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American Heart Association – A relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives.

This blog post was written by John Meiners, Chief of Mission Aligned Businesses and Healthcare Solutions at the American Heart Association. From humble beginnings, the AHA has grown into the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. AHA is a 2018 Global Health Council member as part of our Member Spotlight series.

Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, accounts for more than 17 million deaths per year… one third of all global deaths. By 2030, this figure is expected to reach approximately 23 million, with an estimated global cost more than a trillion dollars by 2030.

The American Heart Association believes everyone should live longer, healthier lives, and our international department focuses on that effort outside the U.S. We have been in the business of saving lives since 1924. The support of more than 30 million passionate supporters and volunteers, key partners and a global network of relationships helps us deliver lifesaving programs and training into hospitals, businesses, schools and homes.

Image credit: American Heart Association

Over 10 years ago, we began a concerted effort to address cardiovascular disease around the world, offering technical support, science exchange and training to governments, healthcare providers, hospital and pre-hospital systems, workplaces and communities.

Through groundbreaking science and programs targeting governments, healthcare providers, hospital and pre-hospital systems, workplaces and communities, our system of care approach—in coordination with local heart health advocates, societies and government leaders, drives global heart and brain health around the world, in many ways and through a variety of programs.

In support of a country’s health priorities, we provide our technical expertise and experience in developing both patient and public programs and campaigns to improve the quality of life and promote a culture of health. With our partners, we share the best in science with people around the world through our annual Scientific Sessions, International Stroke and 10 specialty conferences, and by supporting joint science sessions with other countries’ cardiology societies at their local meetings.

We create hundreds of educational programs and tools that help people improve their health, like My Life Check® – Life’s Simple 7 and Go Red For Women® (now in nearly 50 countries).

Photo Credit: American Heart Association

We help improve systems of care with programs like Get with the Guidelines (GWTG), addressing hospital and healthcare provider systems of care, and Saving Children’s Lives in Botswana, Tanzania, and India designed to empower community health workers with skills to reduce under five mortality in low to middle income (LMIC) areas.

We train 22 million people around the world annually – from advanced healthcare providers, corporate employees to new parents – in first aid, CPR and advanced life support. We work in coalition with key global partners like the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations (UN) and the World Economic Forum to establish targets. Then, with partners like the Global Health Council, World Heart Federation, Non-Communicable Disease Alliance, and sister cardiology societies and foundations we speak with one voice to advocate for sound health and public policies around prevention and control of cardiovascular disease and stroke.

In the last few weeks, we’ve worked with multiple partners to spread awareness around the importance of prevention, treatment, and the management of cardiovascular diseases. On September 29, the American Heart Association participated in the World Heart Federation’s annual World Heart Day recognition. Leveraging this year’s theme of My Heart, Your Heart, we asked our supporters to make a promise as an individual to get more active, say no to smoking or eat more healthily … as a healthcare professional to save more lives … or as a politician to implement an NCD action plan. A simple promise… for MY HEART, for YOUR HEART, for ALL OUR HEARTS.

In the lead up to the United Nations High Level Meeting on Noncommunicable Diseases, we brought together global health leaders to address the world’s leading killers. In support of the Sustainable Development Goals and Universal Health Care, the event included two panel discussions with patient advocates and global health experts focused on innovative practices and solutions aimed to deliver patient centered and quality health care. Patient stories and international examples of disruptive innovations at the primary, secondary, and tertiary levels were shared with nearly 200 attendees. Panelists included Hannah Amora, supported by the Global Health Council, a committed mother and advocate for congenital health disease and global advocate for NCDs.

With a presence nearly 100 countries around the world, the American Heart Association is working to create a world where your risks for, and survival from heart disease and stroke are not determined by where you live.

