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Sharp’s program to improve the heart health of San Diegans

By The Health News Team | August 21, 2023
Basket of vegetables

When Sharp HealthCare executives saw the results of the 2022 San Diego Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA), they recognized the report provided a specific and vital call to action for Sharp and its employees. Carried out by the Hospital Association of San Diego & Imperial Counties, the CHNA identifies priority health needs for San Diego County and provides important insight into the community benefit programs Sharp develops and sustains to help address the needs of the community.

Among its findings, the 2022 assessment highlighted how common heart disease is in San Diego, especially in disadvantaged communities. In response, Cassandra Crowe, Sharp’s chief experience officer, and other Sharp leaders decided to partner with community organizations to impact the heart health of people throughout the county. 

Cardiovascular disease impacts so many underserved communities,” Crowe says. “We are committed to helping our community in a new way by thinking bigger than we ever have before.” 

According to Crowe, the new efforts will focus on creating or improving access to:

  • Healthy and nutritious food

  • Green spaces, such as parks and trails

  • Recreational activities

  • Preventive medical care and health screenings

A team effort

Sharp’s more than 19,000 team members from across the health system, which features four acute-care hospitals, three specialty hospitals, three affiliated medical groups and a health plan, are encouraged to participate in these efforts by volunteering and donating healthy food. Sharp has committed to improving heart health in San Diego’s underserved communities by providing 7,000 volunteer hours or “food units” — with one food unit equaling 5 pounds of food — in fiscal year 2023. 

“By focusing on a specific disease state and partnering strategically with other community organizations, we can expand our efforts to make wide-reaching and long-lasting changes throughout the San Diego community,” Crowe says. 

The programs will be offered alongside other efforts championed by Sharp Lends a Hand, the organization’s employee volunteer program. Each year, team members provide thousands of volunteer hours by participating in blood drives, food drives, donated food sorting and packaging, meal serving, outdoors space cleanups, and more.

“When we say we are committed to improving the health of those we serve with a commitment to excellence in all we do, we don’t just mean when people need medical treatment or services within the walls of our entities,” Crowe says. “We recognize it’s also vital to ensure San Diegans have access to the necessary resources that help maximize their health wherever they live in the community. This is what makes Sharp San Diego’s health care leader.”

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