The Maryland Advisory Council on Heart Disease and Stroke

UPDATE: Meetings of the Advisory Council on Heart Disease and Stroke have concluded for 2017. Effective October 1, 2017, there will be a new State Advisory Council on Health and Wellness. This Council will include a Heart Disease and Stroke Committee.


The Maryland State Advisory Council on Heart Disease and Stroke had its beginning in 1972 with the Hypertension Detection Follow-up Program (HDFP), a study to evaluate the effectiveness of a statewide, coordinated, multidisciplinary approach to identifying, treating and following–up individuals with hypertension. The study was supported by a National Heart Lung and Blood Institute grant. At that time, only four States received grant money for the demonstration project - Maryland, Connecticut, South Carolina, and California.

In 1976, under Subtitle 2 of the Health-General Articles, Article 12, the Maryland General Assembly created the “Maryland High Blood Pressure Commission.”  Its purpose was to coordinate services for the effective detection and management of high blood pressure.  In July 1986, the law was amended to expand the Commission’s responsibilities to include smoking, high blood cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, alcohol abuse, sedentary life style, and changed its name to the “Maryland Advisory Council on High Blood Pressure and Related Cardiovascular Risk Factors.”

On July 2, 2001, the Maryland General Assembly took action to rename the Council the “State Advisory Council on Heart Disease and Stroke.”  The broadening of the Council’s scope and membership reflects the State’s recognition that stroke is the number three cause of death and disability in Maryland, heart disease being the number one.

The economic impact of both diseases is staggering.  In 2005, the nation’s cost for medical expenses and lost productivity related to heart disease and stroke was an estimated $394 billion. A recent DHMH report indicates that, in the year 2001, Maryland hospitalizations for heart disease and stroke cost $890 million.

Roles of the Council

The Council on Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention acts in an advisory capacity to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The Council works collaboratively with a broad range of agencies and organizations to develop and promote educational programs in the prevention, early detection, and treatment of heart disease and stroke, targeted to high-risk populations and to geographic areas where there is a high incidence of heart disease and stroke.
The Advisory Council also establishes guidelines for DHMH that cover:
  • Primary prevention
  • Detection
  • Case finding
  • Diagnosis
  • Diagnostic work up
  • Therapy
  • Long term management
  • Any other services that the Advisory Council thinks should be covered
Once every 2 years, the Advisory Council submits a report to the Governor evaluating heart disease and stroke prevention, education, and treatment programs.