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This project is a behavioral change intervention adapted by Project GRACE to reduce cardiovascular disease risk among African-Americans in Nash and Edgecombe Counties, a rural region in eastern North Carolina. Heart Matters is an 18-month comprehensive lifestyle intervention, focused on lifestyle changes, such as diet and exercise, to decrease blood pressure. Heart Matters has interactive group sessions, where participants have discussions about healthy eating and staying active. In addition, Heart Matters has several one-on-one sessions with an interventionist, which focuses on the participants’ individual progress towards reducing their risk of heart disease. The Heart Matters program was adapted from an evidence-based intervention focused on reducing blood pressure.

Partner Organizations

  • Project Momentum Inc.
  • James McFarlin Community Development
  • UNC Center for Health Equity Research

Funding Source

R01 HL 120690
3/15/2014 – 2/28/2019


  • Corbie-Smith G, Wiley-Cene C, Bess K, Young T, Dave G, Ellis K, Hoover SM, Lin FC, Wynn M, McFarlin S, Ede J. Heart Matters: a study protocol for a community based randomized trial aimed at reducing cardiovascular risk in a rural, African American community. BMC Public Health. 2018;18(1). doi:10.1186/s12889-018-5802-1. 
  • Ellis KR, Young TL, Carthron D, SImms M, McFarlin S, Davis KL, Dave G, Corbie-Smith G, Cene C. Perceptions of rural African American adults about the role of family in understanding and addressing risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Am J Health Promot. 2018;33(5):708-717. doi:10.1177/0890117118799574.
  • Frerichs, L., Bess, K., Young, T. L., Hoover, S. M., Calancie, L., Wynn, M., McFarlin, S., Cené, C. W., Dave, G., & Corbie-Smith, G. (2020). A Cluster Randomized Trial of a Community-Based Intervention Among African-American Adults: Effects on Dietary and Physical Activity Outcomes. Prevention science : the official journal of the Society for Prevention Research, 21(3), 344–354.

Conference Presentation

  • “Using Community Engagement to Adapt and Implement an Evidence-Based CVD Intervention in Rural African American Communities.” 2019 Society of General Internal Medicine (SGIM) Annual Meeting, Washington, DC, May 2019.


Learn More

Download the HeartMatters Info Sheet (v.2019).


Last updated: 7/28/2021