Richmond leaders join local initiative to drive equitable health for all

American Heart Association’s Leaders of Impact campaign runs today through Nov. 15

RICHMOND, VA – September 29, 2023Where someone lives should not dictate how long they live. Five Richmond leaders are joining the American Heart Association’s Leaders of Impact campaign to combat health inequities in RVA. Studies show[1] a near 20-year life expectancy gap in zip codes across Greater Richmond and the Tri-Cities. For example, in Richmond City’s Gilpin Court, life expectancy is 67 years compared to 85 years in Westover Hills. According to the American Heart Association, a global force for healthier lives for all, this can be caused by social determinants of health and other barriers to achieving health equity for all communities — factors that include structural racism[2] and access to quality healthcare[3].

“It’s unacceptable that people have different life expectancies based on where they live,” said Chandra Hurst, American Heart Association Board Chair. “People who grow up without equitable access to healthcare develop problems that stay with them for their entire lives. We have to address this.”

The Leaders of Impact initiative engages community leaders across 150 cities to take part in a seven-week challenge to improve health by raising awareness and funds to support the life-saving work of the American Heart Association.

Richmond nominees were selected to take part in Leaders of Impact because of their passion and drive to make a difference.  This year’s nominees are:

  • Hayley Evans, Business Development Manager, W.M. Jordan Company
  • Mike King, The Voice of RVA Business Media, MIKEKINGBIZ
  • Krissy Natalini, American Heart Association Volunteer
  • Parker Reinecke, Recruiting Support Coordinator, Fahrenheit Advisors
  • Leonard Sledge, Director of the Department of Economic Development, City of Richmond

Beginning on World Heart Day, September 29, nominees will work to raise funds and awareness while engaging their networks to directly impact the health of Greater Richmond. Funds raised will support the American Heart Association’s 2024 Impact Goal which aims to advance cardiovascular health for all, including identifying and removing barriers to equitable health care access and quality. Currently, the American Heart Association is working with local stakeholders and community members to address barriers and inequities around hypertension prevention and management, nutrition security and cardiac community response.

“We are thrilled to have these leaders join us in our relentless efforts for a world of longer, healthier lives” said Michelle Nostheide, American Heart Association Richmond Executive Director. “Cardiovascular disease remains a top killer in Richmond. That’s why it’s critical for us to engage volunteers who are passionate about making a lasting impact on their community”.

The Richmond Leaders of Impact winner will be announced following the campaign culmination on National Philanthropy Day, November 15 and will be celebrated at the Richmond Heart Ball on April 27, 2024 at Main Street Station.

For more information on the Leaders of Impact Initiative or to support one of this year’s nominees, go here.


About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

For Media Inquiries:

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Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721) and