Northwell Health has joined the Cardiometabolic Center Alliance as a charter member, which was founded by the St. Louis, Mo.-based Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute to provide innovative treatment approaches to patients with type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
As a charter member, Northwell will further its ongoing research and programs to improve cardiometabolic health nationally.
The CMCA is a coalition that seeks to establish cardiometabolic centers of excellence nationwide aimed at transforming the treatment of type 2 diabetes and related cardiovascular and renal comorbidities. The alliance aims to have 20 member institutions as part of the initiative by 2023.
Cardiometabolic disease describes a spectrum of conditions that include: insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. These conditions often occur together and share risk factors, such as: obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and/or high triglyceride levels, and abnormal glucose regulation.
“In the past several years, our team at Northwell Health has put forth numerous initiatives related to education around cardiometabolic health aimed at improving patient outcomes,” said Dr. Eugenia Gianos,, director of cardiovascular prevention at Northwell Health. “In an effort to take our practices to the next level of standardization and comprehensive care, we are excited to become a charter member of the Cardiometabolic Alliance, to share best practices and research to improve patient outcomes.”
According to the American Diabetes Association, approximately two out of every three patients with diabetes die of heart disease, which (when including pre-diabetes) impacts 50 percent of Americans. Prevention is key with an emphasis on early diagnosis and comprehensive treatment.
“The mission of the CMCA is to transform cardiometabolic care and improve quality and outcomes for patients, regardless of where they live,” said Mikhail Kosiborod, MD, executive director of the Cardiometabolic Alliance. “We are proud to collaborate with Northwell Health, one of the largest healthcare providers in the Northeast, in our joint efforts to bring comprehensive, team-based cardiometabolic care to the many patients they serve.”
In the past three years, the Northwell cardiovascular prevention team has participated in 10 clinical trials related to cardiometabolic disease at six unique centers within the health system. These studies include research in dyslipidemia, diabetes, blood clots and implementation science complementing their investigator-initiated research.
Northwell also implemented a significant initiative, Beyond Diabetes, to promote the use of novel therapies shown to reduce cardiometabolic disease, and guide health care providers on how to integrate them into their clinical practice. Certain oral medications have been shown to significantly improve patient outcomes with diabetes, including substantial weight loss and associated cardiometabolic changes.
“Northwell’s clinicians have taken a focus on expanding the types of providers who are now focused on cardiometabolic health, knowing how broad this problem is,” Dr. Gianos said. “We’ve realized that we cannot leave this to endocrinologists alone to manage; it has to be a multidisciplinary approach.”
The systemwide quality improvement program is ongoing and led by faculty from cardiology, nephrology, endocrinology, internal medicine and pharmacy. To increase the available resources to providers, this core group – which includes Dr. Benjamin Hirsh,, director of preventative cardiology at the Sandra Atlas Bass Heart Hospital at North Shore University, Dr. Jamie Hirsch,, a physician specializing in kidney disease and hypertension, and Agnes Cha, PharmD – works closely with population health, strategic planning and other groups. The ultimate goal is to provide a framework to effectively educate providers across a large health system, improve quality metrics and potentially improve patient outcomes and cost effectiveness. The group will measure both clinical and economic variables related to the increased use of the medications, improvement in risk factors for heart disease and hospitalization.
“Through the Cardiometabolic Center Alliance, we are able to harness our clinical expertise across the health system to improve patient outcomes and share our data to member organizations,” said Hirsh, who also is director of cardiac rehabilitation at Northwell. “We have strengthened our clinical outreach to dietary and exercise interventions for patients who have had a significant cardiac event or are at high risk of cardiovascular disease.”
He said that Northwell is piloting virtual cardiac rehab programs for patients to follow evidence-based programs at home as well offering in-person programs at the system’s six sites. “Cardiac rehab improves vascular function, contributes to the heart’s remodeling process and reduces inflammation, improving quality of life and patient survival,” Dr. Hirsh said.