Miller School Receives “Connections for Cardiovascular Health” Grant for HIV/AIDS Patients

The Miller School’s “Healthy Living for Better Days” initiative has received a $223,738 grant from the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation’s “Connections for Cardiovascular Health” program. Under the leadership of John E. Lewis, Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences, “Healthy Living for Better Days” is designed to combine an exercise program and healthy eating education into a community program for improving the overall and cardiovascular health of people of low socioeconomic status who are living with HIV/AIDS.

Florida ranks third in the United States in the number of HIV/AIDS cases, while Miami-Dade County ranks first in the number of HIV/AIDS cases in the state. “The ‘Healthy Living for Better Days’ program works to improve overall health among the most underserved HIV/AIDS patient population of Miami-Dade County,” said Lewis. “All of our participants will have an opportunity to train for local walkathons to achieve and promote the ‘Healthy Living’ program.”

The proposed program evolved from a study that investigated the effect of exercise training on immune functioning, metabolic variables and quality of life in people infected with HIV and of lower socioeconomic status. Given the positive findings and the needs of this population, the plan is to offer a 12-month community program of cardiovascular and resistance exercise training performed three times a week, and bi-weekly classes on healthy eating based on the “Dietary Guidelines for Americans.”

“Cardiovascular disease continues to be the nation’s No. 1 killer, which is why we must work to decrease the risks of this devastating disease,” said James W. Blasetto, M.D., M.P.H., Chairman of the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation. “The AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation is proud to provide funding to innovative, grassroots programs, like the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine’s ‘Healthy Living for Better Days’ program, which work to help prevent and control the effects of cardiovascular disease in their community.”

The “Connections for Cardiovascular Health” program awards grants of $150,000 and up to U.S.-based non-profit organizations that are doing innovative work in the field of cardiovascular health.

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