DES MOINES, Iowa, July 13, 2023 — A pilot program helping people control the “silent killer” - high blood pressure - is coming to communities in Iowa.

The American Heart Association along with Wellmark® Blue Cross® and Blue Shield®, announces the launch of Check. Change. Control.® A blood pressure management program, Check. Change. Control. empowers participants to take charge of their cardiovascular health by monitoring their blood pressure. The program, which launches first in the Iowa communities of Stuart, West Des Moines and Des Moines, provides participants with the knowledge and tools to improve their blood pressure numbers through increased physical activity, eating a balanced diet and managing their mental well-being.

“Not only is high blood pressure hard to spot, if left untreated, it can lead to heart attack, stroke and other serious health conditions,” said Dr. Naim Munir, vice president, chief medical officer for Wellmark. “And, because nearly half of all Americans have high blood pressure, there is a significant need for education, awareness and action. This program can provide the resources needed to help people eliminate hypertension as a health threat and aligns to Wellmark’s mission to make health care better.”

The American Heart Association, a global force for healthier lives for all, will work with community health centers to identify Iowans who would benefit from the program. Community Care Center in Stuart, Exemplar Care in West Des Moines and Primary Health Care in Des Moines will implement the program first for up to 250 participants.

“Knowing your blood pressure numbers and managing hypertension is one of the best things you can do for your heart health,” said Angela Hilbert, executive director for the American Heart Association, Greater Des Moines. “The Check. Change. Control. program allows us to meet people where they are and equip them with the knowledge they need to live a longer, healthier life.” 

Participants set goals and regularly track their blood pressure throughout the four-month Check. Change. Control. program. They also have access to educational materials such as articles, videos and fact sheets. On-site ambassadors encourage participation and facilitate the program with American Heart Association representatives.

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is known as a “silent killer.” It typically has no symptoms but can lead to deadly health consequences such as heart attack, stroke and kidney failure when left untreated. Many of the 103 million people in the United States who have high blood pressure are unaware.

The purpose of Check. Change. Control. is to eliminate high blood pressure as a health disparity among Americans. From July 2017-June 2018, more than 1,300,000 participants enrolled with an average drop in overall blood pressure of 7.7 mm Hg.

People interested in participating in the pilot program can contact Wesley Franklin, community impact director for the American Heart Association, at


About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.  


About Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield
Wellmark, Inc. ( does business as Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa. Wellmark and its subsidiaries and affiliated companies, including Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota, Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc., and Wellmark Value Health Plan, Inc., and Wellmark Advantage Health Plan, Inc., insure or pay health benefit claims for more than 2 million members in Iowa and South Dakota. Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of South Dakota, Wellmark Health Plan of Iowa, Inc., Wellmark Value Health Plan, Inc., and Wellmark Advantage Health Plan, Inc. are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

For Media Inquiries:
Bryan Geelan: 515-414-3204;
For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721) and