and the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center have long taken a multidisciplinary approach to heart disease by providing comprehensive cardiovascular care and education about heart disease and ways to reduce that risk. This designation illustrates that we are once again leading the way in addressing a critical health need through evidence-based strategies. We are enormously proud to join this elite national group to become the first in the Midwest to receive this honor,” said Dr. Hal Paz, executive vice president and chancellor for health affairs at The Ohio State University and CEO of the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center.
The Million Hearts Hospitals & Health Systems Recognition Program acknowledges institutions working to improve the cardiovascular health of the population and communities they serve through the priority areas of keeping people healthy, optimizing care, improving outcomes for priority populations and innovating for health.
Million Hearts cited several examples when recognizing Ohio State’s innovative achievements and multidisciplinary approach. One is the creation of a free, online education module for health care professionals and students. Implemented in every state, the Million Hearts Fellowship has reached more than 80,000 people, educating them about cardiovascular disease and how to reduce their risk as well as referring those with abnormal findings during screenings to health care providers. 
Another is The Ohio State University College of Nursing’s Ask-A-Buckeye-Nurse program, which provides health education and screenings such as blood pressure, blood sugar and body mass index. They do this in local barber shops through the Barbers and Beauticians Who Care program. 
Ohio State Wexner Medical Center provides a multidisciplinary lipids clinic with cardiologists, pharmacists and genetic counselors to develop treatment and lifestyle modification plans. Since 2014, The Ohio State University and Wexner Medical Center have been tobacco-free campuses and offer tobacco cessation services as well as free fitness classes for staff and faculty.
“We are grateful for this distinction because of what it represents: a passion for patient-centered care, a dedication to the craft of keeping people healthy and a trust that people can have in the clinicians and experts who work every day at Ohio State and the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center to advance the quality, safety and outcomes of the healthcare they provide,” said Bernadette Melnyk, vice president for health promotion, chief wellness officer and dean of the College of Nursing at Ohio State who holds a doctorate in clinical research, and Dr. Thomas Ryan, executive director of the Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital and director of the Ohio State Heart and Vascular Center at the Wexner Medical Center. “Our unique interprofessional partnership as both an academic health sciences hub and medical center within a world-class university allows us to bring the best healthcare minds and talent to bear to dream, discover and deliver a healthier world for all.”

Media Contact: Amy Colgan, Wexner Medical Center Media Relations