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Local heart surgeon gets the word out

Dr. Hilton Hudson is chief of Cardio-thoracic Surgery for Franciscan Physician's Hospital. he is also the founder of Hilton Publishing, which began in 1996 as the only national publishing house dedicated to minority health and wellness but now serves all communities.

Dr. Hilton M. Hudson II is one of less than 40 board-certified, African-American interventional cardiologists practicing in this country. There's an irony in this as heart disease impacts a disproportionate number of African Americans.

Not content to just practice medicine, Hudson doubles as president and CEO of Hilton Publishing Co., now known as HPC, headquartered in Munster. He formed his company after a major publisher rejected a book he had co-authored, "The Heart of the Matter: The African American Guide to Heart Disease, Heart Treatment and Heart Wellness." The reason: The book was written for a minority population.

He became a publisher to ensure "those in medically vulnerable and underserved communities had access to reliable, current and culturally sensitive health information," says Hudson, chief of Cardio-thoracic Surgery, Franciscan Physician's Hospital.

"Often times, many in these communities have a fear and mistrust of the health care system," said Hudson, national ambassador of the American Heart Association. "I wanted to create resources for them that would alleviate their fears and allow them to be proactive and take pride in taking better care of themselves. It is also very important to me that our materials are written in a way that was easy to understand and would allow the reader to work in partnership with their health care provider to have an effective dialogue that would exact change."

Hilton Publishing, founded in 1996, began as the only national publishing house dedicated to minority health and wellness but now serves all communities with its books such as "Diabetes in Black America: Public Health and Clinical Solutions to a National Crisis," "High Blood Pressure: The Black Man and Woman's Guide to Living with Hypertension" and "The Heart of the Matter: Essential Advice for a Healthy Heart from Renowned Surgeons and Cardiologists." Offerings include weight-loss books, faith-based health books and books written in Spanish. Hilton Publishing also acquires media resources for hospitals across the nation

The company also offers custom publishing via its website at There's a section where people can write about their health problems for advice.

Hudson, an Indiana native given a key to the city of Indianapolis and recipient of the Governor's 2008 Indiana Black Expo Award, also founded the Health Literacy Foundation as another way of providing health information to those lacking ready access.

The company relies on feedback from health care providers for ideas on what to publish.

"They keep us informed of health care issues affecting their respective communities, and they also provide us with relevant data and information that help ensure that our materials are up-to-date and timely," he says. "At the end of the day, our commitment is to the communities we serve, which ultimately is the basis for all of our publishing decisions."

Hudson said the company is working on a product to help decrease hospital re-admissions. Hudson said the product will be just like an iPad but with apps that measure medication, blood pressure and heart rate." He also recently launched the website to help patients feel more comfortable in their bodies.

Despite his role in the company, Hudson is still a full-time heart surgeon, and has no plans of putting that hat away anytime soon.

"I love it," he said. "It's a whole different part of my personality."