September 16, 2009 – TARRYTOWN, NY – The National Blood Clot Alliance (NBCA) today announced that it received two major program grants totaling $2.6 million over five years from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  These funds will support programs directed at curbing the devastating effects caused each year to over 350,000 Americans who develop a blood clot.

NBCA will use these grants to conduct patient and healthcare professional education and awareness initiatives directed at preventing deep vein thrombosis (DVT – a blood clot in a limb) and pulmonary embolism (PE – a piece of a DVT that breaks off and travels to a lung). “A pulmonary embolism is a serious medical condition that each year kills at least 100,000 Americans,” explains NBCA President Randy Fenninger.  “We have a national public health crisis because few people recognize or understand the symptoms and risk factors of this silent killer,” Fenninger added.

He continued, “I want to express my deep appreciation and that of the entire NBCA leadership to the dedicated volunteers and staff who prepared these successful grant applications.  This teamwork is a hallmark of our nationwide efforts to reduce the death rate from blood clots.”  “Equally important, is that not enough of our nation’s healthcare professionals have a full understanding of the symptoms and the methods for preventing blood clots,” according to Jack Ansell, MD, Chair of NBCA’s Medical and Scientific Advisory Board. Ansell said that “complications from clotting, occurring in more than half of those affected individuals, can often have serious consequences – as is evident from an annual mortality rate that is greater than the combined deaths from breast cancer, AIDS and automobile accidents.”

Blood Clot Awareness and Patient Education

Working with CDC, NBCA will launch a three-pronged strategy to reach patients affected by blood clots with programs that will increase knowledge and awareness among patients and families. With this knowledge patients will be better equipped to make their own decisions about their health and their lives and better communicate with healthcare professionals who are (or will be) managing their care. To achieve this, NBCA will:

  • Organize eight Stop The Clot® Forums across the U.S. These dynamic and interactive patient education seminars will provide basic information about blood clots (signs, symptoms and risk factors), prevention, and how to live with blood clotting disorders.
  • Expand Stop The Clot® Web-based programs (www.StopTheClot.org) and activities—maximizing educational content, usability, interactivity, patient self assessment tools, webinars, patient video diaries and expanding reach.
  • Develop new Stop The Clot® print-based materials to support education initiatives.

Healthcare Professional Education

Education of Healthcare Professionals (HCPs) including nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, and physician assistants, is critical to the health of patients with blood clots and clotting disorders. HCPs must be proficient in knowledge about risk factors, signs and symptoms, prevention, treatment, and complications of blood clots and clotting disorders in order to ensure quality care.  In addition to this knowledge, HCPs must develop the skills to motivate patients to adhere to treatment plans that include “blood thinners,” frequent testing, and compression stockings, at times a burdensome challenge. NBCA has already developed a series of six online modules to fill any knowledge gaps in HCPs about venous blood clots and clotting disorders, and will evaluate the impact of this curriculum in the coming year.  NBCA is now ready to develop a series of webinars to develop communications skills of HCPs to promote a therapeutic alliance with patients to motivate adherence.

Using its Curriculum Development Team (CDT) comprised of experts in clotting, NBCA will develop webinars on topics that HCPs have indicated are most needed, such as “Preventing Complications of Blood Clots.”  These interactive webinars will include PowerPoint slides, video segments, discussion among HCPs, and aids for HCPs and patients to use together.  Web-based seminars allow efficient and effective outreach to busy healthcare professionals.

NBCA’s CEO, Alan Brownstein, complimented the “proactive efforts of CDC, recognizing the need to fund a national public health program against blood clots and clotting disorders.” Brownstein added that “CDC’s leadership in addressing this issue is an important step towards implementing ‘The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent Deep Vein Thrombosis and Pulmonary Embolism’, which was issued last September.”

Under this five year grant from CDC, NBCA’s patient and HCP education programs will be carried out in cooperation with the NBCA-Minnesota Chapter and chapters in formation in North Carolina, District of Columbia and elsewhere in the U.S. Patients and HCPs will also be reached throughout the U.S. network of the 140-federally funded Hemophilia Treatment Centers, the CDC Pilot Thrombophilia Centers and the 1,500 anticoagulation clinics that are members of the Anticoagulation Forum.

The National Blood Clot Alliance

NBCA is a national voluntary community-based health organization with its home office in Tarrytown, New York.  NBCA’s Mission is: “To prevent, diagnose and treat thrombosis and thrombophilia through research, education, support and advocacy.”

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