About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. Founded by six cardiologists in 1924, our organization now includes more than 22.5 million volunteers and supporters. We fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide critical tools and information to save and improve lives. Our nationwide organization includes 156 local offices and more than 3,000 employees. We moved our national headquarters from New York to Dallas in 1975 to be more centrally located. The American Stroke Association was created as a division in 1997 to bring together the organization’s stroke-related activities.
What We Do: To improve the lives of all Americans, we provide public health education in a variety of ways. We’re the nation’s leader in CPR education training. We help people understand the importance of healthy lifestyle choices. We provide science-based treatment guidelines to healthcare professionals to help them provide quality care to their patients. We educate lawmakers, policymakers and the public as we advocate for changes to protect and improve the health of our communities.
Our Lifesaving History
Before the American Heart Association existed, people with heart disease were considered to be doomed to complete bed rest – or worse.
But a handful of pioneering physicians and social workers believed it didn’t have to be that way. They conducted studies to learn more about heart disease, eventually leading to the founding of the American Heart Association in 1924.
“We were living in a time of almost unbelievable ignorance about heart disease,” said Paul Dudley White, one of six cardiologists who founded the organization.
The early American Heart Association enlisted help from hundreds, then thousands, of physicians and scientists. The association reorganized in 1948, transforming from a scientific society to a voluntary health organization composed of both science and lay volunteers and supported by professional staff. Since then, the American Heart Association has grown rapidly in size and influence – nationally and internationally.
In 1975, the headquarters moved from New York City to Dallas to be more centrally located. Volunteer-led affiliates formed a national network of local organizations providing research funding, education, community programs and fundraising.
In the 1980s, the association became a much more visible champion of public health, starting advocacy efforts that remain active today locally across America in all 50 states and in Washington. Large gifts allowed the association to support new research projects and education programs, including more efforts to address heart disease and stroke in women and minorities.
Meet the team
Mariell JessupImmediate Past President
Mariell Jessup, M.D., is the immediate past president of the American Heart Association. She is medical director of the Penn Heart and Vascular Center, professor of medicine and associate chief-clinical affairs at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia. She is a nationally recognized expert in heart failure and co-editor of Heart Failure: Providing Optimal Care and A Clinician’s Guide to Heart Failure Management in the Ambulatory Setting.
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In 2014-15, Bernie Dennis is chairman of the board of the American Heart Association, his second consecutive year in the role. As chairman, Dennis is responsible for the overall administration of business affairs, public relations and fundraising and will preside over meetings of the board of directors and administrative cabinet.
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Alvin Royse is the chairman-elect of the American Heart Association and was their secretary-treasurer for the 2012-13 fiscal year. He retired as a senior partner with Deloitte & Touche in San Francisco in 2010, where he served as Global and US National Managing Partner for Tax Industries, and Tax Marketplace Development.
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Elliott Antman, M.D., is president of the American Heart Association for its 2014-15 fiscal year. As president, Antman is chief volunteer scientific and medical officer, responsible for medical, scientific and public health matters. He is a professor of medicine and Associate Dean for Clinical/Translational Research at Harvard Medical School and a senior physician in the Cardiovascular Division of the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.
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Ron HaddockImmediate Past Chairman
Ron Haddock is the immediate past chairman of the American Heart Association. He is executive chairman of AEI Services, LLC, and serves on the boards of Alon USA and Petron Corporation. He was Chairman and CEO of FINA from 1989 until 2000.
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Mark Creager, M.D., is president-elect of the American Heart Association. He is a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Vascular Center at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. He is vice chairperson of the association’s Science Advisory & Coordinating Committee and a member of their Board of Directors, Administrative Cabinet, Advocacy Coordinating Committee, Corporate Operations Coordinating Committee and Nominating & Awards Committee.
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David Bush is treasurer of the American Heart Association for its 2014-15 fiscal year, his second consecutive year in this role. Bush is executive vice president of The First, A National Banking Association, in Hattiesburg, Miss. As treasurer, he is responsible for the funds and securities of the American Heart Association.
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Nancy BrownChief Executive Officer
Nancy Brown has been Chief Executive Officer of the American Heart Association since 2009. During her tenure as CEO, the association has become a global leader in the discovery and dissemination of heart disease and stroke science. Under her leadership, the association announced its bold 2020 Health Impact Goal: To improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent.
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Meighan GirgusChief Mission Officer
Meighan Girgus is Chief Mission Officer of the American Heart Association, responsible for a wide range of organizational efforts that support our mission: Building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
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Rose Marie RobertsonChief Science Officer
Rose Marie Robertson is Chief Science Officer of the American Heart Association. In this role, she is responsible for the overall science and medical policies and initiatives of one of the nation’s leading science-based organizations, including its work in supporting and accelerating biomedical research, in publishing the leading medical journals in cardiovascular and stroke science, and in providing a home for the broad range of professional members of the association.
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Sunder D JoshiChief Financial Officer/Chief Administrative Officer
As Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer, Sunder Joshi is responsible for a wide range of operations at the American Heart Association. In addition to overseeing the finances of the association, he also is in charge of technology, human resources, facilities and many other business functions necessary to keep a nationwide organization operating effectively.
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Suzie UptonChief Development Officer
As Chief Development Officer for the American Heart Association, Suzie Upton oversees the association’s nationwide fundraising and volunteerism efforts. She is accountable for volunteerism strategy and fundraising that includes the field campaign, planned giving, individual and major gifts, and corporate relations. She is also accountable for creating additional revenue sources through innovative approaches to fundraising and new business models.
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