NYC Health + Hospitals Earns Hypertension Innovator Award from U.S. Health Department

June 5, 2024

NYC Health + Hospitals today announced it received the Hypertension Innovator Award for the third time from the US Department of Health & Human Services, one of 11 health systems in the nation to achieve this recognition.

The Award recognizes innovative approaches to preventing future health complications that affect women who develop hypertension during pregnancy. The health system was recognized for its success in expanding its Hypertension Treat to Target program, a primary care-based hypertension management program, to the obstetrics department at three of its hospitals, starting with NYC Health + Hospitals/South Brooklyn Health in 2018. Called Life After Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy, the program connects women who experienced hypertensive disorders of pregnancy to ongoing health management aimed at reducing their increased risk of heart attack and stroke in later life.

“Optimal blood pressure control was achieved in 92% of the women …”

Hypertension can persist after delivery, however, this too often goes unrecognized. Optimal blood pressure control was achieved in 92% of the women in the program. Attendance at postnatal primary care visits increased to nearly 50% compared with 15% at the outset of the project. The program has since expanded to NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue and North Central Bronx, with plans to expand to the health system’s remaining hospitals.

Hypertensive disorders of pregnancy are a leading cause of serious complications and even death during pregnancy. Often overlooked and misunderstood is the doubling of affected women’s lifetime risk of heart attack and stroke. Hypertension (high blood pressure) develops in 1 in every 7 pregnancies in the United States, and the rate is even higher among Black women, affecting 1 in 5. Improving patient care in this area has been recognized as a major goal for reducing mortality during and after pregnancy.

“In order to reach our goal of reducing Black maternal mortality by 10% by 2030, we have to tackle the drivers of that issue at every stage along a person’s health journey,” said Deputy Mayor Anne Williams-Isom. “We know the challenge is significant with 1/5 Black women across the United States experiencing high blood pressure during their pregnancy, which is a risk factor for cardiac issues in the months and years following. Thank you to NYC Health + Hospitals for their work with this program and for all their work to support expectant parents at every step.”

“I am proud of the robust programs we have at NYC Health + Hospitals to help patients manage their hypertension,” said Nichola Davis, MD, MS, Vice President and Chief Population Health Officer at NYC Health + Hospitals. “Ensuring that women have access to excellent treatment of their hypertension- before, during and after their pregnancy is critical to reducing hypertension related pregnancy complications. This support from the US Department of Health and Human Services will further allow us to expand this important program across our health system and improve the health of many more women.”


“Hypertension remains a main driver of maternal mortality and morbidity, especially for Black non-Hispanic peripartum people,” said Wendy Wilcox, MD, MPH, MBA, FACOG, Chief Women’s Health Officer at NYC Health + Hospitals. “We are proud of Dr. Lasser to have received this grant in NYC Health + Hospitals to address this issue of health equity in our patients.”

“… recognize the future health risks that can develop and affect the lives …”

“We have been honored to receive recognition and support from the US Department of Health and Human Services in order to improve the health of women who’ve experienced hypertension during their pregnancy,” said Daniel Lasser, MD, FACOG, Director of Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Ob-Gyn Ultrasound at NYC Health + Hospitals/South Brooklyn Health. “The public and the medical profession are only beginning to recognize the future health risks that can develop and affect the lives of these women. We are expanding our program so we can reach more patients in a positive way.”

Hypertension has no signs or symptoms. The only way to identify high blood pressure is to get tested. Individuals can lower their blood pressure by making healthy lifestyle choices and taking medications prescribed by their doctor.

NYC Health + Hospitals

NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest municipal health care system in the nation serving more than a million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city’s five boroughs. A robust network of outpatient, neighborhood-based primary and specialty care centers anchors care coordination with the system’s trauma centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, home care agency, and MetroPlus health plan—all supported by 11 essential hospitals. Its diverse workforce of more than 43,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible.

For more information, visit www.nychealthandhospitals.org

Photo credit: HWM.


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