The American Heart Association (AHA) is a nonprofit organization in the United States that funds cardiovascular medical research, educates consumers on healthy living and fosters appropriate cardiac care in an effort to reduce disability and deaths caused by cardiovascular disease and stroke. They are known for publishing guidelines on cardiovascular disease and prevention, standards on basic life support, advanced cardiac life support (ACLS), pediatric advanced life support (PALS), and in 2014 issued the first guidelines for preventing strokes in women. The American Heart Association is also known for operating a number of highly visible public service campaigns starting in the 1970s, and also operates several fundraising events.
|Founder||Paul Dudley White (Co-Founder)|
|Purpose||"Building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke"|
|Headquarters||7272 Greenville Avenue|
Dallas, Texas 75231-4596 United States
|Joseph Ching-Ming Wu (President)|
Originally formed in New York City in 1924, the American Heart Association is currently headquartered in Dallas, Texas. The American Heart Association is a national voluntary health agency. The mission of the organization, updated in 2018, is "To be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives." The organization’s work can be divided into five key areas: research; heart and brain health; health equity; advocacy; and professional education and development.
In 1924, six cardiologists Paul Dudley White, Hugh D. McCulloch, Joseph Sailer, Robert H. Halse, Robert B. Preble, Lewis A. Conner, formed the Association for the Prevention and Relief of Heart Disease as a professional society for doctors. In 1948, the organization transitioned into a nationwide voluntary health organization. Since 1949, it has funded over $5 billion in cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and brain health research. The organization, now known as the American Heart Association, consists of over 33 million volunteers who are dedicated to improving heart health and reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the American Heart Association published several reports and guidelines focused on recommended lifestyles to improve cardiovascular health. This included a 1957 report that said: (1) Diet may play an important role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, (2) The fat content and total calories in the diet are probably important factors, (3) The ratio between saturated and unsaturated fat may be the basic determinant, and (4) A wide variety of other factors besides fat, both dietary and non-dietary, may be important.
By 1961, these findings had been strengthened, leading to the new 1961 American Heart Association recommendations: (1) Maintain a correct body weight, (2) Engage in moderate exercise, e.g., walking to aid in weight reduction, (3) Reduce intake of total fat, saturated fat, and cholesterol. Increase intake of polyunsaturated fat, (4) Men with a strong family history of atherosclerosis should pay particular attention to diet modification, and (5) Dietary changes should be carried out under medical supervision. These recommendations continued to become more precise from 1957 to 1980, but there maintained "a general coherence among them".
In 1994, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, an industry publication, released the results of the largest study of charitable and non-profit organization popularity and credibility. The study showed that the American Heart Association was ranked as the fifth "most popular charity/non-profit in America" of over 100 charities researched with 95 percent of Americans over the age of 12 choosing the Love and Like A lot description categories.
In 1998, the AHA created the American Stroke Association to help prevent strokes, improve treatments, and maximize recoveries. In 2003, the two organizations created the Get With the Guidelines (GWTG)-Stroke program. It is a voluntary registry that hospitals can use to receive the latest scientific treatment guidelines. The program also collects data on patient characteristics, hospital adherence to guidelines, and patient outcomes.
In 2004 the American Heart Association launched the "Go Red for Women" campaign specifically targeting women, with information about risks and action they can take to protect their health. All revenues from the local and national campaigns go to support awareness, research, education and community programs to benefit women.
In 2008, the AHA recommended “hands only” CPR as an option for bystanders who want to help keep a cardiac arrest victim alive. This method removes the practice of performing rescue breaths and depends solely on chest compressions.
On November 30, 2009, The American Heart Association announced a new cardiac arrest awareness campaign called Be the Beat. The campaign's aim is to teach 12- to 15-year-olds fun ways to learn the basics of cardiopulmonary resuscitation and how to use an automated external defibrillator.
2012–present: Recent events and activities edit
In 2012, the AHA renewed its focus on hands-only CPR by carrying out a national campaign to educate more people on how to perform this method. Jennifer Coolidge was a spokesperson for the campaign.
