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Sanofi-aventis Partners with the African American Community in Memphis to Increase Health Awareness, Access to Resources and Help Improve Patient Care
Date:1/22/2009

The Sanofi-Aventis U.S. Community Health Partnership - It's In Our Hands - Has Been Designed To Help Improve Patient Care By Connecting Patients And Caregivers To Healthcare Resources And Services In Local Communities

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Jan. 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Sanofi-aventis announced the initiation of its Community Health Partnership (CHP), It's In Our Hands, in the Memphis area, seeking to link African American residents with local healthcare professionals and health resources in their neighborhoods. Cultural barriers and lack of access to preventive care are key contributing factors to poor health outcomes among African Americans and by providing patients with culturally relevant health information, the program aims to decrease healthcare disparities and encourages individuals to take action toward better health.

In Memphis alone, the health statistics in the African American community are considerable:

  • African Americans in Shelby County are:
    • 2.5x more likely to die of diabetes than whites
    • 1.1x more likely to die of cerebrovascular disease than whites
  • Memphis-Shelby County has a rate of hypertension 1.6X higher than the national average.
  • 1 in 4 African American adults in Memphis suffers from insomnia.
  • Nationwide, African Americans have a higher rate of peripheral artery disease than any other ethnic group.
  • African Americans have the highest rate of first-time occurrence of deep vein thrombosis.

To address the need for improved health education and ongoing medical care, the CHP will work to build healthy communities by strengthening the connections among patients, healthcare providers and the community-based health resources already available.

"Our goal with this partnership is not to create a new program within the Memphis community, but to support and enhance access to the resources already available," stated Dennis Urbaniak, Vice President of Innovation and New Customer Channels, sanofi-aventis. "By establishing meaningful, long-term connections among patients, healthcare providers and resources, we hope to encourage the community to take advantage of its available resources to achieve better health. The necessary components are already in place, we are simply helping to strengthen links within the community and extend their reach to more people."

One of the key elements in maintaining and strengthening local links is the community health liaison (CHL), who will be based in Memphis to facilitate continued community resource collaboration. The liaison will help bridge the information gap between local health resources and patients by facilitating the flow of information between community groups and the African American community.

"There is a large unmet need in the national African American community for better access to care and improved health outcomes," stated Cevette Hall, APN, Board of Directors, Healthy Memphis Common Table. "To address this, we engaged in dialogue with both national and local community organizations to build our understanding of the African American community's needs and to identify how the CHP can help bridge health disparities and help patients take their personal healthcare to the next level."

Sanofi-aventis will work with local community outreach organizations to develop a Health Resource Guide and other supporting materials containing detailed information on existing health programs to help community members locate and utilize the health resources in the Memphis area. The Health Resource Guide will be distributed to patients in Memphis through the local physicians and community-based programs associated with the partnership.

"Although a range of health resources are often available to patients in major cities and urban environments, there often is not enough awareness or dialog about available programs, treatments or access to proper care. Consequently, these resources often go underutilized and the patients that need them most remain underserved," continued LaDorris Knowles, Community Health Liaison. "By directly linking the many facets of the African American community, the CHP seeks to change this, by empowering patients to improve their health outcomes through increased awareness and access to the resources in their communities."

In addition to Memphis, the CHP will be initiated in 5 other cities, including: Baltimore and Newark, New York, San Antonio and Miami and will provide members of these communities with actionable steps to combat a variety of medical conditions and disease states including diabetes, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure, insomnia and deep vein thrombosis.

For more information about the Community Health Partnership, please call 866-61-HANDS (866-614-2637).

About sanofi-aventis

Sanofi-aventis U.S. is an affiliate of sanofi-aventis, a leading global pharmaceutical company that discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions to help improve the lives of patients. Sanofi-aventis is listed in Paris (EURONEXT: SAN) and in New York (NYSE: SNY).

For more information, visit: www.sanofi-aventis.us or www.sanofi-aventis.com


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SOURCE Sanofi-aventis
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