Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing
Early Career Development

The Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing's (CVSN) Early Career Development program encourages and assists promising students, post-doctoral fellows and junior faculty as they seek to establish successful careers in science. At the core of these efforts is the Early Career Committee, which serves as an advocate for young investigators. Through direct interaction with the Council leadership, the committee works to ensure networking opportunities, career development symposia and service opportunities that fit the needs of the early career AHA members.

FAQ for CVSN Early Career Members

Q: How can I get more involved with AHA?
A: Join a Council! There are 16 scientific councils, one of which is the Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing Council (CVSN). Upon becoming a member, you select a one council that best matches your interests.  Early Career members may pay an additional $55 for an additional council; premium professional membership select two councils without extra fee. View all Early Career membership benefits by visiting Professional Membership. Other ways to get more involved with AHA include submitting abstracts, attending sessions and Council dinners, and volunteering for committee membership.

Q: How many different committees are there under the CVSN Council?
A: There are 8 committees under the CVSN Council. In 2011, the most recent committee was added – the Early Career Committee – to help early members get connected and to facilitate mentorship.

Q: How do people become committee members on the CVSN Council?
A: If you are interested, the first step is to submit your interest online via the Volunteer Involvement Form on the Professional Heart Daily website.  You can send an email (and perhaps your CV) about your interest to the Council Chair or Vice Chair. We typically have more applicants than volunteer positions to fill on the council, so there is often a wait. You may consider how else you may be involved.

Q: How else can I be involved in AHA other than being on a committee?
A: There are volunteer opportunities across the association. During the year, opportunities arise for volunteers to participate in task forces and writing groups for specific topics.  We will keep your CV on file.  The CVSN Leadership works to be inclusive and involve as many volunteers as possible.

Q: What mentoring opportunities exist for Early Career members?
A: Visit the Mentoring Programs page.  Currently, we have an International Mentoring Program that has mentors and mentees.

Q: What opportunities exist for established members of AHA to mentor or “give back” to newer members?
A: Visit the Mentoring Programs page.  Currently, we have an International Mentoring Program that has mentors and mentees.

Q: Who makes up the writing committee members for AHA scientific statements?
A: The Manuscript Oversight Committee (MOC) is a multidisciplinary committee (made up of AHA/ASA Council Chairs) charged with reviewing requests to commission Scientific Statements or Guidelines.  Requests to commission a paper involve completing the standard AHA form that is brought forward to the MOC for discussion and approval. The Chair of the Council has the opportunity to co-sponsor a paper. The Council Chair has the prerogative to select a nominee to participate in a writing group; this nominee must be a recognized expert on the topic of the paper. The AHA/ASA requires that an Early Career AHA/ASA member is now on each writing committee! If you feel you have expertise to offer in this area, you may submit your interest online via the CVSN Council Committee Involvement Form on the CVSN website.

Q: How does one become a peer reviewer for abstracts and grants?
A: Committee chairs are asked for recommendations and often also the committee members. New peer review members are approved by the steering committee. There are some qualifications for being a peer reviewer. For example, a peer review member must hold a job at the Assistant Professor level or its equivalent, and a candidate’s past publications and funding are considered before being approved for a peer reviewer.

Q: How do I learn about becoming more involved with AHA at the local level?
A: Visit the AHA volunteer involvement form for opportunities across the association.

Q: What activities in AHA encourage inter-professional collaboration?
A: Disciplines work together both in committees and in writing groups. For example, there are nurses on committees for the Quality and Outcomes Research Council. And some writing committees have been lead by nurses such as the recently published AHA/ASA Statement for Healthcare Professionals: Evidence for Stroke Family Caregiver and Dyad Interventions. This writing committee was made up by both the CVSN Council and Stroke Council, and chaired by Tammy Bakas, PhD, RN, FAHA.

Q & A for Scientific Sessions

Q: How do I meet people and get introduced to what AHA and Scientific Sessions has to offer?
A: Each year there is a multi-disciplinary Early Career Networking opportunity. Saturday Early Career Programming and Meet the Mentors lunch are especially targeted for Early Career members.

Q: Who decides on topics and speakers for the program sessions?
A: The programming committee is already planning the following year’s program at the start of each year’s Scientific Sessions. This committee hears ideas from the science subcommittees of the Councils and the membership.  The Council Program Committees develop ideas submitted by the Council and send them to the oversight body, the Committee on Scientific Sessions Program, where the ideas and sessions are finalized.

