Established in 1956, the Saskatchewan Heart Foundation (a provincial division National Heart Foundation of Canada) of the by a visionary group of Canadians who had a dream to turn the tide on heart disease. Latter renamed to the Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF) with an effort to more accurately reflect the scope of the foundations vision and hopes for the future. Growing both nationally and provincially the HSF continues to endeavor to put heart health on the public agenda, to elevate researchers to alleviate the burden of heart disease and translate the knowledge emerging from research to education for Canadians about their hearts. Since the establishment of the HSF more than $1billion has raised and invested into innovational heart and stroke research. Moreover, in an effort to address need where it is most required more than 80 per cent of donations directly support research and education programs in the province where the funds are raised. With the increasing burden of heart and stroke-related diseases increases to impact the lives of so many Saskatchewan residents the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Saskatchewan (HSFS) continue to receive impressive financial support striving to reach new milestones in research support, health promotion and advocacy. These inspiring results are only made possible by the ongoing and valuable efforts of volunteers and donors, and the success of HSF programs across this province and the country from coast to coast (Heart & Stroke Foundation Canada, 2010) (Heart & Stroke Foundation Saskatchewan, 2010)
The HSF with the support and guidance of visionary doctors and researchers, staff and, the corporate community and the community at-large, plays a relevant leadership role in the study, prevention and reduction of disability and death from heart disease and stroke in Saskatchewan. Heart disease continues to be an important public health problem in Saskatchewan that requires a focus on solutions at the population-level. The HSF is dedicated to reducing the risk factors that are associated with heart disease and stroke in addition to improving outcomes and instruction for survivors (Heart & Stroke Foundation Canada, 2010) (Heart & Stroke Foundation Saskatchewan, 2010).
Heart disease and stroke are two of the three leading causes of death and the leading cause disability in Canada. Canadian baby boomers are now moving into their middle years, which is expected to result in a large increase in death and disability due to heart disease and stroke. (Heart & Stroke Foundation Saskatchewan, 2010). This underlines the importance of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention strategies. With Saskatchewan ranking high in its smoking and obesity rates, it is as pertinent as ever to push residents to engage in healthy eating, physical activity and tobacco cessation (Buller, 2010). Research has shown that negative lifestyle choices such as sedentary lifestyle, smoking, negative nutritional choices, etc. play a synergistic role in the development of heart and stroke related-diseases, and via education we can change these negatives into positives and endeavor for a more heart smart Saskatchewan. Collaboration between governments, researchers, health care practitioners, communities, and individuals are necessary to extend the reaches of heart healthy programming and education across the province (Buller, 2010) (Heart & Stroke Foundation Saskatchewan, 2010).
The HSFS is currently developing a strategy in Health Promotion that will benefit communities throughout the province. Their aim is to eliminate heart and stroke related disease and reduce their impact through the advancement of research and apply researched based knowledge to the advocacy and promotion of healthy heart smart living. In order to determine the efficacy of the programs within this model and their adherence to the initial guidelines set forward, it is necessary to evaluate the Health Promotion process. The goals set forth in these programs are:
- To keep people healthy so that they do not suffer from heart or stroke related-disease in the first place.
- To prevent progressive, more debilitating disease in those affected by heart disease, stroke and ischemic attack.
- To reduce the incidence of death and disability from cardiovascular disease and stroke.
- Focusing primarily on prevention, this document will lay the foundation for the evaluation steps involved in the Heart and Stroke Foundation's health promotion programs. The Community Action, Advocacy, Research and Education (C.A.R.E.) approach is a strategy that is being used to achieve the previously stated goals. Although, these elements are interrelated, a separate focus on each allows us to better describe the role that each can play in health promotion programs. With defined target communities outlined by HSFS’s Community Action Plan (Kaar, 2010) C.A.R.E. aims to give the communities ownership of the prevention programs and processes. Engaging the community and providing a sense of ownership, HSFS can identify strong leaders and companions situated within the community, leveraging the most it can out of local resources. This will allow all parties to efficiently and effectively work within the organization capacity and build for the future while continuing the ongoing process of community development. C.A.R.E. will provide each community a support system, skills and knowledge aligning with HSFS mission and vision. This will only lead to strong networks and partnerships for sustainable programs for the short and long term. Working with individual communities HSFS can develop programs that will best involve the local health issues and prioritize common health issues found throughout Saskatchewan. With success in mind the C.A.R.E. programs we outline clearly articulated goals mechanisms for decision making and evaluations based on predefined outcomes and indicators to be achieved specific to each section of C.A.R.E. (Kaar, 2010) (Issel, 2009).
- About us. Heart & Stroke Foundation Canada. 2010. Retrieved from. http://www.heartandstroke.com/site/c.ikIQLcMWJtE/b.3479077/k.8FD8/National_History.htm
- Statistics. Heart & Stroke Foundation Saskatchewan. 2010. Retrieved from. http://www.heartandstroke.sk.ca/site/c.inKMILNlEmG/b.3657463/k.3490/Statistics.htm#heartdisease
- Buller L. Mission in Action. Heart & Stroke Foundation Saskatchewan. 2010
- Issel ML. Health Program Planning and Evaluation: A Practical, Systematic Approach for Community Health. Second Edition. Jones and Bartlett. 2009.