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CHW Health Disparities Initiative

About With Every Heartbeat is Life

In 2000, the NHLBI began to adapt and tailor the Hispanic/Latino manual (Your Heart, Your Life) to promote heart health and wellness among African Americans. After several years of research and materials development, the With Every Heartbeat Is Life (WEHL) manual was ready.

The NHLBI developed culturally appropriate WEHL materials based on several years of substantial formative research, which included consulting with partners and gaining input and buy-in from community health workers (CHWs), the NHLBI’s partners (including the Association of Black Cardiologists and the District of Columbia Housing Authority), and other leaders in African American health. Two workshops were held in 2002 and 2005 as part of the formative research.

  • The Baltimore City Cardiovascular Health Partnership Strategy Development Workshop was held in 2002 in Baltimore, MD, to discuss effective strategies to promote cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factor control and heart healthy behaviors in African Americans. Participants discussed topics such as public education and the media, public housing communities, training CHWs to promote CVD health, integrating public health students in community-wide CVD health promotion activities, and building and sustaining collaborative partnerships for CVD health education and outreach. Recommended next steps included exploring contextually appropriate and user-oriented tools and materials to address CVD health in public housing and to conduct assessments to get residents’ buy-in on material development.1
  • The Public Health in Public Housing: Improving Health, Changing Lives workshop, held in 2005, was a workshop on education strategy development that focused on public health in public housing. Its goals included hearing from public health and housing professionals regarding CVD public health strategies that are effective at reaching public housing residents. Four panels of experts discussed topics around public housing perspectives for resident-focused programs, public health and clinical connections to address health disparities, models to promote healthy lifestyles in public housing, and integrated chronic disease models. Key suggestions included raising awareness about CVD to help change policies, building coalitions among stakeholders as a best practice to address CVD, and having federal agencies (e.g., the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the NHLBI, and the Environmental Protection Agency) work together to address health issues affecting public housing residents.2

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Last Updated: June 2014