heart pumping

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), nearly half of all Americans have high blood pressure and many don’t know they have it. Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a silent killer that causes unnecessary and inequitable disease, disability and death, robbing us of precious time with loved ones. It can cause heart attacks, heart failure, stroke and other devastating conditions.

Under-resourced communities and those living in rural areas face the highest death rates due to hypertension. Making matters worse, rural communities face a critical shortage of health care professionals, including public health workers, which negatively impacts the care rural residents receive.

The AHA is committed to addressing these inequities and improving blood pressure control and cardiovascular health in rural communities throughout the United States.

HeartCorps is a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and Public Health AmeriCorps. Past and current HeartCorps Members have helped lead work around blood pressure control, nutrition security, cardiac readiness, tobacco cessation and more in rural communities around the country. Access this video to learn more and to better understand this work.

As HeartCorps enters its third year of the program, the opportunity has been expanded to include North Dakota and South Dakota!  Program leaders are looking for host sites to serve as partners on the ground, who can help us bring this impact to life! This is a fantastic opportunity to expand organizational capacity at (little or) no direct cost to the organization. Read on for more details:

HeartCorps Host Sites must:

  • Be a non-profit or local government agency (FQHCs, hospitals, local public health departments, Tribal entities, Salvation Army, Boys & Girls Clubs, public housing, and more make-up our current roster of host sites).
  • Identify a workspace within their organization as a base of operations for HeartCorps Members. (AmeriCorps rules limit the ability of members to serve virtually. They are to be serving in communities). It does not need to be a private office but should not be a supply closet.
  • Identify a supervisor who will collaborate with AHA staff to guide the Member in the formation and execution of a workplan while also helping manage timesheet approval and performance evaluation.
  • Help with efforts to support recruitment of Members locally. Note: Because recruitment of Members has been a challenge in some very rural areas, the ideal host site will generally have at least 10k people and/or a college/university within about 30 minutes. Recruitment potential will be part of the conversation with interested host sites.

More about HeartCorps Members

  • Can serve in full (40 hr/week) or part time (25 hr/week) roles based on host site needs and candidate profiles.
  • Must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma, and be a US Citizen, US National, or permanent resident of the US.
  • Come from a variety of backgrounds including health care, public health, education, social services and many more.
  • Receive a living allowance which equates to $15/hr., an educational award of around $7k for a full-time position, access to health insurance and (based on overall income) childcare assistance. Those costs are all covered by the American Heart Association.
  • Are hired by the American Heart Association in consultation with the local host site.
  • A sample recruitment flier is attached.

Next Steps

  • Reach out to Tim.Nikolai@heart.org with any questions and/or complete this host site interest form to begin the process.
  • Approved host sites will sign an MOU with the American Heart Association which will allow for the creation of a Member position specific to that location. (View a sample job listing.)
  • MOUs will need to be signed by mid-late May to allow for Member recruitment over the summer.
  • A cohort of Members will start in late September 2024 with additional cohorts likely for November 2024 and January 2025.

For more information or to explore HeartCorps or other options for collaboration, contact Tim Nikolai, Senior Rural Health Director, with the American Heart Association.