HEALS Med-Tech: A hypertension Control Program for African Americans Using Telehealth Technologies


African Americans experience cardiovascular disease (CVD) and hypertension (high blood pressure) earlier in life, at a more severe level, and with more organ damage compared to other races. 

Evidence based research has strongly suggested the beneficial roles of medication adherence and lifestyle interventions in lowering blood pressure consistently. However, African Americans still experience a broad range of barriers including increased poverty, unequal medical treatment, and lack of access to healthcare which pose a significant concern to optimally managing their health.

There is an urgent need to study the role of lifestle intervention programs in Hampton Roads area to support and empower health disparate African Americans t take charge of their BP control. HEALS (Healthy Eating and Living Spiritually) Med-Tech is a program designed to address these disparities in the most vulnerable populations of Hampton Roads.

HEALS Med-Tech Program Overview

HEALS (Healthy Eating and Living Spiritually) Med-Tech is a 12-month behavioral modifcation hypertension management program. The program incorporated the social, economic, and cultural determinants of health and focuses on empowering and supporting the community to take charge of their BP control.

It is currently being facilitated in partnership with the Healthy Living Center in Norfolk, VA. 

The goal of the program is to help African-Americans who have been diagnosed with hypertension make better lifestyle and behavioral changes related to blood pressure and overall health. 

HEALS Med-Tech has 3 components: a) HEALS, which is an efficacy tested, group-based, behavioral lifestyle intervention modified from the NIH-funded DASH and PREMIER programs; b) Med-component which provides HTN manaement through medications and social support provided by PCP team; and c) Tech-component which provides an interactive telehealth app, CAREMINDr, by mobile phone to combat barriers to healthcare access.

Community-level support and group sessions take place at the Health Living Center in Norfolk, VA. Each session consists of a collection of vitals, an educational presentation, a physical activity session, followed by a DASH cooking demonstration. 

Those eligible include self-identified, African American male or female residents of Hampton Roads, between ages 18-80 with known hypertension and are seeing a primary care physician for at least 6-months prior to enrollment. 

Primary Goals

Our primary goals include:

  • Test the effectiveness and sustainability of HEALS Med-Tech in controlling blood pressure among high-risk African Americans compared to the standard care provided by primary care specialists
  • Build a collaborative learning community among the health disparate populations of Hampton Roads. 


  • Sunita Dodani, MD, Principal Investigator
  • James Newby, MD, Co-Principal Investigator
  • Olivia Newby, DNP, Research Team Member
  • Amanda Clarke, MS, Research Team Member
  • LaWanda Wood, DNP, Research Team Member
  • Ms. Sylvia Nowling, Research Team Member
  • Ismail El Moudden, DSc, Biostatistician 


Funding for this project was availale through the American Heart Association and Dr. Dodani's Start Up Account


VIDEO: Effectiveness of a Telehealth-Based Behavioral Lifestyle Program for Hypertension Control in African Americans: Results From Heals Med-Tech Randomized Controlled Study 


Contact Us

  • For more information please contact:
    • EVMS Sentara HADSI
      • 855 W. Brambleton Avenue
      • Norfolk, VA 23510
      • (757) 446-7991
    • Healthy Living Center
      • 930 Majestc Avenue, Suite #110
      • Norfolk, VA 23504