The California Right Care Initiative at UC Berkeley School of Public Health has received the 2021 Heart Healthy Stroke Free Award from the National Forum for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. The award honors individuals and groups in the public health field who have done exceptional work in preventing heart disease and stroke.
UC Berkeley School of Public Health dean emeritus Stephen Shortell said in a statement that he was honored to receive the award, “recognizing the gains we’ve made with laser focus and persistent dedication to protecting families from these preventable devastating events that can often send families into poverty.”
The award is more than a decade in the making for Shortell. California Right Care Director Hattie Rees Hanley first reached out to Shortell in 2007 while “she was grappling with concern over managed care clinical performance data related to the prevention and management of heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes.”
That partnership, in the end, has been successful. “Together, we built a collaborative across the state of California to drive performance improvement in three critically important measures: control of cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar,” Shortell said.
A 2018 study from the American Journal of Managed Care and Health Affairs found that the Right Care Initiative led to a 22% reduction in acute myocardial infarction hospitalizations in California, a decline of 3,826 fewer heart attack hospitalizations than anticipated. Health Affairs researchers also estimated that if the initiative spread across the state, $935 million would have been saved between 2011 and 2016 and more than 42,000 acute myocardial infarction hospitalizations would have been prevented.