Reducing Racial Disparities Through Improved Hypertension Control

Developing and evaluating programming aimed at decreasing uncontrolled hypertension in Milwaukee

Full Project Name:Reducing Racial Disparities Through Improved Hypertension Control in African AmericansPrimary Community Organization:Westside Healthcare AssociationPrimary Academic Partner:Theodore Kotchen, MD, MedicineAward Amount:$188,955
Award Date
January2012
Project Duration:24 months

Project Description Narrative:


Hypertension is a key risk factor for stroke, heart disease and kidney disease — and is a leading health disparity in the African-American population. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that over 40% of African Americans age 20 years an older suffer from hypertension, with more than 61% of those individuals reporting having uncontrolled hypertension. In Wisconsin, the disparity is even greater. Based on a random survey of households in Milwaukee's central city conducted by the Westside Healthcare Association, it was noted that nearly 74% of black patients suffered from uncontrolled hypertension.

To improve the health and well-being of this population, project partners aim to develop, implement, and evaluate a portable, cost-effective hypertension control strategy in a primary care setting serving low-income African Americans.

Community partners:
American Heart Association, Center for Urban Population Health, Clinical & Translational Science Institute of Southeast Wisconsin, Lindsay Heights Neighborhood Health Alliance, Milwaukee Area Health Education Center, Progressive Community Health Centers, Wisconsin Primary Health Care Association

Outcomes & Lessons Learned:


• Developed programming to engage patients with uncontrolled hypertension at one urban community health clinic, establishing three cohorts of program participants and tracking data throughout the program

• Aided participants in identifying healthy lifestyle goals, engaging a project community health worker and social worker to identify barriers to lifestyle changes with participants and explore opportunities to reduce barriers, including providing bus tickets, securing food resources, and facilitating smoking cessation

• Documented lessons learned regarding the community health worker (CHW) model, sharing results with the Milwaukee Area Health Education Center to inform future CHW training

• Replicated the intervention strategy at a second clinic and one additional federally qualified health center, expanding the program with a diabetes support group that incorporates group support, individualized action planning and hands-on teaching methods

• Collected preliminary data that indicated that 80% of participants who attended the first session of a cohort completed the entire program, 41% met their blood pressure goal; 78% showed a trend toward better blood pressure control; 51% experienced a decrease in weight; 100% reported making positive diet and physical activity changes

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