Bringing Cardiovascular Care to the Heart of Communities

Tara and Fredrick Robinson, co-founders of the Black Heart Association (BHA), know firsthand the toll that heart attacks and strokes can take on their community. Their advocacy story began when, after multiple visits to her doctor and numerous dismissed symptoms, Tara suffered three heart attacks.

Tara's story is not uncommon. While millions of people in the United States are affected by cardiovascular disease (CVD), Black individuals are disproportionately impacted due to factors including living with elevated levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also called "bad" cholesterol, and lipoprotein(a), also called Lp(a)*.1,2

Despite being at higher risk for heart events, Black Americans, particularly those in underserved communities, may lack access to quality testing, screening and educational services.3,4,5 This leads, in part, to the higher rates of heart attacks and strokes experienced by this community, and people like Tara.6

Making a Difference for All Hearts

Amgen is pursuing a bold ambition to cut the number of cardiovascular events in half by 2030 alongside organizations like the Black Heart Association. Making a difference for the heart health of communities starts by addressing major risk factors like LDL cholesterol (LDL-C) and Lp(a).

To support this mission and expand access to LDL-C and Lp(a) testing, Amgen is contributing a $1 million sponsorship to Black Heart Association's "Guard Your Heart" National Tour. The 24-month program will go into Black and Brown communities and give people the opportunity to complete bloodwork and lipid panels, as well as blood pressure checks, during culturally immersive events.

During its two-year run, "Guard Your Heart" aims to increase LDL cholesterol and Lp(a) testing for Black Americans in the U.S., with a goal of achieving 10,000 screenings. Participants will also have the opportunity at each event to speak with a healthcare provider about their results.

Hear more about this program from co-founders Tara and Frederick Robinson below.

Increasing Representation in Clinical Trials

In addition to collaborating with organizations to make a difference for patients, Amgen works to increase representation in clinical studies and expand public understanding of how risk factors disproportionately affect different populations.

Through its RISE (Representation in Clinical Research) team, Amgen is acknowledging and addressing the systemic barriers for underrepresented populations that commonly plague clinical research.

One such effort, the African American Heart Study, was initiated in February 2023. In collaboration with the Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC) and the Morehouse School of Medicine, this observational study is designed to better understand the association between Lp(a) levels and incidence rates of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) in Black Americans.

Achieving equitable care requires a multi-pronged approach involving thorough cross-collaboration, better research, organizational support and a shared mission to serve all patients. Through the ongoing programs that Amgen supports, the company hopes to lead by example in driving change, directly into the heart of communities.

*Lp(a) is a type of lipoprotein that carries cholesterol, like LDL, and having high Lp(a) is almost entirely genetic.7,8 The structure of Lp(a) makes it "sticky," which may be why high levels in the blood can cause cholesterol to form plaques, blocking arteries and increasing the risk of cardiovascular events.7,9


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  2. Carnethon MR, Pu J, Howard G, et al,; American Heart Association Council on Epidemiology and Prevention; Council on Cardiovascular Disease in the Young; Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing; Council on Clinical Cardiology; Council on Functional Genomics and Translational Biology; and Stroke Council. Cardiovascular Health in African Americans: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2017 Nov 21;136(21):e393-e423. doi: 10.1161/CIR.0000000000000534. Epub 2017 Oct 23. PMID: 29061565.
  3. Reyes-Soffer G. The impact of race and ethnicity on lipoprotein(a) levels and cardiovascular risk. Curr Opin Lipidol. 2021 Jun 1;32(3):163-166. doi: 10.1097/MOL.0000000000000753. PMID: 33900275; PMCID: PMC8087179.
  4. Dorsch MP, Lester CA, Ding Y, Joseph M, Brook RD. Effects of Race on Statin Prescribing for Primary Prevention with High Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease Risk in a Large Healthcare System. J Am Heart Assoc. 2019;8(22):e014709. - DOI - PubMed – PMC.
  5. Graham G. Disparities in cardiovascular disease risk in the United States. Curr Cardiol Rev. 2015;11(3):238-45. doi: 10.2174/1573403x11666141122220003. PMID: 25418513; PMCID: PMC4558355.
  6. Agarwala, Anandita, et al. "Racial Disparities in Modifiable Risk Factors and Statin Usage in Black Patients with Familial Hypercholesterolemia." Journal of the American Heart Association, vol. 10, no. 17, 7 Sept. 2021,
  7. American Heart Association. Lipoprotein (a). Accessed May 2024.
  8. American Heart Association. AHA names top heart disease and stroke research advances of 2020. (2021, December 16). Accessed May 2024.
  9. U.S. National Library of Medicine. (n.d.). Lipoprotein (a) blood test: Medlineplus medical test. MedlinePlus. Accessed May 2024.

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