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IMB Bank & Victor Chang Institute to roll-out largest ever public mobile heart health check tour in NSW and the ACT.

The IMB Bank Community Foundation are pledging $150,000 to the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute to fund what is to be the largest ever mobile public heart health check tour in NSW and the ACT.

Recent findings from the National Heart Foundation1 showed that people who live in regional and rural Australia are at a 50% increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. Studies also show that hospital admissions relating to cardiovascular disease are far greater in regional and rural NSW compared to metro areas.

Hospitalisations as a result of a heart attack are double and hospitalisation due to heart failure is 90% higher in regional and rural Australia. It is believed this is a result of a higher incidence of heart disease risk factors in these areas combined with a lack of access and distance to health professionals and health services and even lack of access to healthy food, also found by the National Heart Foundation.

Today, the Victor Chang Institute, together with IMB Bank, is pleased to announce that funding from the IMB Bank Community Foundation will support a 50-stop public-access tour across NSW and the ACT taking heart health testing to Australians from metro to regional NSW, with a view to testing as many people as possible. Conservative estimates suggest the unit should be able to administer between 5,000 to 6,000 tests, checking the three key modifiable risk factors that contribute to heart disease: blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol.

The IMB Bank Community Foundation will, in 2019, celebrate their 20th year of donating money to charities and community projects in their core areas: Sydney, The Shire, Illawarra, ACT, and the NSW South Coast. They have just opened applications for funding in 2019. Organisations can apply by going to www.imb.com.au/communityfoundation

As recipients of a Victor Chang Ambassador Award in acknowledgement of their support of the Victor Chang Institute, the foundation has been a supporter for seven years giving $215,000 in grants, and are particularly thrilled to provide funds to expand a much-needed community service.

Robert Ryan, Chief Executive of the IMB 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. As we head into our 20th year of funding, we are pleased to expand our support through this significant project with the Victor Chang 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 far-reaching impact across much of NSW.”

Mr Ryan added, “To date, the Foundation has supported over 650 local community projects and we’re on the lookout for more projects to support in 2019. Applications for funding are now open and we would encourage anyone with an idea or project to improve their local community to apply.”

Testing patients first-hand, Jayne Baric, Victor Chang Heart Health Check Manager says, “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. I despair to think of the statistics if we’re not out there, testing them and recommending a GP or hospital visit. If it weren’t for organisations such as the IMB Bank, there’s no doubt the cardiovascular disease stats would tell a different story.”

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 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.”

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