Project Summary

Public-private partnerships can make significant impact on the state of the nation’s health. Learn how the public and private sectors are using innovative approaches to collaboration, information dissemination, and project management to prevent heart disease and stroke, two of the nation’s leading causes of death.

Project Team

Team Members
Michael Schooley, CDC
Peter Briss, CDC
James Galloway, HHS
Judy Hannan, CDC
Joseph McCannon, CDC
Farzad Mostashari, Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT
Janet Wright, CDC

Project Details

Million Hearts™ is a national initiative to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes in America over five years. The initiative will achieve its goal through improved clinical and community performance on four key evidence-based prevention strategies: appropriate use of aspirin, blood pressure control, cholesterol management, and smoking cessation.  As a result of the initiative, federal agencies have created a uniform set of measures to monitor clinical performance in implementing the interventions and have aligned incentives for clinicians and health systems to achieve high performance. In addition, clinical innovations to health care delivery and payment systems—health homes, patient-centered care homes, bundled payments, and accountable care organizations—will further improve focus on achieving the strategic targets. While the initiative was just launched in September 2011 and the number of events prevented is not yet known, these innovative approaches are exceeding expectations. Public and private partners are taking action to adopt the approach and interventions as their commitment to Million Hearts™.

The Million Hearts™ initiative is based on three key innovations: alignment of existing federal programs focused on the strategies, meaningful incentives for partners, and a multi-disciplinary approach to partner engagement and action. First, the initiative convened five teams (e.g., science, partnership, communication, field strategies, and management) to ensure a strategic focus for engagement and action. The result was a targeted approach to recruiting key partners to join the initiative and raise awareness of the initiative. New media technologies such as electronic pledges, Facebook and Twitter appeals, and other use of social media were key to initial mobilization of high-profile partners and alignment of efforts. In the first six months, this collaborative approach has yielded more than 4,000 pledges, 3,228 Facebook fans, more than 2,000 media mentions, and nearly 1.8 billion media impressions—a publicity value worth $1.5 million.

Second, Million Hearts™ used incentives to encourage collaboration from stakeholders. This approach included two key elements: making it easy for partners to co-brand their events and activities with the Million Hearts™ logo, and sharing core information resources among partner organizations. In the past 6 months, this novel approach has resulted in more than 35 public and private stakeholder organizations working together to deliver aligned and focused prevention strategies. The results of the model have led to an escalating number of new partners who are joining the initiative.

Third, innovative management techniques were used to enhance partner opportunities. This included alignment of federal programs for clinical care quality measures and supporting clinical quality initiatives that provides great potential to ensure maximum outcomes from preventive health care services. This approach enabled the support Million Hearts™ while minimizing the need for significant new financial resources.

Additional Information


HHS Innovates is one of the ways we are building an innovative culture at the Department of Health and Human Services. HHS Innovates is a contest that recognizes and rewards action taken on good ideas. To date, HHS employees have submitted nominations of innovations for nearly 500 exciting new staff-driven innovative projects, and our employees have cast over 60,000 votes to select 42 finalists over seven rounds. This project is one of the finalists of HHS Innovates. Learn more about HHS Innovates.