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The Cardiovascular Health Awareness Program

The prevalence of hypertension in Canada continues to rise and is projected to cost $20.5 billion annually by 2020 [1]. The #KnowYourNumbers campaign aims to address the estimated 20% of Canadians who are unaware of their hypertension [2].  The Cardiovascular Health Awareness Program (CHAP), developed at the McMaster University Department of Family Medicine, is a long standing initiative with proven efficacy and cost effectiveness which answers the question: “What do I do with those numbers?”

CHAP programming offers the following:

  • Community settings where participants live, work or congregate.
  • Volunteer Health educators.
  • Automated blood pressure measurement devices recommended by Hypertension Canada [3].
  • Standardized risk assessments for cardiovascular disease and stroke.
  • Educational material about lifestyle modification and locally available resources to reduce risk.
  • Blood pressure results are shared with the participants’ primary care provider.

 CHAP is easy to implement in any community,has been rigorously evaluated and

has been shown to add value to the health and well-being of participants and volunteers without additional costs to the health care system [4].  CHAP has received many awards (ex: CIHR-CMAJ Top Canadian Achievements in Health Research Awards for 2012 ) and has been recognized by the BMJ  as one of 20 outstanding articles published since the mid 1990s [5] [6].

Since 2000, CHAP programs have directly impacted thousands of Canadians at risk for, or currently living with hypertension.  The initial studies have evolved into many research projects and additional pilot programs addressing various aspects of cardiovascular health while leveraging the resources and capacities of different communities..

‘CHAP has become such an embedded part of our community, people would complain if we didn’t continue the program; patients, clinics, Family Health Team staff, everyone’. (K Rosen, Pembroke.)  ‘We have had great support from local physicians’ (T Gabriel, Paris).  ‘Our CHAP volunteers are so committed to this program, some have been there for more than ten years’ (K Anderson, Oxford County).

CHAP is poised for greater impact; it has the evidence, history, and potential to be an integral part of a comprehensive sustained strategy to make a significant impact on hypertension in Canada.  For more information: www.chapprogram.ca



[1] C. Weaver, F. Clement, N. Campbell and M. James, “Healthcare Costs Attributable to Hypertension: Canadian Population-Based Cohort Study,” Hypertension, vol. 66, pp. 1-11, 13 July 2015.

[2] R. Padwal, A. Bienek, F. McAlister and N. Campbell, “Epidemiology of Hypertension in Canada: An Update,” Canadian Journal of Cardiology, vol. 32, pp. 687-694, 2016.

[3] Hypertension Canada, “Canadian Hypertension Education Program Guidelines for Blood pressure Measurement, Diagnosis, Assessment of Risk,Prevention and Treatment of Hypertension,” Canadian Journal of Cardiology, vol. 32, pp. 569-588, 2016.

[4] R. Goeree, C. von Keyserling and N. Burke, “Economic Appraisal of a Community wide Cardiovascular Health Awareness Program (CHAP),” Value in Health, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 39-45, 2013.

[5] J. Kaczorowski, L. Chambers and L. Dolovich, “Improving cardiovascular health at the population level: A 39 community cluster -randomized trial of the Cardiovascular Health Awareness Program (CHAP),” British Medical Journal, p. 342, 2011.

[6] British Medical Journal, “Twenty Top Papers to mark the BMJ two digital decades,” British Medical Journal, p. 351:h3660, 2015.

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