Doctor and patient discussing risksThe federal government will help fund the American Heart Association’s participation in an initiative to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.

Called Million Hearts, the campaign was launched in 2011 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services lead the effort. The AHA is a private-sector partner in the initiative, which falls in line with the nonprofit’s goal to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent and to reduce deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent by 2020.

The AHA will receive $500,000 this year and an undisclosed amount over the next four years.

The association will help the CDC distribute and track use of the Million Hearts Hypertension Change Package, a list of strategies medical professionals can use to help patients control high blood pressure.

The AHA will also work with national, state and local health leaders to educate people about how to prevent heart attacks and strokes.