House panel advances South Asian heart health bill

Pramila Jayapal
Rep. Pramila Jayapal; photo credit: Indian American Impact Fund

Legislation to provide $1 million in annual grants for research and prevention of heart disease in South Asian communities

A US House panel has advanced a critical legislation that would provide grants of up to $1 million per year to fund research and prevention of heart disease in South Asian communities.

A subcommittee of the US House Energy and Commerce Committee voted on May 11 to advance the South Asian Heart Health Awareness and Research Act introduced in the House in June last year by Indian American member Pramila Jayapal.

Read: Jayapal’s South Asian Heart health bill moves up (September 15, 2020)

South Asian Americans are four times more likely to suffer from heart disease than most people, and experience heart problems nearly decade earlier on average.

While South Asians make up only 23% of the global population, they account for 60% of all heart disease cases. And, tragically, the mortality rate for heart disease is a staggering 40% higher among South Asians.

The bill establishes, or authorizes to be established, programs that support heart-disease research and awareness among communities disproportionately affected by heart disease, including the South Asian population of the United States.

Specifically, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention must award grants to states for awareness initiatives, educational materials, and research catalogs regarding the prevalence of heart disease, including the association of type 2 diabetes, with respect to the South Asian population and other at-risk populations.

Applauding the House panel for moving the bill forward, Indian American Impact Executive Director Neil Makhija stated, “This is a crucial piece of legislation for addressing the heart health crisis afflicting South Asian communities.”

Read: US House passes South Asian heart health awareness bill (October 5, 2020)

“Today’s vote is an important step in the right direction, and we strongly encourage the full Energy and Commerce Committee and House leadership to promptly move this bill along to consideration by the full House.”

“We are grateful to Representative Jayapal for her leadership and advocacy in addressing this major problem in our communities, and look forward to bipartisan passage in the House, followed by swift adoption in the Senate,” Makhija added.

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