SEBRING, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb 21, 2012-- The AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation program, Connections for Cardiovascular Health(SM), today announced a grant of more than $164,000 to the Florida Hospital Heartland Medical Center in Sebring to form the Creating Healthier Hearts program.

Creating Healthier Hearts works to reduce cardiovascular disease in Hardee County by offering free heart health education and cardiac health screenings to all low-income and underserved Hispanic and Latino residents.

"We are blessed to receive this grant and provide an exciting new service for the Hardee County community," said Florida Hospital Wauchula Vice President and Administrator Linda Adler. "By teaching about the treatment and prevention of cardiac care to an underserved population, we are making our community much healthier and furthering our Mission to extend the healing ministry of Christ." A new Wellness Center in Wauchula, Fla. will offer free outreach, training, information, and screenings for cardiovascular health to underserved Hispanic residents in Hardee County. A van will visit community centers and churches with a high percentage of Hispanic participants, offering free cardiovascular health training and screenings.

Those who need physician treatment will be referred to Samaritan's Touch in Sebring or Central Florida Health in Avon Park, both of which offer medical service for uninsured or low-income individuals. The program will also conduct cardiovascular training in local elementary schools to teach children how to prevent cardiac disease.

"We must work to decrease the risk of and prevent cardiovascular disease in the United States, by providing resources to those in need," said James W. Blasetto, M.D., MPH, chairman of the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation. "The Florida Hospital Heartland Medical Center is providing an innovative program to improve cardiovascular health throughout Hardee County." Connections for Cardiovascular Health was launched in 2010 through a charitable contribution of $25 million from AstraZeneca. The program awards grants of $150,000 and up to US-based non-profit organizations that are doing innovative work in the field of cardiovascular health.

The grant focuses on screening initiatives that identify patients with or at-risk of cardiovascular disease as well as innovative education programs aimed at preventing cardiovascular disease by inspiring youth, families and the community to develop healthy eating habits and physically active lifestyles.

Organizations can learn more and apply online for a Foundation grant at Applications must be submitted online no later than 5:00 p.m. ET on March 15.

About Florida Hospital Heartland Medical Center Florida Hospital Heartland Medical Center and Florida Hospital Wauchula are part of the Adventist Health System, which owns and operates more than 43 hospitals nationwide. It is also a part of a network of 23 Florida Hospital healthcare facilities located in Florida. For more than 60 years, Florida Hospital has been the proven leader in healthcare in Highlands and Hardee counties. Their mission is to extend the healing ministry of Christ.

Built in 1998, Florida Hospital Heartland Medical Center in Sebring offers 159 private rooms nestled on 86-acres in Sun 'n Lake Community.

Included at this facility are the county's only pediatric unit, Heart & Vascular Center and Certified Stroke Center all with electronic medical record capabilities. This hospital also offers the Breast Care Center, Bone, Joint & Spine Center, Blessed Beginnings obstetrics, pain medicine, wound care, surgical services, sleep center and a wide array of diagnostic imaging like PET CT, MRI and digital mammograms. A newly expanded and renovated emergency department just opened with 32 private rooms, which is already the county's busiest ER.

Florida Hospital Heartland Medical Center in Lake Placid was built in 1981 and features 50 private suites on US Highway 27. It contains the county's only senior behavioral health unit, as well as emergency care, surgical services, fitness center and diagnostic imaging all with electronic medical record capabilities.

Florida Hospital Wauchula joined the Adventist Health System team in 1993. This 25-private room facility is home to the area's only transitional care unit and Hardee County's only emergency department all with electronic medical record capabilities.

For more details about Florida Hospital, please call Community Relations at (863) 386-6380 or visit their website at

About the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation Established in 1993, the AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation is a Delaware not-for-profit corporation and a 501(c)(3) entity organized for charitable purposes including to promote public awareness of healthcare issues, to promote public education of medical knowledge and to support or contribute to charitable and qualified exempt organizations consistent with its charitable purpose.

CONTACT: Media Inquiries: AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation Tony Jewell, 302-885-4594 or Florida Hospital Marketing & Public Relations Cathy Albritton, 863-873-3414 KEYWORD: UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICA FLORIDA INDUSTRY KEYWORD: HEALTH CARDIOLOGY DIABETES CONSUMER HISPANIC GENERAL HEALTH SOURCE: AstraZeneca HealthCare Foundation Copyright Business Wire 2012 PUB: 02/21/2012 09:00 AM/DISC: 02/21/2012 09:00 AM