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Event Helps to “Close the Gap” on Health Disparities in our Community

University Hospitals Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute has partnered with Boston Scientific to educate people about vascular disease and eliminate disparities in cardiovascular care. This health equity initiative, called “Close the Gap," has brought together a taskforce whose mission is to help ensure that all patients receive optimal cardiac care regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity or primary language.

The initiative's first event, which took place on August 4 at Bump Taylor Field near the Glenville Recreation Center in Cleveland, Ohio, was a great success. The National African American Male Wellness Walk had individuals from both UH and Boston Scientific on-site to support it, including members from the UH team: Mehdi Shishehbor, DO, PhD, MPH, Co-Director, Vascular Center; Becky Kahl, Administrator, Vascular Center; Mike Trivonovich, Manager for the Non-Invasive Vascular Lab; along with three vascular specialists: James Glowacki, Pavel Lapin and Hernan Pacheco. From the Boston Scientific team, Pamela Corcoran, Brian Franco and Patrick Daly participated.

More than 70 people were screened that day for peripheral artery disease (PAD) and received education on health disparities. We relayed our goal of “closing the gap" to ensure that all patients get access to the best treatment available for their condition regardless of age, gender, race, ethnicity or primary language.

The team also educated the community on ways to manage risk factors to lead healthier and more productive lifestyles. Additionally, Dr. Shishehbor, an internationally known interventional cardiologist specializing in limb salvage, was on-site to provide direct feedback to the participants when their screening results were outside normal ranges. “Currently, African Americans are 3-4 times more likely to undergo major amputation compared to white counterparts," said Dr. Shishehbor. “Our goal at University Hospitals Vascular Center is to address these disparities in our communities."

Our next “Close the Gap" event is scheduled for October 1 at 6 p.m. and will be a partnership with the 100 Black Men of America scheduled to take place at Cuyahoga County Community College. For more information, please contact Becky Kahl.