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PORTLAND, July 2, 2024 — Oregonians know that eating well is key to good health, but for some in our community, access to nutritious food is a daily struggle. That's where the American Heart Association and Adelante Mujeres, a non-profit organization in Washington County, Oregon that seeks to empower Latine women and their families, are stepping in.

In 2023, the Association and Adelante Mujeres began working together to tackle food insecurity in smaller communities outside Portland. Now, they're taking it a step further by launching a blood pressure monitor lending program.

"We wanted to see how eating healthier really impacts the Latina women we serve," said Carla Fisanich Pacheco, Adelante Mujeres program manager. "So we thought, why not give them the tools to track their own health?"

The program, which kicked off in January, works hand-in-hand with Adelante Mujeres' existing produce prescription initiative that began in 2012. Participants not only get fresh fruits and veggies but also attend weekly nutrition education classes.

"Many of our participants haven't had the chance to cook with a variety of produce before," Fisanich Pacheco explained. "We're showing them how to tweak their traditional recipes to make them healthier."

But it's not just about the food. Thanks to the American Heart Association, Adelante Mujeres now has 30 validated blood pressure monitors that participants can borrow.

"It's all about empowering people to know their numbers," said Dr. Abby Khan, an OHSU cardiologist and Association volunteer board member in Oregon. "When patients see how lifestyle changes affect their blood pressure, it's incredibly motivating."

Participants bring their monitors and logbooks to weekly classes, where they can discuss any changes with health professionals. For those with concerning readings, there's a direct line to care.

"We've partnered with Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center,"Fisanich Pacheco said. "They send a nurse to our classes, so if someone needs to see a doctor, we can make it happen right away."

The program is already making waves in the community. Program participants welcome consistent access to nutritious food. They also share with Adelante staff how being able to check blood pressure makes them feel in control of their health.

As for the future? Fisanich Pacheco is optimistic. "This is just the beginning," she said. "We're building a program that doesn't just treat chronic diseases — it helps prevent them in the first place."

To learn how you can get involved with the American Heart Association, visit heart.org/oregon or call (503) 820-5300.


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 a century. During 2024 - our Centennial year - we celebrate our rich 100-year history and accomplishments. As we forge ahead into our second century of bold discovery and impact our vision is to advance health and hope for everyone, everywhere. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebook, InstagramX or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.    

For media inquiries, contact:
Jay Wintermeyer: jay.wintermeyer@heart.org