Greater Washington Executives and Companies Make Bold Commitments to Heart and Brain Health

On the ninety-eighth anniversary of the founding of the American Heart Association, Greater Washington Region leaders are making bold commitments to stand with the Association as it drives toward its 2024 Impact Goal which is focused on improving cardiovascular health for all while identifying and removing barriers to health care access and quality.  

 “As champions for health equity, the American Heart Association believes that everyone everywhere deserves the opportunity to live a full and healthy life” said Owen Billman, chair of the Greater Washington Region Board of Directors and president of Blake Real Estate “Although we have made tremendous progress in fighting heart disease and stroke in our community, our work is far from complete. The American Heart Association Founders Day provides a great reminder that we must continue the fight so every single person in our community has access to the resources they need to be healthy.” 

The American Heart Association, the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke, was founded in 1924 by six cardiologists, and the distinguished achievements of the organization over nearly one hundred years are the result of the passion of more than 40 million volunteers, supporters and employees who together have raised – and funded — more than $4.8 billion in research 

For nearly a century, the American Heart Association has saved and improved lives, pioneered scientific discovery and advocated for healthy public policies in communities across the country. These bold moves have helped transform the nation’s overall health and significantly reduce heart disease and stroke death rates. 

Reaching for bold goals is made possible because of like-minded leaders who share in the vision of better health for Greater Washington. Leading supporters of the American Heart Association in the Greater Washington Region include: The Bender Foundation; Harrity & Harrity, LLP; The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Charitable Fund, a fund of the American Endowment Foundation, Johns Hopkins Medicine, Linda Gooden & Laird Lott, Kaiser Permanente, SAIC, and Sheehy Auto Stores 

Another bold commitment made by local leaders is the commitment to serve as chair for Greater Washington Region signature events through 2024. These seven chairpersons have demonstrated the leadership needed to catapult the American Heart Association into achieving their 2024 Impact Goal, signing on to chair future campaigns:   

  • Cynthia Cifuentes, Vice President of Brand, Communications and Community Engagement at Kaiser Permanente, and Dr. Ameya Kulkarni, an interventional cardiologist and the lead for cardiology and cardiovascular surgery at Kaiser Permanente, serving as 2022 Heart Challenge Co-Chairs 
  • Deb Wells and Kara Walsh of the Women’s Board of the American Heart Association serving as 2023 An Affair of the Heart Luncheon & Fashion Show Co-Chairs
  • John Harrity, Partner of Harrity & Harrity and David Jaffe, Associate Dean of Student Affairs at American University Washington College of Law, serving as 2023 Lawyers Have Heart 10K Race, 5K Run, and Fun Walk Co-Chairs  
  • Sanjay Sardar, Senior Vice President at SAIC, and Vishal Tulsian, Senior Vice President at SAIC serving as 2023 Heart Ball Co-Chairs 

 ”We are just getting started on the next chapter of our relentless work to end heart disease and stroke,” said Vishal Tulsian, Senior Vice President of SAIC.  “We know that we can’t achieve our monumental goals alone and are grateful to the Greater Washington community for the passion and commitment they give to support the mission of the American Heart Association.” 

Driving to achieve the 2024 Impact Goal, the American Heart Association will continue to lead breakthroughs in science and technology, improve health care and advocate for federal, state and local policies drive healthier lifestyles.  

To learn more about the American Heart Association visit, or contact for more information.