American Heart Association's Shared Focus is Critical to Achieving its Goals Faster

Login or register to view PDF.
Abstract

The more that is learned about the causes, treatment, and prevention of heart disease and stroke, the more the importance of a shared focus is appreciated. The American Heart Association (AHA) is working toward a 25% reduction in heart disease, stroke, and risk by 2010, and needs the commitment of the entire cardiology community to achieve that goal. The fight against cardiovascular disease is not the AHA's alone, although it is a prime leader in the efforts.

Pages

The more that is learned about the causes, treatment, and prevention of heart disease and stroke, the more the importance of a shared focus is appreciated. The American Heart Association (AHA) is working toward a 25% reduction in heart disease, stroke, and risk by 2010, and needs the commitment of the entire cardiology community to achieve that goal. The fight against cardiovascular disease is not the AHAÔÇÖs alone, although it is a prime leader in the efforts.

Strategically Focused Research

It is known that the knowledge base needs to be increased.'Knowledge is powerÔÇÖmay be a trite expression, but it speaks the truth for the AHA. The AHA research fund has traditionally been investigator-initiatedÔÇö projects to increase knowledge of how to treat cardiovascular disease and stroke with topics selected and proposed by scientists. Investigators themselves know best what areas of cardiovascular disease and stroke science hold the greatest potential for discovering knowledge. The AHA is also interested in stimulating other areas of research in specific areas that hold promise. The plan for this research targets four areas:

  • women and cardiovascular disease;
  • stroke;
  • obesity; and
  • implementation of translational research.

The AHA is funding focused research initiatives in two of these areasÔÇöstroke and implementation researchÔÇöand wants to develop initiatives in the other focused areas. It depends on large corporate, foundation, or individual gifts to fund its strategically focused research initiatives, which require the support of such donors to move forward.

Better Patient Care

To have practical significance, research must be translated into improved patient care. The AHA is vitally concerned about the medical care that heart and stroke patients receive, both in and out of hospital. Sometimes, proven science is not consistently put into practice. That is why the AHA is assisting hospitals through 'Get With The GuidelinesÔÇÖSM (GWTG), a program to ensure that patients receive the highest standard of care for coronary artery disease (CAD), stroke, and heart failure. The program leverages the 'teachable momentÔÇÖ immediately after a patient has had an acute eventÔÇöthe time when patients are most likely to listen to and follow their healthcare providerÔÇÖs guidance. GWTG includes tools that healthcare providers can use concurrently to assess treatment compliance so appropriate action can be taken before the patient leaves the facility. Provider-to-provider communication helps reinforce these life-saving therapies and strategies, and provides an essential link in the circle of the healthcare team.

Pages