Nurses on the road for life-saving mission with NSW’s largest heart health check tour to kick-off in The Hunter

The IMB Bank Community Foundation funds vital Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute heart health mission as stats show highest risk of heart disease in the Hunter region

 February 12th, 2019: Thanks to a $150,000 grant donated by The IMB Bank Community Foundation, a team of nurses from the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute is hitting the road from February 19 for what is to be the largest ever mobile public heart health check tour in NSW and the ACT, starting in the Hunter Region.

It will be a 50-stop public-access tour testing between 5,000 to 6,000 Australians, checking the three key modifiable risk factors that contribute to heart disease: blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol. From metro to regional NSW, nurses will test as many people as possible, starting in The Hunter, where various reports have shown the region suffers one of the highest risks of cardiovascular disease in the country.

The first stop will be at Charlestown Square Shopping Centre from 9am on February 19th. Other Hunter locations include Muswellbrook, Singleton, Cessnock and Maitland.

A 2017 report from the Australian Catholic University1 showed the extent of cardiovascular risks in the region. In the electorate of Lyne, which covers Karuah, Gresford, Dungog and part of Maitland, the report revealed the worst rate of hospitalisation for coronary artery disease of all the federal electorates in Australia.

Further alaming statistics from the same report revealed that, in Newcastle, more than 5,000 people aged 35 or under were admitted to hospital for coronary artery disease, and 1,168 people in that age bracket were hospitalised for heart failure, while 2,072 presented with an abnormal heart rhythm.

2018 Statistics also revealed that women in the Hunter region are more likely to die from heart disease (50.2 per 100,000 women) than the average for NSW women (48.8 per 100,000 women).

With cardiovascular disease killing more people in Australia than cancer, and with those in regional and rural Australia at an increased risk, now more than ever is there a need to cover regional Australia, says mobile heart health check Manager, Jayne Baric.

“For the last seven years, we have been travelling throughout regional Australia and we often see people with the three classic signs of potential cardiovascular disease: elevated blood pressure, elevated blood sugar and high cholesterol. With higher than ever rates shown in The Hunter, it’s of critical importance we get up there, testing locals and recommending a GP or hospital visit.

“Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death in Australia, and we also know that 90% of Australians have at least one modifiable risk factor. The heart health checks not only test against these risks, providing recommendations for GP follow up as required, but also aims to educate people about these risk factors and increase their awareness of their own heart health,” says Jayne.

Professor Bob Graham, Executive Director of Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute says, “The Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute is incredibly proud to be partnering with IMB Bank to roll out mobile heart health checks across regional NSW and ACT. Heart disease remains the single biggest killer of all Australians, so education is critical when it comes to understanding the symptoms and modifiable risk factors of cardiovascular disease. This initiative is helping bridge the gap in accessible medicine, and we’re excited to be a part of it.”

In acknowledgement of their ongoing support, the Foundation has been a recipient of the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute Ambassador Award. The IMB Bank Community Foundation has been a supporter for seven years, providing $215,000 in grants and is particularly thrilled to further expand a much-needed community service.

Robert Ryan, IMB Bank Chief Executive stated, “Supporting our local communities is very important to us and we are very proud of the projects we support through the IMB Bank Community Foundation. Now we are in our 20th year of funding, we are pleased to expand our support through this significant project with the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute. Cardiovascular disease is an important issue for Australian men and women, and we anticipate the benefits of this heart health check tour will have a strong impact in The Hunter.

Mr Ryan added, “To date, the Foundation has supported nearly 700 local community projects and we’re now on the lookout for more projects to support in The Hunter for the first time. Applications for funding are still open and we would encourage anyone with an idea or project to improve their local community to apply.”

The IMB Bank Community Foundation celebrates their 20th year of donating money to charities and community projects and is excited to share funding in The Hunter in 2019 for the first time. Organisations can apply for funding now by going to

Find out more about our Heart Health Check Service 

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