Assessing the impact of the heart of New Ulm Project on cardiovascular disease risk factors: A population-based program to reduce cardiovascular disease

Abbey C. Sidebottom, Arthur Sillah, David M Vock, Michael D. Miedema, Raquel Pereira, Gretchen Benson, Rebecca Lindberg, Jackie L. Boucher, Thomas Knickelbine, Jeffrey J. VanWormer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The Heart of New Ulm Project (HONU), is a population-based project designed to reduce modifiable cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in the rural community of New Ulm, MN. HONU interventions address multiple levels of the social-ecological model. The community is served by one health system, enabling the use of electronic health record (EHR) data for surveillance. The purpose of this study was to assess if trends in CVD risk factors and healthcare utilization differed between a cohort of New Ulm residents age 40–79 and matched controls selected from a similar community, using EHR data from baseline (2008–2009) through three follow up time periods (2010–2011, 2012–2013, 2014–2015). Matching, using covariate balance sparse technique, yielded a sample of 4077 New Ulm residents and 4077 controls. We used mixed effects longitudinal models to examine trends over time between the two groups. Blood pressure, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, and triglycerides showed better management in New Ulm over time compared to the controls. The proportion of residents in New Ulm with controlled blood pressure increased by 6.2 percentage points compared to an increase of 2 points in controls (p < 0.0001). As the cohort aged, 10-year ASCVD risk scores increased less in New Ulm (5.1) than the comparison community (5.9). The intervention and control community did not differ with regard to inpatient stays, smoking, or glucose. Findings suggest efficacy for the HONU project interventions for some outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)216-221
Number of pages6
JournalPreventive medicine
StatePublished - Jul 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Heart of New Ulm Project described in this paper was primarily funded by Allina Health during the period studied in this manuscript with some additional funding from grants from United Health Foundation, a CDC Community Transformational grant, and the USDA Farmers Market Program. No extramural funding was used to support the research work of this manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Authors


  • Blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Cholesterol
  • Community
  • Electronic health records
  • Population
  • Prevention


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