DALLAS, April 8, 2020 – Approximately 120 million people in the United States have one or more cardiovascular conditions that may increase their risk for COVID-19 complications and those with hypertension, diabetes or cardiovascular disease are experiencing mortality rates 2-3 times higher than the general population (according to the WHO-China Joint Mission report). To support them and all people during this crisis, the American Heart Association is providing faith-based communities from all denominations access to free, online health lessons as part of the new EmPOWERED and Well Virtual Faith Community.

Developed by the American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, the virtual health lessons provide trusted, science-based tools and resources to empower mental, physical and spiritual health and well-being.

“The coronavirus can affect everyone, regardless of race, religion or gender,” said Pastor Sonjia B. Dickerson from Dayspring Family Church and ambassador for the EmPOWERED and Well Healthier Church Challenge. “But its burden will disproportionately affect the poor and the marginalized who often lack access to adequate healthcare. Faith communities in those areas offer the needed spiritual support in these challenging times. That’s why I’m grateful for the American Heart Association’s support and valuable educational resources as we band together during this health crisis.”

The 12, weekly science-based health lessons are 30 minutes in length and cover topics in the areas of blood pressure management, healthy weight loss and diabetes prevention. Registration is required for the lessons which will be accessible via Zoom at 10:30 a.m. ET Saturday mornings, starting April 11. The lessons will be recorded and available to watch any time or listen by phone. To register, go to EmPOWERED and Well Virtual Faith Community. 

Approximately 80% of our health is determined by factors other than access and quality of clinical care[1], underscoring the need for the American Heart Association’s EmPOWERED and Well Virtual Faith Community. 

The top priority for the American Heart Association during this COVID-19 pandemic is the health and well-being of individuals and their families today and going forward, in every community, everywhere. As part of its global response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic, the American Heart Association is committing $2.5 million to research efforts to better understand this unique coronavirus and its interaction with the body’s cardiovascular and cerebrovascular systems.

For the latest information and resources around COVID-19, please visit heart.org/coronavirus 


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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 heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.   

For Media Inquiries:

Susan Young: 214-706-1508  Susan.Young@Heart.org

For Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)


[1] County Health Rankings Model The County Health Rankings illuminate those opportunities for improvement by ranking the health of nearly every county in the nation across four Health Factors: Health Behaviors (30%), clinical care (20%), social and economic factors (40%), physical environment (10%).