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Grant helps Mercy’s Heart Smart project

Mercy Hospital Foundation received a grant from the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation to combat heart disease in one of Buffalo’s poorest neighborhoods.

The first-time grant, for $165,770, will fund the hospital’s Heart Smart for Life program, which focuses on improving the underlying causes of heart disease for high-risk patients served by the hospital’s Mercy Comprehensive Care Center (MCCC). The center serves more than 12,000 patients a year from its building on Louisiana Street in the Old First Ward.

Statistics continue to show a need for such efforts in Western New York. According to a recent Community Health Needs Assessment, heart disease is the leading cause of death in Erie County, where residents have a 33 percent higher incidence of cardiovascular-related deaths than the average Average American.

The Heart Smart for Life program is a collaborative, donor-funded initiative to ensure vulnerable populations – those who otherwise might fall through the cracks – have access to nutrition education, biometric health screenings, wellness programs, and other resources focused on preventing heart disease.

“Catholic Health’s mission to serve those in need is what sets the Mercy Comprehensive Care Center apart from other primary care practices,” said Kathy Swenson, executive director of the Mercy Hospital Foundation. “The center’s community health care approach, with doctors, nurses, social workers, pharmacists and dieticians, working hand in hand with religious leaders and other area partners, helps improve access to care and address the issues that contribute to health disparities in the surrounding neighborhood.”

The Mercy Hospital Foundation is one of only 10 nonprofit organizations across the country to receive such a grant.

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