CUNY and NYU School of Medicine Awarded $3.75 Million To Reduce Cardiovascular Disease Inequities

June 11, 2014 | Press Releases & Announcements

The New York University School of Medicine and City University of New York have been awarded a five-year, $3.75 million federal grant to establish an innovative public-private partnership—a new research center aimed at reducing heart disease inequities in New York City.

The NYU-CUNY Prevention Research Center, funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will integrate evidence-based interventions with community-clinical approaches to reduce cardiovascular disease disparities, with particular emphasis on ethnically diverse and immigrant communities.

The NYU-CUNY PRC will be spearheaded by a faculty investigator team that includes Chau Trinh-Shevrin, DrPH, and Nadia Islam, PhD, from the Department of Population Health at NYU School of Medicine, and Lorna Thorpe, PhD, from Hunter College and the CUNY School of Public Health. The team will work under the joint leadership of Marc Gourevitch, MD, chair of the Department of Population Health at NYU School of Medicine and Ayman El-Mohandes, MD, dean of the CUNY School of Public Health and dean of the Hunter College School of Urban Public Health.

“This public-private partnership s an important research investment that will yield new knowledge on how to most effectively save lives and reduce the tremendous burden of heart disease in disadvantaged communities,” said Dr. El-Mohandes.

Added Robert I. Grossman, MD, dean and CEO of NYU Langone: NYU’s record of success in addressing population health disparities through community health worker approaches and CUNY’s longstanding tradition of serving New York City’s diverse minority and low-income populations makes this an ideal partnership.Together, we will work to reduce chronic disease disparities, such as hypertension and diabetes in New York City.”

NYU-CUNY PRC’s first core research project, called Project IMPACT (Implementing Million Hearts for Provider and Community Transformation), will build upon the Million Hearts® national initiative, a program led by the CDC and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services with the goal of preventing one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.Project IMPACT will test the influence of integrating community health worker programs with physician-level intervention models using electronic health record-based tools to improve hypertension control among South Asians in New York City.

“Heart disease is the leading cause of health disparities in this country,” said Dr. Thorpe, “and there are proven, effective and inexpensive ways to reduce this burden.”

Working in close partnership with Healthfirst, a large health insurance organization, the IMPACT study will leverage and enhance existing Healthfirst blood pressure control initiatives and tools, its population based data and performance measures, and the partnership and collaborative relationship between Healthfirst and its providers. “Healthfirst is pleased to partner with NYU and CUNY on this important effort to use new approaches to control hypertension in an at-risk population,” said Pat Wang, CEO of Healthfirst.

“Hunter College is proud to co-host a Center that brings together different strands of evidence across various community settings creating solutions that will realistically improve heart disease disparities in immigrant communities across New York City and elsewhere,” added Jennifer J. Raab, president of Hunter College.  “Congratulations to Hunter College’s Lorna Thorpe and NYU School of Medicine’s Chau Trinh-Shevrin for designing and launching this initiative.”

In addition to Project IMPACT, the center will seek to develop and disseminate evidence-based tools targeting Million Hearts goals for provider practices, practice networks, health care systems, and insurers, as well as implement training programs that build the capacity and leadership of public health and clinical practitioners to conduct evidence-based research and interventions using community-clinical linkage strategies.

The NYU-CUNY Prevention Research Center is one of 27 such programs funded nationwide. For more information visit