HCA Midwest Health
October 26, 2022

KANSAS CITY — Knowledge and management of heart-related risk factors and conditions are critical in reducing the likelihood of and improving outcomes with stroke, especially across populations with health disparities. This powerful connection between heart and brain health is the target of a new initiative focused on clinical training, community and patient education, as well as diagnosis and treatment. Getting to the Heart of Stroke from the American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, with support and collaboration from HCA Healthcare, Inc. (NYSE:HCA), one of the nation’s leading health care providers, and the HCA Healthcare Foundation, will also include individualized health education efforts in Kansas City and 14 other local markets across the United States.

Getting to the Heart of Stroke, developed in conjunction with HCA Healthcare and HCA Healthcare Foundation, features several efforts focused on preventing initial and recurrent strokes and improving overall stroke care by:

  • Empowering people to know and better manage their stroke risk, including through the use of a new stroke self-management tool, along with greater engagement with patients diagnosed with atrial fibrillation (AFib) through the Association’s MyAFibExperience patient support network.
  • Improving the overall health of Kansas City residents by addressing disparities through local health impact work in the areas of women’s health and wellbeing, high blood pressure management, nutrition security or tobacco/vaping prevention.

“Getting to the Heart of Stroke uses a proven approach to public health which combines a national initiative with local health impact work,” said Laura Lopez, executive director of the American Heart Association in Kansas City. “Over the next few months, the American Heart Association will work closely with our volunteers and leaders at HCA Midwest Health to take a real look at the health disparities right here in Kansas City and create a plan for helping more people in our community live the long, healthy lives they deserve.”

Getting to the Heart of Stroke focuses on education and care across medical disciplines and specialties and addresses risk factor management for people at highest risk of stroke from AFib—which is known to increase stroke risk by up to 5 times1 - or secondary stroke from other undiagnosed heart issues.

“Getting to the Heart of Stroke in Kansas City is about meeting people where they are with the resources they need to manage their heart health and prevent stroke,” said HCA Midwest Health President Keith Zimmerman. “HCA Midwest Health is extremely proud to be supporting the American Heart Association’s Getting to the Heart of Stroke initiative to champion stroke prevention and bring this robust initiative to life in our community.”

As part of the new initiative, American Heart Association staff and volunteer experts with support from the HCA Healthcare Foundation and HCA Healthcare community colleagues will work in Kansas City along with 14 other select communities (listed below) to implement community education. The nationwide initiative will also focus on stroke risk factor awareness and professional education projected through the lens of equitable health for all.

Working closely with health care professional thought leaders, including those from HCA Healthcare, the Association will also develop accredited education programming that will be available to all health care professionals, and a specific learning collaborative with 10 HCA Healthcare facilities focused on continuously improving quality of care.

Identifying the cause of a stroke is critical to being able to prevent a subsequent stroke.  Certain patient subsets, including Black and Hispanic/Latino populations, face additional barriers to identifying and treating stroke risk factors as well as receiving thorough assessment and treatment following stroke2.

Keith Zimmerman, HCA Midwest Health President

Keith Zimmerman, HCA Midwest Health President

While some AFib risk factors, including uncontrolled high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity, are more prevalent among Black people, they are less likely to be diagnosed with the condition, which may be related to race or ethnicity3. Black adults also have a higher prevalence of stroke and the highest death rate from stroke compared to any other racial group4. Getting to the Heart of Stroke will address these disparities.

The local HCA Healthcare hospital systems participating in Getting to the Heart of Stroke are:


  • Denver – HealthONE


  • Gainesville/Ocala - HCA Florida Healthcare
  • Jacksonville - HCA Florida Healthcare
  • Orlando - HCA Florida Healthcare
  • Palm Beach - HCA Florida Healthcare
  • Petersburg/Tampa - HCA Florida Healthcare

Kansas and Missouri

  • Kansas City - HCA Midwest Health


  • Las Vegas - Sunrise Health

North Carolina

  • Asheville - Mission Health


  • Nashville – Tristar Health


  • Austin – St. David’s Healthcare
  • Dallas/Fort Worth - Medical City Healthcare
  • Houston/Gulf Coast - HCA Houston Healthcare
  • San Antonio - Methodist Healthcare


  • Richmond - HCA Virginia Health System

[1] www.heart.org/-/media/Files/Health-Topics/Atrial-Fibrillation/FAQ-About-AFib.pdf Accessed August 30, 2022

[2] D O Kleindorfer; et al 2021 Guideline for the Prevention of Stroke in Patients with Stroke and Transient Ischemic Attack: A Guideline From the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Stroke. 2021;52:e364–e467 DOI: 10.1161/STR.0000000000000375

[3] S R Heckbert; et al Difference by Race/Ethnicity in the Prevalence of Clinically Detected and Monitor-Detected Atrial Fibrillation Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology. 2020;13:e007698 DOI: 10.1161/CIRCEP.119.007698

[4] www.stroke.org/-/media/Stroke-Files/Lets-Talk-About-Stroke/Prevention/Lets-Talk-About-Black-Americans-and-Stroke-Sheet.pdf Accessed August 30, 2022