(Camden, New Jersey) Cooper University Hospital has been awarded a five-year grant totaling $1,307,706 from the Salem Health and Wellness Foundation (SH&WF) to provide health screening and counseling for cardiovascular disease (CV), peripheral vascular disease (PVD) and osteoporosis for residents of Salem County. The grant is the second largest ever awarded by the Foundation.
Since 2005, the Cooper Heart Institute has partnered with the Salem Health and Wellness Foundation for the Salem County Cardiovascular Health Initiative (SCCHI). During the past three years, Sherri Jenkins, R.N., Community Health Educator, and her team screened more than 7,700 Salem County residents for cardiovascular problems. Salem County has the highest rate of heart disease and the highest mortality rate associated with heart disease in New Jersey. To combat these staggering statistics, Cooper instituted a program of screenings at over 250 various events and locations throughout the county. Health educational follow-up was provided and more than 33% of these patients sought medical help from area physicians based on the screening results.
“By helping individuals recognize their risk factors and the importance of monitoring illnesses, we are giving the residents of Salem County important tools to improve their health,” said Dr. Parrillo, Chief of the Department of Medicine at Cooper. “The goal is for patients to take the results and develop a plan of action with a physician to improve their condition.”
This new endeavor will not only continue with screening cardiovascular disease, but now include peripheral vascular disease and osteoporosis. Peripheral vascular disease refers to diseases of blood vessels outside the heart and brain. This is often seen in narrowing of vessels that carry blood to the legs, arms, stomach or kidneys. Screening for PVD will be conducted through non-invasive testing, which utilizes ultrasound to measure the ratio of blood pressure in the legs. This testing is used to determine the degree of blockages or narrowing that may have developed.
Osteoporosis is a disease characterized by low bone mass and structural deterioration of bone tissue. If not prevented, or left untreated, osteoporosis can progress painlessly until a bone breaks. Osteoporosis leads to bone fragility and an increased susceptibility to fractures of the hip, spine and wrist. Screening for osteoporosis will consist of a non-invasive, 2-minute scan of the forearm with a portable device known as a densitometer.
“The addition of these two new areas for health screening will be an added resource for Salem County residents,” stated Sr. Carol Adams, Board Chair.
Her statement was echoed by Dr. Parrillo, “We welcome the opportunity to expand screening and educational services for the residents of Salem County, and believe it will provide valuable health information for many people.”
Currently governed by a nine-member Board, SH&WF supports programs to improve the health and wellness of residents of Salem County by making grants to non-profit and other qualified organizations. The general areas of Foundation interest include improving access to health care, preventive care and wellness, and fostering career opportunities in health care.