It also carried out a campaign in 2012 to educate more people on how to carry out hands-only CPR. The 2012 campaign, which began in New York City, had Jennifer Coolidge as the spokesperson.
In 2013, the American Heart Association issued a joint guideline recognizing obesity as a disease and recommending its treatment by weight loss.
In 2014, the American Heart Association issued its first guidelines for preventing strokes in women. Just as heart attack systems differ between men and women, men and women also face different stroke risks. For women, the guidelines for preventing strokes focus on factors such as birth control, pregnancy, and depression.
In 2016, the American Heart Association, Verily Life Sciences, and AstraZeneca invested $75 million in the One Brave Idea program. The money was awarded to institutions researching new biomarkers, such as genetic and molecular factors, that put individuals at risk for atherosclerosis. It was hoped that the research would help the AHA reach its goals of increasing cardiovascular health by 20% and reducing cardiovascular mortality by 20% by 2020.
In 2017, the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology, and nine other groups redefined high blood pressure for the first time in fourteen years. Under the new guidelines, the high blood pressure reading is 130 over 80, a change from the old 140 over 80. The change was made in recognition of the risk of heart disease, disability, and death faced by those with blood pressures at 130 over 80. The organization said that they hoped by identifying cardiovascular risks earlier, more people would be able to address the health risks by lifestyle changes instead of medication.
In 2018, the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology issued new guidelines for clinicians on the management of cholesterol as a way to reduce risk for heart attack and stroke. Newly included in the guidelines is a recommendation to use coronary artery calcium score if healthcare providers are having difficulty deciding if a patient could benefit from statin medications or should focus solely on lifestyle modifications. The cholesterol guidelines were last updated in 2013.
Focus Areas edit
Some of the American Heart Association’s research, campaigns, and other work is included here.
Since 1949, the AHA has funded over $5 billion in cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, and brain health research.
Strategically Focused Research Network (SFRN) edit
In 2014, the AHA announced the Strategically Focused Research Network initiative to address “key strategic issues as determined by the AHA Board of Directors.”
Heart and Brain Health edit
Go Red for Women edit
The Go Red for Women campaign started in 2004 to raise awareness that women, and not only men, are vulnerable to heart disease. Between 2016 and 2021, the AHA invested $20 million in the Go Red for Women Strategically Focused Research Network. The SFRN also received $52 million from the National Institutes of Health.
Be the Beat edit
The “Be the Beat” challenge encourages people to learn CPR.
Fellowship is open to wide-ranged medical professionals (physicians, scientists, etc.) who demonstrate a major and productive interest in cardiovascular diseases and stroke. The association has 16 different councils. Members (at the Premium Professional or Premium Professional Plus level) of one of these councils can apply for Fellowship. All applicants from all councils will be evaluated against the same criteria. Fellows are entitled to use the post-nominal designation FAmerican Heart Association (Fellow of the American Heart Association), which reflects not only the professional stature of the Fellow but also their record of valuable service to the association and the council. In addition, American Heart Association fellowship offers several benefits; e.g., reduced subscription rates for all American Heart Association print journals and reduced registration fees for American Heart Association Scientific Sessions. 
Key people edit
Nancy Brown has been the chief executive officer since 2009. Her salary in 2018 alone was $3,474,435. Ivor Benjamin, M.D., is the volunteer president of the American Heart Association for its 2018–19 fiscal year. James Postl serves as the volunteer chairperson of the board with his two-year term ending on June 30, 2019.
This section needs expansion. You can help by adding to it. (January 2015)
The following journals are published by the American Heart Association:
- Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology
- Circulation Research
- Circulation Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology
- Journal of the American Heart Association
- Circulation: Genomic and Precision Medicine
- Circulation: Cardiovascular Imaging
- Circulation: Cardiovascular Interventions
- Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes
- Circulation: Heart Failure
- Circulation Research
- Stroke: Vascular and Interventional Neurology
- Annals of Internal Medicine: Clinical Cases
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