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Standardizing Blood Pressure Measurement Training


Stony Brook Health Sciences programs to participate in AMA initiative   

STONY BROOK, NY, September 19, 2023 – Hypertension affects some 120 million Americans, yet according to multiple medical data sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 25 percent of those with hypertension have the condition under control. Training future healthcare professionals how to consistently take accurate blood pressure measurement (BMP) is an important aspect to monitoring patients’ blood pressure. Several Stony Brook Health Sciences programs have been selected to participate in a new American Medical Association (AMA) initiative to standardize BMP training.

Stony Brook is one of five institutions nationwide to receive a grant from the AMA to begin the training module during the 2023-24 academic year. Faculty from the Renaissance School of Medicine, the School of Nursing, and the School of Health Professions’ Physician Assistant Program are involved in the training via the grant. Students from these Schools will also participate in community outreach programs that provide blood pressure screening such as at CommUniversity Day on September 23, and through Stony Brook Medicine’s Healthy Libraries Program (HeLP).

Stony Brook Physician Assistant Program faculty oversee students learning blood pressure measurement skills as part of the AMA grant initiative.
Credit: Stony Brook Medicine

“This grant provides an exciting opportunity to enhance the teaching of critical skills involved in blood pressure measurement, and it is a vehicle for interprofessional collaboration among our Stony Brook faculty, students, other universities, and the AMA,” says Lynn Timko-Swaim, MS, PA-C, Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Physician Assistant Education in the School of Health Professions, and the Principal Investigator of the grant to Stony Brook.

Timko-Swaim also says the project will also address inequities in health care in communities that need better access to primary care services. Faculty and students will use the new educational modules to help standardize BPM and incorporate that in communities with residents who suffer disproportionately from controllable medical problems such as high blood pressure.

The modules from the AMA are titled BPM Essentials, Self-Measured BP Essentials, BPM Refresher, Measuring BP in Real World Settings, and Practice Measuring BP. The modules were designed in 2021 and updated this year. Here is a link to the student BPM learning series.

A total of more than 500 Stony Brook University students within a variety of education levels will participate in the initiative at different times within their programs, and with different AMA modules. For example, the BPM Essentials module will be incorporated in the curriculum of  first year medical, nursing, and PA students.

“Despite the fact that inaccurate blood pressure measurements are linked to errors in diagnosing and treating high blood pressure, and can lead to more adverse outcomes, medical and health profession students are not currently receiving consistent training in BP measurement,” says AMA President Jesse M. Ehrenfeld, MD, MPH. “Through this grant program, the AMA is expanding its efforts to uniformly train more medical and health profession students to take accurate blood pressure measurements. We believe this is a critical effort given that the percentage of American adults with hypertension who have their blood pressure under control has significantly declined in recent years.”

For more about the AMA initiative to standardize BMP training across the U.S., see this press release.

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