New Initiative Aims to Reverse the Alarming Rise in Cardiovascular Deaths

Cardiovascular Disease is the Number One Cause of Death Nationwide


WASHINGTON, D.C.— January 25, 2023 — The number of cardiovascular deaths is on the rise again after a decades-long decline. As organizations working to advance cardiovascular health and the interests of medically underserved communities, the Foundation of the National Lipid Association and the National Medical Association are launching the Take Health to Heart initiative to reverse this alarming trend.

Cardiovascular disease kills more people each year than all forms of cancer and accidents combined – making it the nation’s leading cause of death. Despite our knowledge of risk factors and advances in treatment, over 800,000 Americans still die from cardiovascular disease each year. The rate of premature deaths has also increased over the last decade, with cardiovascular disease now accounting for one in five deaths among Americans aged 25 to 64 years.

“Too many Americans are dying prematurely from cardiovascular disease, despite significant progress in our understanding of risk factors over the last several decades and the growing availability of new therapies and approaches to treat the disease,” said Dr. Ann M. Liebeskind, Vice President of the Foundation of the National Lipid Association. “We simply are not doing enough to prevent cardiovascular deaths.”

Of particular concern is undertreatment among racial and ethnic minorities, women, and rural Americans that is contributing to disparities in outcomes among these traditionally underserved populations, which often face disproportionately higher rates of risk factors, hospitalizations, and poor outcomes like heart attack, stroke, and death.

“Today, those most vulnerable among us continue to face significant barriers accessing the care and treatment they need to address their cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Millard D. Collins, Family Medicine Section Chair of the National Medical Association. “We must take action now to ensure every American has an opportunity for a healthier tomorrow.”

The Take Health to Heart initiative seeks to drive public policy change to enable better access to optimal care and treatment, advance a more equitable health care system, and, ultimately, stop the rise in cardiovascular deaths. ​

The Take Health to Heart initiative is driven by four key policy priorities:

  • Ensuring broad, appropriate, and timely access to care and treatment for patients with cardiovascular disease through reforms to prior authorization policies.
  • Enabling healthcare stakeholders to collaborate to address public health challenges through value-based arrangements that improve patient access to innovative therapies.
  • Improving the quality of care for patients with cardiovascular disease through updated quality measures that encourage patients to control modifiable risk factors like LDL cholesterol.
  • Addressing the socioeconomic barriers that contribute to significant disparities in cardiovascular outcomes through increased funding and use of programs that improve access to screenings and services for underserved populations.

You can learn more by visiting, and join the dialogue on Twitter and LinkedIn.

About Take Health to Heart

Take Health to Heart is an education and advocacy initiative of the Foundation of the National Lipid Association and the National Medical Association. Take Health to Heart is made possible through a sponsorship from Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation.

About the National Medical Association

The National Medical Association is the largest and oldest national organization representing African American physicians and their patients in the United States, serving as the collective voice of more than 50,000 physicians nationwide.

About the Foundation of the National Lipid Association

The Foundation of the National Lipid Association is a non-profit organization focused on providing education and resources to help patients and their families manage and overcome lipid-related health problems that may put them at risk for a heart attack or stroke.