Press Releases

American Health Assistance Foundation and American Heart Association Begin Partnership with Grants to Cardiovascular Researchers

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CLARKSBURG, MD.-The American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Health Assistance Foundation (AHAF) have partnered to fight heart disease and promote healthy lifestyles by initiating regional and national research projects and by coordinating a public outreach campaign. To establish this cooperative effort, American Health Assistance has granted $896,000 to AHA to support four post-doctoral research fellows from the Mid-Atlantic region, and two promising scientists who will be selected nationally.

The Mid-Atlantic Affiliate of the AHA has just granted two awards to young post-doctoral fellows to help them commence their careers in cardiovascular disease research. Julio Altamirano, Ph.D., of the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute, will study changes in cardiac cell signaling systems that might explain diminished heart performance in cardiac failure. These investigations may lead to better drug therapies to improve cardiac performance and slow the progression of cardiac failure. Siamak Ardekani, Ph.D., of The Johns Hopkins University in Maryland will develop new mathematical formulas based on heart images to analyze changes in heart shape and motion. Dr. Ardekani will explore whether these formulas can be used to assess patients at risk for sudden cardiac death.

In the future, the Mid-Atlantic Affiliate of AHA will grant two additional awards to postdoctoral fellows to support their transition from research training to independent scientific work on cardiovascular disease. In addition, the National Center of the AHA will select and fund two highly promising scientists working to become fully independent investigators.

“We are very excited about cooperating with the American Heart Association. Our combined efforts will have a powerful effect on research and will enable us to reach out together to improve the quality of people's lives,” said Brian K. Regan, Ph.D., Chairman of the American Health Assistance Foundation Board of Directors.

“Our shared goals made the partnership between AHA and American Health Assistance a natural, and we look forward to finding more ways to combine resources and make a real difference in people's health in the years to come,” said David Markiewicz, Executive Vice President of the American Heart Association's Mid-Atlantic Affiliate.

The American Health Assistance Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to finding cures for age-related and degenerative diseases by funding research worldwide on Alzheimer's disease, macular degeneration and glaucoma. AHAF also provides the public with information about these diseases, including risk factors, preventative lifestyles, available treatments and coping strategies.

Since 1924, the American Heart Association has helped protect people of all ages and ethnicities from the ravages of heart disease and stroke. These diseases, the nation's No. 1 and No. 3 killers, claim more than 910,000 American lives a year. The association invested nearly $474 million in fiscal year 2004-05 for research, professional and public education, advocacy, and community service programs so people across America can live stronger, longer lives.