The CDC and UAMS to Expand Heart Healthy Communities Program with One Item

The CDC and UAMS to Expand Heart Healthy Communities Program with One Item

September 20, 2022 LITTLE ROCK – with the success of the Heart Healthy Communities program in Phillips County, announced here earlier in the year, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) today announces they are working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to begin a trial of Heart Healthy Communities as part of Project REFOCUS, an effort described in greater detail at  This is part of a $1.7 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Foundation to begin a trial which is described in more detail here.  If successful in a new Phillips County trial, the aspiration is to roll out Project REFOCUS to two thirds of the counties in the United States, which is more than 2,000 counties.

About the current trial – The idea behind the Health Science Index (HSI) app, used in the Heart Healthy Communities project, was developed by Seattle-based One Item Inc. to make personalized wellness information easily accessible through participants’ smart phones, to guide them in managing health concerns, such as losing weight and getting enough sleep, to help them live longer.

Meanwhile, the information gathered through each participant’s input will help researchers at UAMS create a registry of people in the community who are at risk of premature death. In line with UAMS’ goal of improving the health and well-being of all Arkansans, the registry will be used to determine which health care services are most needed in the medically underserved area to reduce the incidence of preventable conditions that can lead to premature death.

“We call it a living survey,” said Irion “Chip” Pursell, MPH, RN, who is the director of Cardiology Research in the UAMS Department of Internal Medicine’s Division of Cardiology.

The Heart Healthy Communities (HHC) project was previously known as The Lincoln Project.

Manifested in several forms — such as high blood pressure, congestive heart failure and stroke — heart disease is the leading cause of death in America and affects about 1 million people in Arkansas, or about one-third of the state’s population.

In this new trial as part of REFOCUS, the same HSI app will be used as it has been in the past, but now UAMS is working with a new set of community workers, including Delta Circles, Inc. and the goal is to enroll over 200 people, more than twice as many users as were enrolled earlier in the year to get even better data about helping communities that are underserved with healthcare live longer lives.

“We are very pleased to see the success of our Heart Healthy Communities Program expanded to even more people in Phillips County with the goal of helping people live longer,” said Pursell.  “We have been working with the REFOCUS team for months and we are excited to get it going.”

“This effort of aligning Heart Healthy Communities with REFOCUS is completely in line with the mission of Delta Circles to help underserved and poor communities here in Arkansas,” said Patricia Ashanti of Delta Circles.

“This has been such a great partnership with UAMS for over two years, it’s incredibly validating to see it being taken to the next step with REFOCUS on something that could ultimately be rolled out to two thirds of the poorest communities in the United States,” added Erik Knutson, CEO of One Item.

About Project REFOCUS

Project REFOCUS is a large effort led by Howard University, Department of Communication, Culture and Media Studies as well as the UCLA Center for the Study of Racism Social Justice and Health Funding for the project is provided by the CDC Foundation. 

About Delta Circles, Inc.

Delta Circles, based in Arkansas, is committed to being a conduit of change to break the cycle of poverty andencourage an entrepreneurial mindset. Although their programs place a special emphasis on the value and needs of Black women, its overall approach is multi-generational with impactful programs for the entire family.  For more information see

About One Item, Inc.

One Item offers an array of solutions to help people receive daily coaching on how to achieve the one goal they have chosen as most important to them, and that coaching is personalized to the user.  HSI a product of One Item that offers a specific Heart Healthy Communities app with specific focus factors related to helping people live longer. For more information see

More information about the HHC program is available on the UAMS website.

UAMS is the state’s only health sciences university, with colleges of Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Health Professions and Public Health; a graduate school; a hospital; a main campus in Little Rock; a Northwest Arkansas regional campus in Fayetteville; a statewide network of regional campuses; and seven institutes: the Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, Jackson T. Stephens Spine & Neurosciences Institute, Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Psychiatric Research Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Translational Research Institute and Institute for Digital Health & Innovation. UAMS includes UAMS Health, a statewide health system that encompasses all of UAMS’ clinical enterprise. UAMS is the only adult Level 1 trauma center in the state. UAMS has 3,047 students, 873 medical residents and fellows, and six dental residents. It is the state’s largest public employer with more than 11,000 employees, including 1,200 physicians who provide care to patients at UAMS, its regional campuses, Arkansas Children’s, the VA Medical Center and Baptist Health.


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