American Heart Association

American Heart Association
Founded February 26, 1924
  • 7272 Greenville Avenue
    Dallas, TX 75231-4596
Key people
Nancy Brown – Chief Executive Officer, Meighan Girgus – Chief Mission Officer, Rose Marie Robertson – Chief Science Officer, Sunder Joshi – Chief Administrative Officer and CFO, Suzie Upton – Chief Development Officer
Slogan Life is Why
Mission "Building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke"
Website Official Website

The American Heart Association (AHA) is a non-profit organization in the United States that fosters appropriate cardiac care in an effort to reduce disability and deaths caused by cardiovascular disease and stroke. Originally formed in New York City in 1924 as the Association for the Prevention and Relief of Heart Disease,[1] it is currently headquartered in Dallas, Texas. The American Heart Association is a national voluntary health agency.

They are known for publishing standards on basic life support and advanced cardiac life support (ACLS), and in 2014 issued its first guidelines for preventing strokes in women.[2] They are known also for operating a number of highly visible public service campaigns starting in the 1970s, and also operate a number of fundraising events. In 1994, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, an industry publication, released a study that showed the American Heart Association was ranked as the 5th "most popular charity/non-profit in America."[3] Elliott Antman, M.D., is president of the American Heart Association for its 2014–15 fiscal year.

The Mission

The American Heart Association publishes a standard for providing basic and advanced life support, including standards for proper performance of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). The AHA offers the most widely accepted certification for basic life support (BLS). The AHA is now also a provider of training for first aid, in addition to CPR. The AHA also operates an affiliated organization, the American Stroke Association, which states they focus on "care, research and prevention of strokes."


1915–1980s: Founding and early years

A Health Promotion coordinator at Fleet Activities Sasebo, from Augusta, Ga., checks a sailor's blood pressure during a "Go Red for Women" heart disease awareness campaign in 2009.

The American Heart Association grew out of a set of smaller precursor groups. The primary precursor was the Association for the Prevention and Relief of Heart Disease, formed in New York City in 1915, to study whether patients with heart disease could safely return to work. Several similar organizations formed or evolved in Boston, Philadelphia, and Chicago in the 1920s. Recognizing the need for a national organization to share research and promote findings, the American Heart Association was formed in 1924 by six cardiologists representing several of these precursor groups.[1]

The AHA remained small until the 1940s when it was selected for support by Procter & Gamble, via their PR firm, from a list of applicant charities. Procter & Gamble gave $1.5 million from its radio show, Truth or Consequences, allowing the organization to go national.[4]

Recommendations regarding limiting saturated fats and cholesterol emerged from a series of scientific studies in the 1950s, and related American Heart Association dietary guidelines emerged between 1957 and 1961. The 1957 AHA report included: (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 beside fat, both dietary and non-dietary, may be important. By 1961, these finding had been strengthened, leading to the new 1961 AHA 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 maintained "a general coherence among them".[5]

1990s–2000s: Awareness campaigns

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 5th "most popular charity/non-profit in America" of over 100 charities researched with 95% of Americans over the age of 12 choosing Love and Like A lot description category for the American Heart Association.[3]

On October 28, 2009 The American Heart Association and the Ad Council launched a hands-only CPR public service announcement and website.[6] On November 30, 2009, The American Heart Association announced a new cardiac arrest awareness campaign called Be the Beat.[7] 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.

In 2010 the AHA launched the "Go Red for Women" campaign. Historically men have been the primary subjects of heart disease and stroke research. "Go Red for Women" specifically targets women with information about risks and action they can take to protect their health. All revenues from the local and national campaigns goes to support awareness, research, education and community programs to benefit women.[8]

In May 2010, the AHA endorsed the Nintendo Wii Console. The AHA Heart Icon is featured on the box of the console as well as on the Wii Fit Plus and Wii Sports Resort titles.

2012–15: Recent events and activities

Jump Rope for Heart, pictured in 2014. Volunteers with the 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment assisted the students in celebrating the end of the school's fundraising event, "Jump Rope for Heart", to raise funds for the American Heart Association.

It also carried out a campaign in 2012 to educate more people on how to carry out hands-only CPR.[9][10][11] The 2012 campaign, which began in New York City, had Jennifer Coolidge as the spokesperson.[12]

In 2012, singer-songwriter and actress Michelle Williams became an ambassador for the Power to End Stroke campaign. In speaking of her role she said "I am honored to partner with the campaign […] My father had a stroke in 2005 due to smoking, diabetes and an unhealthy diet, and my grandmother was diagnosed with having a stroke in 2006 when she went to her doctor for a simple outpatient procedure. I am bringing awareness to people so that strokes can be prevented. Let's take care of ourselves…the first step is knowledge about your health."[13]

In 2014, the American Heart Association issued its first guidelines for preventing strokes in women.[2]

In 2015, the American Heart Association officially endorsed the Tobacco 21 campaign, urging local, state and national governments to raise the tobacco and nicotine sales age from 18 to 21.[14]

Key people




See also


  1. 1 2 "History of the American Heart Association". Retrieved 11 March 2015. External link in |website= (help)
  2. 1 2 "First guidelines issued to prevent stroke in women". CBS News.
  3. 1 2 "The Charities Americans Like Most And Least," The Chronicle of Philanthropy, December 13, 1996 and USA Today, December 20, 1994, "Charity begins with health", FINAL 01D
  4. Tye, Larry (1998). The Father of Spin: Edward L. Bernays & the Birth of Public Relations. p. 74. ISBN 978-0-517-70435-6.
  5. Kritchevsky, David (9 April 1997). History of Recommendations to the Public about Dietary Fat. Experimental Biology 97, Evolution of Ideas about the Nutritional Value of Dietary Fat. New Orleans, LA: American Society for Nutritional Science.
  6. American Heart Association, Ad Council launch Hands-Only CPR campaign
  7. Association's Campaign Inspires Teens to Use CPR, AEDs to Save Lives
  8. "About Go Red". Retrieved 29 August 2015.
  9. Deena Centofanti (June 6, 2012). "'Stifler's mom' helping promote hands only CPR". Fox 2 Detroit. Archived from the original on October 20, 2012. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
  10. Maria Masters (June 6, 2012). "The New Rules of CPR". Family Circle. Archived from the original on June 8, 2012. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
  11. Pedro F. Frisneda/EDLP (June 6, 2012). "Neoyorquinos aprenden a salvar vidas". ImpreMedia. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
  12. "Media Center". American Heart Association. Retrieved June 9, 2012.
  13. 1 2 Greer, Whitney (April 6, 2012). "Michelle Williams: The Power To End Stroke". Retrieved 8 October 2012.
  14. "States Should Heed Strong Support for Raising Tobacco Age of Sale, Says American Heart Association | American Heart Association".

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