AHA CEO Nancy Brown Opens International Stroke Conference with $230 Million Commitment to Heart and Brain Health

“We’ve put ourselves on the clock. We aim to achieve measurable results by our 100th anniversary in 2024.” These words from American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown during the opening session of the 46th International Stroke Conference truly set the tone for the meetings. The conference, the world’s premier meeting dedicated to the science and treatment of cerebrovascular disease, features three days of more than 1,300 presentations in 17 categories presented in a mixture of live and On-Demand environments.

During the opening session, Brown announced that the AHA is investing more than 230 million dollars to achieve their 2024 Impact Goal:

Every person deserves the opportunity for a full, healthy life. As champions for health equity, by 2024, the American Heart Association will advance cardiovascular health for all, including identifying and removing barriers to health care access and quality.

She stated that the funds would be spent strategically, guided by the AHA’s 2024 Impact Goal and 10 supporting commitments, which include, “new research programs and grants focused on health inequalities and structural racism. Underrepresented racial and ethnic groups will find expanded opportunities within science and medicine. Other commitments include advocating against harmful products like sugary beverages and tobacco and working with the federal government to expand hypertension management in under-resourced communities as well as sharpening our focus on disparities in our scientific journals.”

While the pandemic and other recent events have brought issues to the forefront, the American Heart Association has long been a champion of equal access to health and well-being for all people everywhere.

“Imagine having a stroke in Montana,” Brown continued, “because more than half of the state’s residents live far from urban hospitals and stroke neurologists, care can be compromised. One way we are addressing this challenge is through Quality Improvement programs – in September, we launched Mission: Lifeline Stroke in Montana.” The program helps identify the gaps that lead to slower and less effective patient care, and with the providers in Montana, closes those gaps through change in protocols and processes, and in providing resources such as life-saving equipment.

AHA CEO Nancy Brown Opens International Stroke Conference with $230 Million Commitment to Heart and Brain HealthThe AHA also announced a $121-million-dollar nationwide hypertension control initiative that they will co-lead with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). $32 Million of the total for that program is being directed towards addressing hypertension in racial and ethnic populations who have higher rates of high blood pressure and are at increased risk for COVID-19 and severe chronic conditions such as heart disease and stroke.

“Our volunteers and staff will team with HHS to support federally funded health centers and associated communities. Together, we will provide evidence-based education to providers and clinicians and engage and train patients to effectively control their hypertension. This is exactly the kind of work that will help us reach our 2024 Impact Goal,” she said.

Although the conference is virtual for the first time in the International Stroke Conference’s history, the sharing of the latest science and practice of stroke and brain health has all the attendees looking forward to the next two days.

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