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Pursuit of Discovery

Pursuit of Discovery
 
 
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Podcast Transcript



Introduction (Dr. Peden Talking)



Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The most common heart disease in the U.S. is coronary heart disease, which often appears as a heart attack. According to the American Heart Associations Statistical Update, in 2010, an estimated 785,000 Americans had a new coronary attack, and about 470,000 had a recurrent attack. About every 25 seconds, an American will have a coronary event, and about one every minute will die from one.

Researchers Dr. Doyle “Skip” Cummings, pharmacist and professor of family medicine and Dr. Stephanie Jilcott, assistant professor of public health, are alarmed at these statistics. They both have research backgrounds in learning more about heart disease.




Doctors Speaking…



For this latest project, Cummings and Jilcott are collaborating with researchers from UNC-Chapel Hill, health-care practitioners, and community leaders in Lenoir County to study this disease. Their research is funded by a five-year, $10 million grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Lenoir County is on the "buckle" of the "stroke belt," a name given to a region of the southeastern United States recognized by public-health authorities for its high incidence of stroke and other forms of cardiovascular disease. The county's hypertension and cardiovascular disease rates are among the highest in the country, and many residents lack access to adequate medical care or opportunities that promote good health. This grant is designed to examine new ways that health-care professionals can reduce difference in cardiovascular risks in underserved populations in North Carolina.



Doctors Speaking…



Cummings and Jilcott are a year into the five-year project. They have collected the initial data that will inform them what to do in the coming years. The doctors are pleased with the research results thus far and are excited about the project moving forward.



Doctors Speaking…



This project is a collaborative effort between ECU and UNC researchers. Both Cummings and Jilcott agree that collaboration is a key part to any successful research project.


Doctors Speaking…



An extension of the project, worksite wellness, was made possible by supplemental funding from The Heart Disease and Stroke Network. The doctors will be able to work on worksite wellness projects using a tool developed by North Carolina Prevention Partners.



Doctors Speaking…



Research like this is not only important for East Carolina University, but all of North Carolina with the end goal of suppressing heart disease across the United States as a whole. We all look forward to the further findings and actions Dr. Cummings and Dr. Jilcott will be exploring.