Congressional Briefing: The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America

Organized by Trust for America’s Health, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the American Heart Association

The State of Obesity 2017: Better Policies for a Healthier America
February 14
11:45 AM – 1:00 PM
SVC-203 Capitol Visitor’s Center
Washington, DC


Lunch will be provided starting 11:30 AM

Presented by Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in collaboration with the American Heart Association, this congressional briefing will explore The State of Obesity 2017: Better Policies for a Healthier America. Speakers will cover the latest national obesity rates and trends, highlight promising approaches states and localities have undertaken to ensure healthy communities, and offer recommendations for leaders and policymakers to prioritize efforts that help all Americans lead healthier lives.


Finding Common Ground to Improve Cardiovascular Outcomes in People’s Republic of China

This guest post was provided by GHC member, the American Heart Association.

Member Spotlight- GHC July

Ministry of Science and Technology Director General JIN Xiaoming and AHA International VP, Michael Hulley (center) and representatives from the China Social Assistance Foundation meet to celebrate the CPR training program in China.

Without a change, deaths from heart disease and stroke are expected to reach approximately 23 million per year by 2030. The threat is of special concern in China, where cardiovascular disease and its risk factors have steadily increased over the last two decades, currently accounting for 45 percent of total deaths in that nation.

To lower these rates, the American Heart Association (AHA), the world’s leading voluntary health organization dedicated to fighting cardiovascular disease, collaborates globally to share emerging science, best practices and training. Most recently, the AHA and the Chinese Society of Cardiology, a branch of the Chinese Medical Association, formally announced joint steps to improve heart attack outcomes in China.

The two organizations will develop and implement an emergency medical systems and hospital-based program to improve care for patients experiencing heart attacks in China, marking a significant step forward in advancing the World Health Assembly’s goal of a 25 percent reduction in premature deaths from noncommunicable diseases worldwide by 2025.

“Adherence to evidence-based guidelines for cardiovascular care that implement effective therapies for patients remains incomplete and highly variable,” said Sidney C. Smith, Jr., MD, FAHA, FACC, FESC, University of North Carolina Professor of Medicine, Cardiology and Past President of the American Heart Association. “The backing of China’s National Health and Family Planning Commission to advance these topics accelerates cooperation to reduce the global burden of heart disease and stroke.”

Hospital networks and emergency medical systems in Tianjin, Suzhou, Beijing and Shanghai will be part of the initial collaborative that will collect, share and report back on data regarding intervention designs, new and revised protocols, and implementation strategies.

Additionally, a public awareness campaign will educate consumers about the signs and symptoms of heart attacks and the importance of immediately calling local emergency response for ambulance transport to the hospital.

A History of Heart Health Education in China

The AHA’s work in China dates back a decade through its alliance with Laerdal Medical and spans the Greater China Region. Last year, the AHA and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) reached a breakthrough agreement that outlined three key areas of cooperation between the U.S.-based non-profit and the Chinese government: science sharing, physician exchange and CPR training.

These efforts have largely targeted healthcare providers through strategic relationships with hospital systems, government health offices and national medical associations. In cooperation with the China Heart Federation and Laerdal China, the AHA recently entered the second year of a cardiovascular care training education program for healthcare providers affiliated with the China County Hospital Confederation, a consortium of 400 regional hospitals.

Based on AHA’s successful Get with the Guidelines program in the United States, the Chinese Society of Cardiology and Beijing Institute of Heart, Lung and Blood Vessel Diseases rolled out a patient care quality improvement program in 2014. Approximately 150 hospitals in China participate in the Improving Care for Cardiovascular Disease in China (CCC) program, funded by a $3 million grant secured by AHA.

Looking Ahead to Bystander Education

Expansion to bystander education is imminent. Earlier this year, MOST, AHA and the China Social Assistance Foundation announced the implementation of the first CPR training and awareness initiative in China to deliver quality AHA first aid and CPR training to the general public.

To support this effort, the AHA will launch its first China-based Training Center focused on training the general public during the Great Wall International Congress of Cardiology, the largest cardiology meeting in the Asia Pacific region, in October. The AHA currently boasts more than 160 Training Centers and Sites in the region which focus mainly on delivering its training programs to healthcare providers.