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House Passes Bipartisan Lifesaving South Asian Heart Health Legislation

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Congresswoman Lori Trahan (MA-03), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee, supported passage of the South Asian Heart Health Awareness and Research Act, bipartisan legislation that will increase resources and awareness for heart disease among disproportionately affected communities, including South Asian Americans.

“Far too many families here in Massachusetts and across our nation have lost a loved one to heart disease. We have an obligation to do everything in our power to educate the most vulnerable in our community, and that requires us investing in programs that meet them where they are,” said Congresswoman Trahan. “I’m proud to support this legislation that targets awareness and prevention programs among South Asian Americans, many of whom call communities across the Third District home. I look forward to continuing our work to get this legislation through the Senate and signed into law by the President.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the number one cause of death for Americans, accounting for 1 in every 5 deaths in 2020 alone. South Asian Americans are experiencing a disproportionately dramatic rise in heart disease, with research showing that South Asians have four times the risk of cardiovascular disease compared to the general population and have increased chances of suffering a heart attack before age 50. 2020 Census data show that more than 159,000 South Asian Americans live in Massachusetts, including substantial populations in Third District communities like Lowell, Acton, and Westford.

However, despite the life-threatening dangers posed by heart disease, factors behind this epidemic among South Asian Americans are not understood and preventative measures are rarely shared. Understanding and awareness of disproportionate effects of disease on specific populations would have immense benefits for those communities and patients of all races and ethnicities.

The South Asian Heart Health Awareness and Research Act makes the necessary investments to raise awareness about the alarming rate of heart disease among South Asian Americans and invest in programs to reverse the trend. Specifically, the bipartisan legislation would create heart health promotion grants at the CDC to develop culturally appropriate materials to promote heart health and support community groups involved in heart health promotion. The bill would also establish a publicly accessible online database with information on heart health and support research on cardiovascular disease and other heart ailments disproportionately affecting South Asian Americans.

The South Asian Heart Health Awareness and Research Act is endorsed by a wide range of outside groups, including the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, American College of Cardiology, American Heart Association, American Medical Association, Asian Pacific American Medical Student Association, Association of Asian Pacific Community Health Organizations (AAPCHO), Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus (CAPAC), Indian American Impact Project, South Asian Healthy Lifestyle Initiative (SAHELI), South Asian Public Health Association (SAPHA), The MASALA Study Steering Committee, The Mended Hearts, Inc, WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease.

The legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration.