So let's return to our hypothetical patient, Meera. As a South Asian individual, Meera's increased risk of cardiovascular disease has long been understood, but it hasn't necessarily been addressed in an actionable way. That is, until recently.
Five years ago, providers at Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge noticed a troubling trend: young South Asian men and women, most in their late 20s and early 30s, were coming in to the emergency room with massive heart attacks. Hospital leadership knew about South Asians' inherently greater risk of heart disease, but they didn't know how to keep their South Asian patient population from ending up in the emergency room.
In response, Dr. Sitafalwalla helped spearhead the development of the Advocate Heart Institute’s South Asian Cardiovascular Center. Through transformative community outreach, clinical programs focused on prevention, and advanced data analytics, Advocate Health has been able to extend their reach in the South Asian community and affect outcomes at their roots.
Early results include a greater awareness in the community of the heart disease risk and even an average 22 percent reduction of sodium in the food of local participating South Asian restaurants, Dr. Sitafalwalla said. What’s more, he's confident this kind of immersive, wide-reaching cultural competence can be extended to other groups within the system's care population.