Siblings Tackle Heart Disease from Hometowns to the Halls of Science

JoAnn Parker is Tri-County Heart Walk Director in New York’s lower-Hudson Valley. She spends her days organizing events,recruiting volunteers and sponsors, and she helps create community connections which can help save lives.

JoAnn Parker, AHA Heart Walk Director and her brother, Ray Ebert, PhD, National Institutes of Health

Parker leveraged her contacts to help make the case for Tobacco 21 legislation in two counties in her region. Both counties passed laws to change the purchase age to 21 this year.

While she is entrenched in the AHA’s local impact, her brother, Ray F. Ebert, PhD, works at the other end of the spectrum in cardiovascular care at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. He is co-moderating one of the sessions in the Frontiers in Stem Cells symposium, which runs all day on Tuesday, November 14th.  He’s been attending Sessions since 2009 and this year his session is titled, “Clinical Studies of Cell Therapy I.”

We caught up with Ray at Sessions and here’s his take on the AHA’s impact:

“My first grant was an AHA grant-in-aid. It wasn’t big but it helped get me other grants down the road,” he said. AHA grants-in-aid support independent investigators with innovative and advanced projects related to cardiovascular disease and stroke. They are given to investigators early in their career and helps to keep great talent in the research pipeline.

“At Sessions, you get perspective on what’s going in various fields beyond the ones that you’re directly involved with. I get updates in the latest in my field as well, mainly regenerative medicine.”

“JoAnn’s a great fundraiser. AHA is a great facilitator for a lot of different areas and they’re always on top of what the community needs. Right now. the community needs more than just basic science and more than just clinical science. It needs outreach, information, incentives to change lifestyles because at the end of the day a lot of things like obesity and uncontrolled hypertension are at the root causes of a lot of things we’re dealing with. It’s a great service it performs for the community.”

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