Nearly half of all adults nationally have high blood pressure. If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to heart attack, stroke, and heart failure, among other serious health conditions. Despite this, many people are unaware of their blood pressure numbers. In an effort to raise awareness of high blood pressure across Morris County, New Jersey, the American Heart Association partnered with Randolph YMCA and Zufall Health in June of 2023. An estimated 4.4% of Morris County residents have experienced a heart attack; this places them in the lowest quartile compared to the other New Jersey counties. With a rate of 54.2 heart attack deaths per 100,000 population, Morris County also falls in the lowest quartile when compared to the rest of the state (45.4 deaths per 100,000 statewide).1

The Randolph YMCA has over 6,000 members and serves 19 local municipalities in Morris County. They have a wide array of programs and services that promote healthy living and foster a sense of social responsibility. One of their newest programs offers blood pressure screenings to its members twice a month, as well as a blood pressure station. This program is implemented in partnership with the American Heart Association, Berkeley College, and Zufall Health. Students from the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at Berkeley College are providing the blood pressure readings. Zufall Health serves as the referral partner for this program – they previously implemented a self-monitored blood pressure (SMBP) program at their 8 medical clinics. Depending on the blood pressure reading and whether the person already receives hypertension care, the Berkeley College student provides a referral to Zufall Health for participation in the SMBP program. As part of participation in the SMBP program, the patient is given a blood pressure cuff for at-home use and measurement. Zufall Health also provides appropriate medical intervention for high blood pressure. The blood pressure station established at the Randolph YMCA includes a blood pressure cuff, instructions on proper blood pressure measurement, and handouts on managing high blood pressure. YMCA members are able to measure their blood pressure at their convenience and are provided with quick tips to ensure accurate readings (not after working out, consuming caffeine, etc.). Additionally, there is a blood pressure reference chart and information on the nearby Zufall Health clinics for hypertension intervention.

The American Heart Association provided all equipment and relevant educational materials to the Randolph YMCA for this program. This collaboration capitalizes on the community gathering space the YMCA offers and the long-standing clinical partnership with Zufall Health. Together with the Randolph YMCA, Berkeley College,

July 12th, 2023