Dallas, Texas - As heart disease and stroke continue to claim more lives worldwide than all other causes, the American Heart Association is boldly growing beyond borders and its core business to advance health and well-being across the globe. It’s all part of the Association’s new mission: To be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives.

Strategizing the nearly century-old organization’s forward path is a new leadership team, announced by Chief Executive Officer Nancy Brown.

“To best meet the changing needs of the marketplace, we must lead and manage change at the intersection of science and technology. The American Heart Association will do this by developing tools and solutions that accelerate scientific discovery and put the power of health into people’s hands,” Brown said. “We are creating an Emerging Strategies and Ventures group to start stand-alone ventures in areas such as precision medicine, data as an asset, health technology, drug discovery, venture capital investing and brain health and healthy aging.”

Kathleen Warner, J.D., is the new Chief of Emerging Strategies and Ventures. Warner’s background as a business advisor to Fortune 100 corporations, nonprofit entities, growth ventures, entrepreneurial organizations and early stage ventures uniquely positions her to lead the Association’s evolving structure. She will align initiatives and create a business model that boosts revenue and empowers the Association to meet changing market demands.

Mariell Jessup, M.D. FAHA, a past-president of the Association, was named Chief Science and Medical Officer. Dr. Jessup is an internationally renowned thought leader in heart failure research, prevention and treatment whose vision gave rise to heart failure and transplant cardiology as a certified secondary subspecialty in 2004. Her team leads the science and medical enterprise for the organization.   

“During her term as president, Dr. Jessup led the Association to many significant advances including the launch of the Cardiovascular Genome Phenome Study, now known as the American Heart Association Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine,” Brown said. “Under her leadership, we also launched the Strategically Focused Research Network platform to fund and connect research institutions and projects in support of our 2020 Impact Goal and beyond.”

Dr. Jessup’s predecessor, Rose Marie Robertson, M.D., FAHA, stepped back from the global demands as Chief Science and Medical Officer and now serves as Science and Medical Officer. In this new role she will focus on developing and updating clinical practice guidelines, serve as the Association’s lead investigator on government grants, and lead the American Heart Association/Paul Allen Brain Health and Cognitive Impairment research initiative.

“Dr. Robertson has truly been a champion of the scientific enterprise, and a trusted partner to 16 American Heart Association presidents and two CEOs,” Brown said. “I am so thankful we continue to have her expertise, her passion and her leadership as we enter this new era.”

Long-time volunteer and past-president Elliot Antman, M.D., will be joining the team in a part-time capacity as Director of Clinical Science for Emerging Strategies. He will provide leadership in study design, implementation and communication for a variety of research initiatives in the Emerging Strategies area. He will also serve as a key clinical resource. Dr. Antman will continue his clinical and scientific work at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

“For nearly 100 years, the American Heart Association has been leading the fight against cardiovascular diseases and stroke, but there is so much more to be done,” Brown said. “I’m confident that with this new leadership, our more than 3500 employees and our 40 million volunteers and supporters around the world, we will embrace new challenges and bring equitable access to better health and well-being worldwide.”