Hampton Roads executives and companies make bold commitments to support a new century of lifesaving work

With Bold HeartsTM American Heart Association celebrates 100 years of work dedicated to heart disease and stroke.

A celebration of a century of profound impact on heart health and well-being, the new year marks the 100th birthday of the American Heart Association and the start of the organization’s Bold HeartsTM celebration. Beginning a new century of mission critical work, the organization continues the steadfast commitment to making the bold moves needed for new paths of scientific discovery, eradicating barriers to health equity and advocating for healthy policy so that every member of the Hampton Roads community has the opportunity for a longer, healthier life. That pledge to the community is shared with likeminded community leaders and organizations who are relentless in their support to eliminate heart disease and stroke in the new century.

“As we close out our first 100 years and begin the next, our work remains as important as ever. Throughout the last century, the American Heart Association has moved health and well-being forward in an important and critical way,” said Dr. Dena Krishnan, American Heart Association Hampton Roads Board President. “We now forge ahead into our second century, fueling science and innovation, funding lifesaving research and boldly standing for the rights of patients and caregivers, to empower healthier communities and transcend the way we live, work and play.”

Since its founding on June 10, 1924, the American Heart Association, devoted to world of healthier lives for all, has helped transform the nation’s health and significantly reduce heart disease and stroke death rates. But there is much work to be done. In Hampton Roads hypertension continues to be a growing issue with over 40% of adults in some cities reporting that they suffer from high blood pressure. Additionally, there’s as much as a seven-year life expectancy gap, based upon where you live in the community.

“This relentless pursuit will continue until heart disease and stroke are the stories of our past and not of our future. Because a world with equitable health and well-being fuels a future that is yours to create,” said MeShall Simmons, Executive Director for the American Heart Association Hampton Roads. “We know we can’t do this work alone. Volunteers, donors and advocates are key to accelerating this lifesaving work.”

Leadership of the signature events of the American Heart Association Hampton Roads have demonstrated their commitment to the transformative work ahead in the second century. The bold leadership needed to catapult the American Heart Association’s next 100 years of relentless work and transformative innovation starts today.

The 2024 Hampton Roads chairpersons are:

  • Amber Price, President of Sentara Health as Go Red for Women co-chair
  • Alexis Swann, President of TowneBank Peninsula and Williamsburg as Go Red for Women co-chair
  • Cathie Vick, Chief Development and Public Affairs Officer of The Port of Virginia as Heart Ball co-chair
  • Ashford Denman, Vice President, Cardiovascular Service Lines of Sentara Health as Heart Ball co-chair
  • Julia Jones, Vice President of Quality at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of HII as Heart Walk chairperson

The American Heart Association’s centennial is a celebration of the lifesaving achievements and shared vision for a bold new century that will exponentially advance heart and brain health. With a focus on the work still to be done, bolstered by a commitment to learn from the past, the Association celebrates what it has accomplished, thanks to the hard work and dedication of generations of volunteers and donors.

Five Hampton Roads area donors have pledged support of donations of time, talent and funds as Second Century campaign donors. The leading organizations and generous individuals include:

  • Chesapeake Regional Healthcare
  • Obici Health Foundation
  • Darshna and Bharat Amin
  • Sentara Health
  • Bon Secours Hampton Roads
  • HII and its Newport News Shipbuilding division

The full list of Second Century donors can be viewed here.

The American Heart Association was founded by six cardiologists, but the distinguished achievements of the organization for the past century are the result of the passion of more than 40 million volunteers, supporters, employees, and more than $5 billion invested in scientific research.

To learn more about accomplishments in the first 100 years of the American Heart Association or how to participate in the Second Century campaign, contact MeShall Simmons at meshall.simmons@heart.org for more information.


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 a century. During 2024 – our Centennial year –  we celebrate our rich 100-year history and accomplishments as we forge ahead into our second century of bold discovery and impact. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.