News | Population Health | August 06, 2015

ACC Hosts Health Leaders Retreat on Heart Disease Prevention

Two-day population health event will inform broad prevention agenda

ACC, Population Health Retreat, heart disease prevention

August 6, 2015 — The American College of Cardiology (ACC) convened leaders in all aspects of healthcare the week of July 27 for a two-day Population Health Retreat to discuss how to focus resources to prevent heart disease and related health conditions.

 “Our success in reducing deaths from heart disease over the past few decades with earlier disease recognition and management has prolonged life at the expense of increasing prevalence of heart disease,” said American College of Cardiology President Kim Allan Williams Sr., M.D., FACC. “It is time to change the paradigm and focus on prevention. We need to adopt healthier lifestyles, including improved nutrition and more physical activity. We have to become life coaches and good examples of healthy lifestyle in order to promote lifestyle improvement.” 

Population health is a key component of the ACC’s strategic plan as health systems move away from fee-for-service toward payment for outcomes and for improving and maintaining population health.

Speakers at the retreat addressed a wide range of topics, including how to define and measure population health, as well as primary prevention, public policy, school nutrition and exercise, childhood obesity and tobacco use. 

“We saw models of action that were successful at federal, state and local levels,” said Gerard R. Martin, M.D., FACC, chair of the ACC Population Health Committee, which hosted the session. “We heard about what the private sector is doing to promote health for employees. We saw examples of science turned into action, and we heard the views of potential partners in this effort.”

Speakers represented the Jefferson School of Population Health, the Institute for Health Metrics, the White House, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Department of Agriculture, CVS Health, the Pan AM Health Organization, Wal-Mart , Harvard Medical School, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Heart Association. Attendees from other health and cardiovascular organizations participated.

In a work session following the retreat, the ACC Population Health Policy and Promotion Committee committed to work with partners inside and outside the college to build a population health agenda for the ACC that encompasses a holistic view of health promotion. The agenda will include elements of primary and secondary prevention at local, state, national and international levels, and will be presented later this year to the board of trustees. 

Valentin Fuster, M.D., MACC, who received an award from the Population Health Committee for his leadership in changing the landscape and improving patient health through the lifespan, provided a keynote address. Fuster noted that needs for disease prevention and treatment are different at different stages of life, and the biggest potential impact in prevention can come from efforts aimed at children. Fuster said cardiovascular disease is primarily a behavioral issue; and habits related to diet, physical activity, and smoking are established early.

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