Making a Difference
A vascular team
has launched a massive strike against vascular disease in Annapolis
and Anne Arundel County, and they've brought members of the legislature,
medical profession and business community together to ensure its
So far, so good. Since the day the effort began on May 1, 168
patients have been screened for signs of the disease. Out of those,
14 patients were found to have severe disease including nine aneurysms.
Two of those aneurysms were considered critical enough that the
patients were admitted for surgery within two weeks of discovery.
"Over 30 percent of the patients we have seen have high risk factors
including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes,"
says program co-director Louise Hanson, a nurse practitioner.
The goal is to make the residents of Anne Arundel County the healthiest
in the country. Once the leaders of this effort are successful
in their fight against vascular disease in this county, they hope
medical leaders in other areas of the state and country will follow
On April 29, House Speaker Michael Busch, Sen. John Astle, Del.
Virginia Clagett, Annapolis Mayor Ellen Moyer and county attorney
Linda Schuett joined vascular surgeon Dr. John Martin of Cardiology
Associates in Annapolis, Martin Doordan, president of Anne Arundel
Medical Center and leaders from several national and local businesses
including GE Medical Systems, Guidant and Sandy Spring National
Bank to kick off the massive free screening called "Dare to C.A.R.E.
About Vascular Disease District 30 Project." The event was held
at the Stanton Center at 92 W. Washington Street in the Greater
Clay Street Community.
Originally, it was their goal to screen every at- risk person
in the District 30 area, which includes more than 10,000 people,
in the next year. Recently, however, the team decided to expand
their efforts to include the entire county."It was the recommendation
of county health officials and County Executive Janet Owens that
we screen the entire county," says Dr. Martin, the doctor leading
the effort. "We agreed. We didn't want the residents of North
County to miss out on the life-saving benefits of this program."
The participants will be evaluated for vascular disease of the
carotid arteries, abdominal aortic aneurysms, renal artery disease
and extremity artery disease, which is where the project's name,
"Dare to C.A.R.E.," originated. In addition to the vascular testing,
the medical team will provide important informational brochures
and sponsor community lecture programs. These events will be held
throughout the year to educate the public on the dangers of vascular
diseases and the keys to preventing lethal complications. "We
can make a difference, and we're going to do that starting with
this community," Dr. Martin says.
Hours before the April 29 kick-off event, Dr. Martin and Ms. Hanson
screened 20 residents of the Greater Clay Street Community and
visitors to the Stanton Center. They discovered symptoms of heart
disease in two of the residents screened.
"I can already say that we are saving lives," Dr. Martin said
to the crowd of more than 50 people, including residents and those
involved in the project such as businessmen and legislators. The
four legislators who attended the event said they are proud to
be a part of this important effort in healthcare.
"It's a pretty neat idea and hopefully it's going to improve the
health of Anne Arundel County," said Sen. Astle who, along with
Del. Busch and Mayor Moyer, was screened at the event.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in this country.
Unfortunately, a majority of the patients with the disease are
unaware until severe complications or death occurs. Identifying
cardiovascular disease at an early stage is critical since more
than 30 percent of these patients will die within five years following
a cardiovascular event such as a stroke. Early detection, aggressive
risk-factor modification, lifestyle changes and drug therapy can
reduce these morbidity statistics and dramatically improve the
longevity and quality of life of our population.
This program is focused on all residents who are age 60 or older
and those 50 and above with a history of smoking or high blood
pressure, elevated cholesterol, or diabetes.
District 30 was chosen as the first area to lead the project because
of the broad population demographics, diverse socio-economic backgrounds,
challenging but manageable population, proximity to the testing
area and committed support of political leaders. Upon successfully
completing the project, its leaders hope the program will serve
as the model in the fight against vascular disease.
Testing will be held at the AAMC Vascular Institute in the Sajak
Pavilion on the campus of Anne Arundel Medical Center on Jennifer
Road as well as in communities and community centers throughout
the district including the Stanton Center.
If signs of vascular disease are found in a patient, the medical
personnel administering the screening will contact the patient's
primary care physician about the findings. If the patient does
not have a primary care physician, he or she will be given a list
of doctors for treatment or, if necessary, the patient will be
connected with an organization which helps low-income residents
find the funding and appropriate doctors for such treatment.
Dr. Martin leads a team of several doctors on AAMC's medical staff
who are participating in the Dare to C.A.R.E. program in an effort
to fight vascular disease. They include Jon Hupp, M.D., Jonathan
Althschuler, M.D., Robert Lager, M.D., John Kennedy, M.D., Kelly
Sullivan, M.D., Adrian Preston, M.D., Mitch Schwartz, M.D., Liz
Kingsley, M.D., Mark Peeler, M.D., Thomas Lank, M.D., Nicholas
Malakis, M.D., and George Odell, M.D.
"I'm very pleased that we have the opportunity to participate
together to try and improve the health of Anne Arundel County
residents," Dr. Peeler says. "Vascular disease is generally under-diagnosed
If you would like to participate in this important free vascular
screening program, contact the Dare to C.A.R.E. staff at 410-573-9483.
Additional information can be obtained by calling Ask AAMC at
443-481-4000 or refer to www.askAAMC.org
Mohsberg is a resident of Eastport and the media relations
associate for Anne Arundel Health System.