Lancaster and Lebanon county executives and companies make bold commitments to heart and brain health

On the ninety-eighth anniversary of the founding of the American Heart Association, leaders across Central Pennsylvania 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.

“Everyone, no matter where they live, deserves the opportunity to live a healthy life and the American Heart Association is committed to this goal locally in Lancaster and Lebanon counties” said Justin Walzl, president of the American Heart Association Lancaster/Lebanon board of directors and cardiology nurse practitioner at WellSpan Health. “We’ve made tremendous progress in fighting heart disease and stroke, improving patient outcomes and helping more people live longer, healthier lives. We hope to accelerate the progress as the Association approaches its centennial anniversary.”

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 organizations who share in the vision of better health in central Pennsylvania. Every year, many companies pledge their support of donations, time, talent and funds, including UPMC and UPMC Health Plan, which have pledged their support through 2024.

Another bold commitment made by local leaders is the commitment to serve as chair for signature events. These chairpersons stepped up in 2022 to help catapult the American Heart Association into achieving their 2024 Impact Goal and set a strong course toward the Association’s centennial year in 2024.

  • Rachel Kohr, manager of cardiology services at WellSpan Good Samaritan Hospital, as 2022 Lebanon Heart Ball chair.
  • Ross Biggs, non-invasive physician at The Heart Group of Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, and Dr. Zachary Huston, interim section chief of non-invasive cardiology and non-invasive physician at The Heart Group of Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health, as 2022 Lancaster Heart Walk co-chairs.

”The work of the American Heart Association has transformed our understanding of heart health and has saved lives of people right here in our community,” said Allison Leitzel-Williams, chair of the American Heart Association Lancaster/Lebanon board of directors and president of Leitzel’s Jewelry. “The Association will continue to be relentless in its pursuit of ending heart disease and stroke, and we thank every member of our community who has supported our mission and will lead us into our next chapter.”

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,