Heart of a Giant Foundation Launches to Improve Community Health
Heart of a Giant Foundation Launches to Improve Community Health

Heart of a Giant Foundation Launches to Improve Community Health

The Heart of a Giant Foundation will begin its work with the Healthy Hearts Community Program (2HC) in the Dorchester and Mattapan neighborhoods of Boston, Massachusetts. 

The program aims to help individuals and families better manage and prevent high blood pressure, and improve their health and well-being. 
This will be achieved through a culturally responsive, community-based, and technology-driven approach that provides comprehensive healthcare support, health education, and coaching. 

About the Heart of a Giant Foundation

The Heart Of A Giant Foundation, Inc. (HGF) was registered as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization in the US in 2020.

Its purpose is to provide patient-inspired and community-centered tools, training, and support that engage and guide participants towards better health outcomes. During its inaugural year, HGF focused its efforts on developing a partner network of hospitals, health centers, and community development organizations.

Through these partnerships, the foundation will deliver care support, education and coaching, and community activities to support disease management and treatment adherence. Their current partners consist of the American Heart Association, Boston Medical Centre, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Wellframe, Meeriad, Community Servings, and other organizations and groups.

Meet the Founder – Bouba Dieme

HGF was founded by Bouba Dieme, an engineer and entrepreneur from Mali and Senegal. 

In 2012, at the age of 26 while living in South Africa, Bouba was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition known as left ventricular non-compaction cardiomyopathy.  He and his wife Desiree have since relocated their family to her home town of Boston, Massachusetts. 

Since October 2016, Bouba has been on the waiting list for a heart transplant.  While he waits for a donor’s heart, he lives with an LVAD Heartmate3 pump, which was implanted in his heart in early 2017. 

Following his experience with heart disease, Bouba became intently committed to raising awareness about hypertension and other cardiac conditions, particularly in predominantly BIPOC communities. 

“My goal is to use my lived experience to help eliminate preventable harm and improve the management of chronic health conditions and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in our communities.”

Bouba Dieme, Founder and President, Heart of a Giant Foundation

The impact of hypertension in Dorchester and Mattapan

High blood pressure or hypertension is a common determinant of many illnesses.

If not well managed, it can damage a person’s health in many ways, including hurting important organs like the heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes. Critically, it is a leading risk factor for heart disease, stroke, kidney disease, vascular dementia and other chronic diseases. Heart disease and stroke are respectively the top- and fifth-leading causes of death in the USA.  

In the communities of Mattapan and Dorchester, with predominantly Black and people of color (POC) residents, the prevalence of hypertension reportedly ranges from 34% to 42%.

Residents face multiple challenges to health management, including structural and systemic disadvantages.  For instance, although patients who seek medical care generally receive it at their local health centers, there are still major gaps concerning health education and other critical follow-up support that greatly affect the patient’s overall health and wellbeing.

“Between 34 – 42% of the population in Dorchester and Mattapan have hypertension, and most of them are not aware of their condition or are unable to control their blood pressure. In response, we are proposing a program that considers critical elements of health and wellness that we have identified, including nutrition, exercise, community, and mental health.”

Bouba Dieme, Founder and President, Heart of a Giant Foundation

About the Healthy Hearts Community Program (2HC)

Although health care intervention against hypertension continues to improve, many of the success factors in preventing and controlling high blood pressure depend on changing and adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle and habits. As a result, HGF has opted to focus their work on a patient-led holistic program. The program has four components:

Nursing and Medical Support

Clinical support to optimize the health needs and augment the care needs of participants; using multiple HIPAA-compliant channels to communicate, including home visits, phone, or Web. Key activities include:

  • Health screenings and health education
  • Self biometric-measurements at home
  • Care coordination and referrals
Mental Health Coaching

Physical and mental health are equally important in maintaining a healthy blood pressure. Leveraging available culturally responsive mental health screening tools, licenced social workers support individuals and families in managing their condition through:

  • Complementary psychotherapy sessions
  • Individual and group counseling
  • Heart-healthy share-backs
Lifestyle Changes Support

Eating a healthy diet and exercising often can help maintain a healthy weight, improve physical endurance and muscular strength, improve mood, and control the blood pressure to avoid hypertension and other heart diseases. The program provides the following:

  • Tailored Heart-healthy diet and eating plan
  • Weekly cooking classes in person or online
  • A semi-supervised exercise training program
Heart Healthy Community

A heart healthy community is a supportive environment that fosters a sense of belonging and unity. The program offers a peer network and community built around selected group activities, hobbies, interests, and cultures:

  • In-person and remote support groups
  • Community building
  • Heart Healthy workshops

Inspired?

Here’s how you can take action to help HGF improve community heart health outcomes

There are many ways to get involved. You can donate, volunteer or partner using the links on the HGF website.

Visit the blog for Bouba’s personal anecdotes and reflections on living healthfully with heart disease.

Proceeds from merchandise sales go directly toward funding the work of HGF and the 2HC program.

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