Q & A for Submitting Abstracts for Scientific Sessions

Q: Do qualitative abstracts ever get approved?
A: Yes. Abstract categories do not specify quantitative or qualitative. Rather, abstracts are submitted according to best fit in one of the seven Core categories.  Selection is based on peer review of scientific merits of the abstract.

Q: What resources are available to help guide writing of my abstract?
A: There is an online resource “How to Write a Strong Nursing-Based Abstract for AHA/ASA’s Scientific Conferences (PDF)” by Dr. D.K. Moser and Dr. S.J. Pressler.

Q: Is Scientific Sessions the only American Heart Conference to which I can submit a nursing abstract?
A: No, you may also submit to Councils, such as the Stroke Council or Quality Care and Outcomes Research (QCOR) Council.

Members are invited to submit ideas for sessions through email requests.  Ideas can also be sent to the Program Chair of CVSN.

The Early Career Committee warmly welcomes you to get involved!

Contact your Early Career Committee Chair or Vice Chair with further questions.

Early Career Committee


Kristin E. Sandau, PhD RN CNE
Bethel University


Willie Mae Abel, PhD RN ACNS-BC
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte


Beverly Carlson, PhD RN CNS CCRN
San Diego State University

Christopher S. Lee, PhD RN FAHA
Oregon Health & Science University

Christina Pettey, PhD APRN FNP-BC
UAMS College of Nursing

Lisa C. Bratzke-Bauer, PhD RN ANP-BC
University of Nebraska Medical Center

Erin Poe Ferranti, PhD MPH RN
Emory University

Helena Morrison, RN PhD
University of Arizona

Rebecca Dekker, PhD RN APRN
University of Kentucky College of Nursing

Ruth Masterson-Creber, MSc RN
University of Pennsylvania

Susan J. Pressler, PhD RN FAAN FAHA
University of Michigan School of Nursing

Research Mentoring Opportunities

Grant Proposal Mentoring Sessions

Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing: Early Stage Investigator Grant Proposal Mentoring Session

Provide an opportunity for junior investigators to present their ideas for possible grant proposal submissions and receive constructive feedback from senior investigators in a supportive atmosphere of collaboration and networking. Junior investigators will gain valuable experience expressing their grant ideas in an oral session and interacting with senior investigators for the purpose of refining research ideas. It is the expectation of the CVSN Research Mentoring Committee that this session will result in stronger grant submissions from the early stage investigators selected for presentation. Other early stage investigators attending the session in the audience and contributing to the discussion period will also benefit from the experience by being exposed to research approaches and grantsmanship ideas presented by the senior faculty that could stimulate their own research productivity.


Early stage investigators within seven years of completing their terminal research degree or post-doctorate, are encouraged to apply for this oral presentation session.

Specifications for Abstract Submission

Total length: Three (3) page proposal

Font/size: Arial 11, ½ -inch margins


Abstracts must include the following sections:

  • Proposal Title
  • Name of Principal Investigator
  • Institution
  • Current Academic Rank
  • Specific Aims
  • Significance and Innovation
  • Approach (design, sample, measures, procedure and data analysis)
Applicant Submission Form

Submission deadline: Tuesday June 28, 2016

All forms must be sent via e-mail by the deadline.

Please include:

Send all materials in one email to Lauren Rowell

Selection Process
  • Proposals will be reviewed by a selection panel appointed by the CVSN Research Mentoring Committee.
  • Applicants will be notified of the Panel's decision by Aug. 1.
  • Priority will be given to AHA grant submissions.

This opportunity will be awarded to two honorees annually.  The honorees will each receive up to $1000 to help defray travel expenses to AHA Scientific Sessions to present his or her Grant Proposal. Reimbursement up to $1000 will be made after eligible travel receipts (airfare, hotel, ground transportation, registration) are submitted to the AHA after the meeting.

  1. Five-minute presentation of grant proposal to include specific aims, significance, approach and innovation.
  2. Five minutes for the discussant to offer constructive feedback.
  3. Seven-minute discussion period. Junior presenters may also use the seven minutes to ask their own questions and/or request specific feedback from the discussant/senior person and the audience.

