CPH researchers conclude program evaluations of AHA’s Mission: Lifeline

Marcia Ward

Since 2012, an evaluation team from the RUPRI Center has been involved in qualitative program evaluation of the American Heart Association’s “Mission: Lifeline” programs through funding from The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.

Mission: Lifeline strives to develop statewide systems of care for heart attack patients, especially those experiencing the most deadly type, ST-elevation myocardial infarctions (STEMIs).  In March 2016, the team concluded its four-state series of program evaluations. It was contracted first to evaluate Mission: Lifeline in South Dakota, then in North Dakota, Wyoming, and rural Minnesota. Each team effort involved onsite visits to the states and scores of telephone calls and interviews with hospital and Emergency Medical Services representatives as well as other stakeholders throughout each state.

“Each Mission: Lifeline state program had its own characteristics, and we could see progressive changes in each subsequent state,” says Marcia Ward, CPH professor of health management and policy and principal investigator for the four projects. “It was rewarding to see positive outcomes, especially in rural communities that were generously provided equipment and education by The Helmsley Charitable Trust.  By virtue of Mission: Lifeline’s efforts to systemize heart health care statewide and collaboration at all levels of care, lives were being saved.”

Robinson appointed to National Forum Board of Directors

Jennifer Robinson. Photo by Tom LangdonJennifer Robinson, CPH professor of epidemiology, has been appointed to fill a vacancy on the National Forum for Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention’s Board of Directors. The National Forum is a multidisciplinary, non-profit health organization addressing cardiovascular health. Its members represent more than 80 national and international organizations from public and private health care organizations, as well as faith, advocacy, academic, and policy settings.

Robinson is a professor in the Departments of Epidemiology and Medicine (Division of Cardiology) and the director of the Prevention Intervention Center at the University of Iowa. She has performed numerous clinical trials sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the pharmaceutical industry and conducted extensive research on a wide range of anti-atherosclerotic and metabolic agents, including lipid-modifying, anti-inflammatory, antihypertensive, weight loss and diabetic treatments, as well as postmenopausal hormone therapy.

Dr. Robinson is the principal investigator for the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) at the University of Iowa and has published over 150 peer-reviewed articles in the area of lipids-modifying drugs, cardiovascular risk stratification, and cardiovascular prevention. She is also the chair for the National Forum Cholesterol Risk Awareness Initiative. Prior to her current work, she was vice-chair for the 2013 American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology Cholesterol Guidelines and a member of the 2013 American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology Risk Reduction Guidelines.

Diet Drinks May Increase Heart Disease Risk

Drinking two or more diet drinks a day may increase the risk of heart disease, including heart attack and stroke, in otherwise healthy postmenopausal women, according to a new UI study. In addition to lead investigator Ankur Vyas, a fellow in cardiovascular disease at UI Hospitals and Clinics, the study team included Linda Rubenstein, Jennifer Robinson, Linda Snetselaar, and Robert Wallace from the UI College of Public Health, along with other colleagues.

The study, which analyzed diet drink intake and cardiovascular health in almost 60,000 women participating in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study, found that compared to women who never or only rarely consume diet drinks, those who consume two or more a day are 30 percent more likely to have a cardiovascular event and 50 percent more likely to die from related disease. Vyas says the association between diet drinks and cardiovascular problems raises more questions than it answers, and should stimulate further research.