RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Who says longtime rivals Duke and North Carolina can’t work together to accomplish something?

Their two medical schools teamed up on a project to address how certain elements of structural racism can lead to poor heart health. The project claimed third place in an American Heart Association contest.

That group, along with the Association of Black Cardiologists, hosted a heart failure data challenge over six months. Researchers tested how heart failure can be linked to health disparities, and social and structural health determinants.

“Improving our understanding of how social determinants of health impact certain populations in order to develop consequential targeted solutions requires harmonization of different types of data,” said Dr. Michelle A. Albert, M.D., the ABC’s past president and the AHA’s president-elect.

The project was led by Dr. Vishal Rao, an advanced heart failure and transplant cardiology fellow at Duke, Dr. Robert Mentz, section chief of heart failure in the Duke Division of Cardiology, and Dr. Melissa Caughey, a cardiovascular epidemiologist from the UNC School of Medicine.

It investigated the tie between socioeconomic status disadvantage and heart failure outcomes in hospitals in patients from diverse neighborhoods in the Get With The Guidelines-Heart Failure registry.

The goal was to better understand how neighborhoods were linked to quality of care and outcomes in hospitals for patients with heart failure.

Those research findings are not yet publicly available because they are under consideration for publication in peer-reviewed journals, Duke Health said in a statement announcing the recognition.