Open to all 

Instructions for Discussants

Discussant will have access to the three-page proposal submitted by the junior investigator in advance of the presentation. After the presentation of the proposal concept by the presenters, the discussants will offer comments pertaining specifically to each section of the proposal (specific aims, significance, approach and innovation.) Although the discussants will not be providing scores for each section, they will be expected to provide constructive comments as to the strengths and weaknesses of each section. After the conclusion of their remarks (no more than 5 minutes), the discussant will moderate an open question and answer period for the remainder of the allotted time (7 minutes).

Social Media

The Early Career Voice is a blog written by Early Career Professionals for Early Career Professionals across the globe. Early Career Captains describe their thoughts and experiences as they explore the sessions, the science, and other behind-the-scenes details.

Join the Early Career Facebook group to learn about AHA Early Career news and updates.

AHA|ASA Early Career Blogging Program

Become an AHA/ASA Early Career Blogger

Apply Today no content-type

Educational Opportunities

Select Presentations: Guidance for Early Career Members

Other Early Career Slides Sets

Early Career Training Opportunities

Ten-Day Seminar on the Epidemiology and Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease

Granlibakken Conference Center and Lodge
Tahoe City, Calif.

The overall goal of the conference is to enhance the ability of participants to pursue successful careers related to the epidemiology and prevention of cardiovascular disease and the promotion of cardiovascular health through development of competencies related to grant writing, manuscript development, teaching, and clinical and public health practice.

Funding Opportunities

Searching for Funding Opportunities

Types of Grants

  • Pilot Funds include NIH R03 or small grants ($50k year)
  • NIH K awards – 2-5 years in length, large portion is PI salary with small research budget 
  • NIH R01’s  Investigator initiated awards – can be in response to Program Announcement’s (PA's) — (up to $500K year, up to 5 years)
  • Responses to Request For Applicants (RFA's) 

AHA Funding Opportunities

Please visit the AHA's Research Programs for more information about the following Grants and Awards. 

  • Medical Student Research Program
    The student research  program encourages promising students, including women and members of minority groups underrepresented in the sciences, from all disciplines to consider research careers while supporting the highest quality scientific investigation broadly related to cardiovascular disease and stroke. The research opportunity will allow students to work for 8, 10 or 12 weeks with a faculty/staff member on any project broadly related to cardiovascular  disease/function or stroke. The goal is to encourage students to consider a future academic career in this area.
  • Predoctoral Fellowship
    Helps students initiate careers in cardiovascular and stroke research by providing research assistance and training.
  • Clinical Research Program
    Encourages early career investigators who have appropriate and supportive mentoring relationships to engage in high quality introductory and pilot clinical studies that will guide future strategies for reducing cardiovascular disease and stroke while fostering new research in clinical and translational science, and encouraging community- and population-based activities.
  • Undergraduate Student Research Program
    The purpose of this undergraduate research training program is to encourage promising students from all disciplines, including women and members of minority groups underrepresented in the sciences, to consider research careers while supporting the highest quality scientific investigation broadly related to cardiovascular disease and stroke.
  • Fellow-to-Faculty Transition Award
    Provides funding for trainees with outstanding potential for careers as physician-scientists in cardiovascular or stroke research during the crucial period of career development that spans the completion of research training through the early years of the first faculty/staff position. The award provides a supportive mentored experience during this period of transition. The award will
    1. greatly enhance the awardee's chances of obtaining a high-quality faculty/staff appointment;
    2. improve the awardee's success and retention in an investigative career in cardiovascular science; and
    3. develop the mentoring skills of the awardee as a potential future mentor.
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship
    Helps trainees initiate careers in cardiovascular and stroke research while obtaining significant research results under the supervision of a sponsor or mentor; supports individuals before they are ready for some stage of independent research.
  • Beginning Grant-In-Aid
    Promotes the independent status of promising beginning scientists. 
  • Scientist Development Grant
    Supports highly promising beginning scientists in their progress toward independence by encouraging and adequately funding research projects that can bridge the gap between completion of research training and readiness for successful competition as an independent investigator.
  • Grant-In-Aid
    Encourages and adequately funds the most innovative and meritorious research projects from independent investigators.

Basic Science Track

Predoctoral Training Grants Postdoctoral Training Grants Early Career/Transition Grants

Clinical Science Track

Predoctoral Training Grants Postdoctoral Training Grants Early Career/Transition Grants