he Hypertension Education Foundation Inc. (HEF) was incorporated in 1977 for the purpose of increasing both physician and the general public’s awareness of the problems involved in the treatment of high blood pressure and promoting research and teaching efforts in the field of hypertension. Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a disease that affects more than 50 million Americans and is the most common reason for adults to visit physicians. Prior to the availability of effective treatment, strokes, heart failure, heart attacks, and kidney failure were common in people with elevated blood pressure. In recent years these have been dramatically reduced, largely as a result of more effective treatment, as the availability of newer medications simplified therapy. Recent data indicate that strokes and stroke deaths decreased by 30% from 1995 to 2005; deaths from cardiovascular disease have also decreased by more than 25%. Strokes and stroke deaths as well as deaths from cardiovascular disease have decreased by more than 60% since the 1970s. Obviously, not all of this decrease is the result of better treatment of high blood pressure, but a major part of this can be attributed to this effort.
HEF has been active in informing the general public about the consequences of untreated high blood pressure, available treatment, data on lifestyle interventions, and why blood pressure should be lowered to below 140/90 mm Hg or as close to an ideal level of 120/80 mm Hg as possible. The HEF has also been active in promoting methods to improve physician management of this disease.
Despite national efforts and those of the HEF, National Statistics in 2003 and 2004 reported that only about 60 % of people with high blood pressure were receiving treatment and only about 40% were being adequately treated. A recent National Harris poll, sponsored by the HEF has, however, reported that more than 80% of people with elevated blood pressure are now under treatment and more than 50% are controlled at goal levels of below 140/90 mm Hg; an improvement but still not an ideal outcome. A new report in 2010 confirms these numbers. Cardiovascular disease can be reduced still further if more people have their blood pressure controlled. The HEF is dedicated to increasing these numbers.
The HEF has supported hypertension fellowships at the Yale University School of Medicine and has been involved in research projects dealing with the differences between black and white hypertensives. In 2004 the HEF established an Annual Visiting Professorship/Lectureship at the Yale University School of Medicine and in 2008 a similar program was established at the Downstate College of Medicine in Brooklyn. These lectureships advance efforts to treat hypertension and decrease heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure.
The HEF has generated and distributed pamphlets and booklets to the general public since 1977; these are updated periodically. Four of these booklets, “High Blood Pressure, Lower It and Live Longer”, “High Blood Pressure and Diabetes: Control Them and Live Longer,” “Know Your Numbers: A Guide to Managing High Blood Pressure,” and “Believe in Healthy Blood Pressure: A Guide for Blacks or African Americans,” have been distributed in quantity on request and from the Hypertensionfoundation.org web site. The HEF has designed and produced slide kits for physicians, and has provided assistance in the preparation of numerous scientific articles published in medical journals, such as the Journal of the American Medical Association, the Archives of Internal Medicine, the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the Journal of Clinical Hypertension, the New England Journal of Medicine, etc. In addition, the HEF has partially supported the publication of several books for physicians, including Clinical Management of Hypertension (now in its 8th edition) and The Management of Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Diabetes (in its 4th edition).
The HEF worked in cooperation with the National Heart, Lung & Blood Institute (NHLBI) and the American Society of Hypertension from 1997 to 2007 to organize, sponsor and participate in Symposia on the Management of Hypertension that have been held throughout the country. Six to eight symposia were held each year in different cities throughout the United States for physicians and other health care personnel. These symposia featured lectures by prominent experts in the field of hypertension. More than 50 symposia featuring more than 90 experts in hypertension have been presented in more than 20 different cities. The HEF has also organized Expert Panels to discuss various aspects of heart disease prevention. These discussions have been published in The Journal of Clinical Hypertension, the official journal of the American Society of Hypertension.
From time to time the HEF has made available publications and position papers as well as video presentations via the Internet by leading authorities on the treatment of hypertension. Telecasts of information from National Guidelines for the management of hypertension have also been made available on the HEF web site. Editorial and Roundtable Discussions that have been published in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension and in Medical Roundtable: Cardiovascular Edition are reprinted regularly on the HEF web site.
Advisories as to what the public can do to help their physicians treat elevated blood pressure levels more effectively have also been updated periodically. The HEF, in collaboration with the American College of Physicians (ACP), completed a 30-minute documentary on Hypertension, which was shown on CBS affiliates and widely distributed. In 2009 a new patient education booklet, “Know Your Numbers,” was prepared for widespread distribution to about 100,000 people. In 2010 Conrad Productions, in collaboration with the HEF, the ACP, and the ASH released a new documentary on Hypertension in Blacks, which was also broadcast and distributed.
The President of HEF is Marvin Moser, M.D., FACP, Clinical Professor of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Moser has chaired several national committees that established guidelines for the diagnosis and treatment of hypertension. He has received numerous awards from the International Society of Hypertension, the National Heart Lung & Blood Institute, the American Society of Hypertension, and several medical universities for his research and treatment efforts in hypertension. Dr. Moser is the author of more than 500 scientific publications and 11 books and has lectured extensively both in the U.S. and abroad. He was the Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Clinical Hypertension” from 1999 to 2009 and is now Editor-in-Chief of The Medical Roundtable – Cardiovascular Edition.
Board of Directors includes: Marvin Moser, M.D., President, Clinical Professor of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine; Thomas Sobol, former New York State Superintendent of Schools; Warren Sinsheimer, attorney and Chairman of The Partnership for Children's Rights; Donald Stone, former Vice Chairman of the N.Y. Stock Exchange; Kenneth D. Weiser, Treasurer, accountant and member of the Board of Trustees, Montefiore Hospital, NYC; Thomas Lewyn, an attorney and a Senior Partner of Simpson Thatcher in NYC; Franklin Zimmerman, M.D., a cardiologist in Briarcliff Manor, NY., and Clive Rosendorff, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, NYC.