Physician roles in improving cardiovascular health: counseling patients and involvement in the community.

Philip Curd, Kevin Pearce, Keisha Schumacher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in Kentucky. No previous research on Kentucky primary care physician concern for CVD--or possible roles in promoting cardiovascular health--has been published. We report here the results of an original research project addressing this information gap. The results provide an opportunity to review and discuss the evidence base relating to ways that primary care physicians can use their time, talents, and influence to have the greatest impact on the cardiovascular health of their patients and their communities, and we provide some specific guidance for how this can be done. We used a key informant survey of 241 primary care physicians in 26 Kentucky counties to gather more information regarding physician concern for CVD and roles that physicians can play in promoting cardiovascular health. We found that the majority of respondents were concerned about cardiovascular disease and its risk factors, thought that public programs were important for the reduction of cardiovascular risk in their communities, and felt that tobacco settlement money was a valid resource for funding such programs. Three fourths of the physicians were willing to participate in community efforts to improve health. With varying frequency, the physicians reported that they used office visits to counsel patients and parents on reducing the risk factors for CVD. A majority of the physicians reported that they counseled smoking cessation in at least 75% of the office visits of smokers. However, only 9% of them counseled on the benefits of fruits and vegetables in at least 75% of office visits. We conclude that Kentucky primary care physician community leaders are concerned about the consequences of cardiovascular disease in their communities. In addition to counseling patients in their offices, they can have a role in community efforts to promote cardiovascular health.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-442
Number of pages10
JournalThe Journal of the Kentucky Medical Association
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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