Improving Heart Health, Advancing Public-Private Partnerships

Our board member John Rice, who serves as vice chair of GE, wrote an interesting commentary for CNBC recently about how to tackle big healthcare issues through innovative public-private partnerships. John used the example of heart health, noting the tremendous impact that cardiovascular disease has in America, where it is the number one killer and causes 1 in every 3 deaths. 

As John noted in his piece, innovative partnerships can help solve widespread public health and economic challenges. He wrote, “Leveraging the combined strengths of the public and private sectors and uniting various organizations around shared purpose can help increase access to care, reduce costs and deliver innovative health-care solutions in more places.”

Our work at the CDC Foundation aims to advance the lifesaving work of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) through public-private partnerships, so I was interested to learn more about GE’s involvement in Million Hearts®, a five-year national U.S. initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. John points out that CDC and others are “working alongside other federal agencies and private-sector organizations like the GE Foundation to make a long-lasting impact against cardiovascular disease.” 

John points out in his commentary that heart disease and stroke are among the most widespread and costly health problems facing America’s employers today, yet they are also the most preventable. Earlier this year, the CDC Foundation launched Business Pulse: Heart Health, to share how CDC works to protect Americans’ heart health, a strategy that can improve worker productivity and lower healthcare costs. 

At the CDC Foundation, we share John’s point of view about how partnerships can contribute to solving some of today’s toughest health challenges, and we applaud private-sector organizations that are dedicated to making a long-lasting impact against cardiovascular disease.


Charles Stokes is president and CEO of the CDC Foundation.