In Canada, high blood pressure is one of the most significant risk factors driving death and disability (1), yet approximately 20% of Canadians are unaware of their hypertension (2).
The Cardiovascular Health Awareness Program (CHAP) is a Canadian program that connects community resources and policies with health system components to incorporate patient-, provider-, and system-level interventions. Since 2000, CHAP has integrated blood pressure measurement with community-based cardiovascular health promotion and chronic disease management activities through a variety of initiatives. CHAP includes partnerships with primary health care providers, locally recruited and trained ‘health educator’ volunteers, other health professionals, community agencies and public health.
Local lead organizations offer regular CHAP programming in community settings where participants live, work or congregate. Blood pressure measurements are recorded by health educator volunteers using automated blood pressure measurement devices recommended by Hypertension Canada (3). Other information relevant for cardiovascular disease and stroke risk assessment (e.g. physical activity, diet, and smoking status), are gathered by the volunteers using standardized questionnaires. Blood pressure results are shared with the participants’ primary care provider. Volunteer health educators also provide participants with educational material about lifestyle modification, locally available resources, and encourage and support involvement in self-care.
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 (4) (5).
CHAP projects and research studies continue across four academic institutions; The University of Toronto, McMaster University, York University and Université de Montréal. Many different innovative studies on community based health programs to manage and detect cardiovascular disease have been launched from the original CHAP concept.
- Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. IHME. http://www.healthdata.org. [Online] 05 01, 2018. http://www.healthdata.org/canada.
- Epidemiology of Hypertension in Canada: An Update. Padwal, R., Bienek, A., McAlister, F., Campbell, N. s.l. : Elsevier, 2016, Canadian Journal of Cardiology, Vol. 32, pp. 687-694.
- Canadian Hypertension Education Program Guidelines for Blood pressure Measurement, Diagnosis, Assessment of Risk,Prevention and Treatment of Hypertension. Hypertension Canada. 2016, Canadian Journal of Cardiology, Vol. 32, pp. 569-588.
- Improving cardiovascular health at the population level: A 39 community cluster -randomized trial of the Cardiovascular Health Awareness Program (CHAP). Kaczorowski, J., Chambers, L., Dolovich, L et al. 2011, British Medical Journal, p. 342.
- Twenty Top Papers to mark the BMJ two digital decades. British Medical Journal. 2015, British Medical Journal, p. 351:h3660.