The Bank of Kentucky and R.C. Durr Foundation Invests $1.25 Million to Create Heart Healthy Community Wednesday July 16, 2014 To download a pdf of this news release, please click here. Edgewood, KY—The Bank of Kentucky has made a major investment to improve the heart health of our region. St. Elizabeth Foundation announced that The Bank of Kentucky and R.C. Durr Foundation have committed $1.25 million toward the St. Elizabeth Heart & Vascular Institute campaign. This is a second major commitment by The Bank of Kentucky in recent years, following its collaboration with St. Elizabeth Healthcare in 2010 to sponsor the first cardiovascular mobile unit in Northern Kentucky. In 2013, the St. Elizabeth CardioVascular Mobile Health Unit provided approximately 4,000 life-saving screenings for nearly 1,500 individuals throughout the region. "It is unacceptable for our customers, employees and region to needlessly suffer from heart and vascular disease," said Mr. Bob Zapp, President of The Bank of Kentucky who recently finalized their continued commitment to decrease heart and vascular disease in Northern Kentucky. "Our state is among the ten least healthy in the country. Because of it, we are losing friends, family and neighbors to the number one disease in our region. We believe we can help to prevent much of this. Our commitment is to create a healthier region with St. Elizabeth leading the way." “We also recognize that there are a number of increasing stresses placed on healthcare systems, such as decreasing reimbursements, an increasing need to invest in new technologies that can save lives, and increasing overall cost of care. Without the support of the community, hospitals like St. Elizabeth could not provide the level of care we want for our friends and family members. To truly make a difference, they need our help,” continues Mr. Zapp. The bank has joined St. Elizabeth to help reduce heart- and heart-attack related deaths by 25 percent in the Northern Kentucky region during the Institute’s first 10 years. The Heart & Vascular Institute campaign is focused upon raising community awareness and funds to enhance prevention/wellness, technology and care, and research/education. This campaign is focused upon a three-pronged approach: prevent cardiovascular disease, diagnosis the disease earlier for those with early signs of the disease, and provide effective acute and chronic treatments for those with the disease. The St. Elizabeth Foundation’s Heart & Vascular Institute Campaign is focused upon providing $15 million toward a total cost of $30 million for the Institute’s development, including new equipment, additional programs and services, cutting-edge applied research and integrated facilities built around the needs of the community. "St. Elizabeth offers a unique ability to work collaboratively with The Bank of Kentucky," says John S. Dubis, President and CEO of St. Elizabeth Healthcare. "We have a long, distinctive history of diagnosing and treating individuals with cardiovascular disease. And there are many stories of individuals whose lives have been saved by the CardioVascular Mobile Health Unit sponsored by The Bank of Kentucky. This campaign today has been made possible by the vision and commitment not only of The Bank of Kentucky, but also our cardiovascular physicians who have joined together to take an aggressive approach to impact heart and vascular disease.” "From research, we know that heart and vascular disease develops early in one's life, even in the early twenties," said Dr. Victor Schmelzer, cardiac surgeon and Interim Medical Director of the St. Elizabeth Heart & Vascular Institute. "Our challenge is to develop early awareness to change lifestyles and behaviors of our future leaders. In cooperation with schools, we believe we can make that difference." The mobile unit program at the schools provides information about the incidence of heart and vascular disease, the ways to prevent disease and information for students to share life-changing messages with their parents. "This disease is the leading cause of loss of life in our region, countless lost productive work days and major challenges for family members who must help a family member cope with the disease. In order to have a strong economy, families and individuals, this is a challenge we must address now,” added Dr. Schmelzer. For more information and to access a video about the St. Elizabeth Heart & Vascular Institute campaign, go to http://www.stelizabeth.com/hvicampaign.