Massachusetts volunteers recognized for service to American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is pleased to announce that several Massachusetts volunteers have been named recipients of the 2020 Eastern States Volunteer Awards.

As a volunteer-led organization, the American Heart Association relies on the passion and generosity of thousands of volunteers every day who move its mission forward.

Here are this year’s local winners.

Distinguished Achievement Award


  • Barry Greene
  • Massachusetts Mission: Lifeline Comprehensive Stroke Center Workgroup

 This award is given to an individual, group of individuals or an organization that has recently (within the past two years) contributed significantly to the success of the Eastern States region.

There are two local 2020 recipients of this award, Barry Greene and the Massachusetts Mission: Lifeline Comprehensive Stroke Center Workgroup. Greene is the former president of Alnylam Pharmaceuticals, a biotech company based in Cambridge, Mass., and the chairman of the 2020 Boston Heart and Stroke Ball. He is also co-chairing the 2021 Heart of Boston campaign. Massachusetts Mission: Lifeline Comprehensive Stroke Center Workgroup is a volunteer group of stroke care leaders working to enact policy change that will improve health outcomes of stroke patients.

Barry Greene
Barry Greene first got involved with the American Heart Association in December 2019 as a member of the Boston Heart and Stroke Ball Executive Leadership Team. After just a few months, he agreed to serves as the 2020 chairman of the ball. He transformed the event. Here are some highlights from his tenure:

  • In 2020, Greene led the Boston Heart Ball campaign with a $50,000 personal gift and a $250,000 EmPOWERED to Serve sponsorship from his company, Alnylam. This sponsorship is providing health education to under resourced communities in Boston.
  • Greene incorporated community impact and mission messaging into every external conversation he held, resulting in a $600,000 impact and new Executive Leadership Team members and donors
  • Greene helped build an extremely successful virtual event, which served as a model for other markets in the region.

Here’s Greene in his own words: “We wanted the ball to be one component of our efforts, but not the only component. We wanted it to be about community outreach, improving the health of our community, science, and bringing people together.”

It was this vision and leadership that guided the American Heart Association through the challenges it faced during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. Despite having to pivot to a virtual event, the organization still broke the record for the highest fundraising for the Boston Heart and Stroke Ball to date and hit national benchmarks for growth (around $585,000).

In addition to raising funds, Greene has given one of the most valuable gifts a volunteer can give – his time. He has attended numerous meetings with the American Heart Association and plays an active role in external meetings. He has participated in national calls, provided support to events in other Eastern States markets, and will be part of a Reimaging Heart Ball panel discussion with American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown.

Massachusetts Mission: Lifeline Comprehensive Stroke Center Workgroup
Led by Dr. Steve Feske, of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Dr. Thabele Leslie-Mazwi, of Massachusetts General Hospital, this group has made significant contributions in organizing the system of care for large vessel occlusion (LVO) patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. Starting in March 2020, Drs. Feske and Leslie-Mazwi led the coordination of thrombectomy capable centers across New England. During the height of the coronavirus pandemic, this workgroup met weekly to establish lines of communication between stroke centers and to plan for the capacity to offload LVO patient transfers.

The group also created a shared Google Doc, showing the status of each center’s ability to accept an LVO patient. As a result of this, hospitals that closed their LVO services due to the limited availability in their ICUs were able to find alternative locations for patients that required the immediate and life-saving thrombectomy procedures as the pandemic continued into April, May and June.

The workgroup also discussed best practices and institutional adaptations to hospital procedures for COVID-19 positive patients, including changes to imaging, PPE procedures and post-op care. Members of the workgroup participated in a Get with the Guidelines – Stroke national webinar, sharing their experience with over 700 participants. Other members wrote op-eds and spoke with Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker about communicating to the public that hospitals remain the safest place to be if someone experiences heart attack or stroke symptoms during the pandemic.

Legacy Leadership Award


  • Dr. Lee Schwamm
  • Elizabeth L.B. Greene

This award recognizes current and alumni volunteers for exceptional service and contributions to the Eastern States region over a significant period, at any level of the organization (local, regional, national).

There are two local 2020 recipients of this award, Dr. Lee Schwamm and Elizabeth L.B. Greene. Schwamm is a neurologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. Green is a partner at the law firm Mirick O’Connell and a member of the Association’s Board of Directors in central Massachusetts

Dr. Lee Schwamm
Dr. Lee Schwamm is a stroke expert who has been a dedicated advocate for the creation of a stroke system of care. This legislation would allow first responders to transport stroke patients to the facilities best equipped to treat them, rather than the closest, ensuring they immediately get the care that could save their lives and prevent disability. He has taken time to meet with key members of state Legislature to advocate for the passage of the policy.

In addition to his work in advocacy, Dr. Schwamm has been a volunteer chair of several national American Heart Association committees and has been engaged in Boston development work as a past chair of the Boston Heart and Stroke Ball.

Elizabeth L.B. Greene
Elizabeth L.B. Greene first became Involved with the American Heart Association in 1997, leading the effort to rekindle an organization’s presence in central Massachusetts.  She worked to build the Association’s local board and started Worcester Heart Awareness Week, as well as the first local Heart Walk. She has also played a key role in advocating for American Heart Association legislative policies on Beacon Hill and in Washington, DC. Her law firm, Mirick O’Connell, has participated in every Heart Walk, Heart Ball and Wear Red Day since she became a volunteer. This year, they had a Boston Lawyers Have Heart 5K team.

Greene also actively recruits volunteers, donors and supporters. She personally accompanies staff on meetings and serves on Association committees to ensure that the organization’s programs are delivered in the community. Out of all the Association’s volunteers in central Massachusetts, Greene is most responsible for the organization’s local success over the past two decades.