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Strategically Focused Research Programs

Throughout 2011-2012, the AHA conducted an extensive discussion amongst all AHA stakeholders to determine key attributes and guiding principles as the AHA strengthens and enhances its commitment to CV and neurosciences research and drives toward its Mission.
Come see what the currently funded Strategically Focused Research Networks are doing: 
American Heart Association Funded Networks
The AHA is currently funding six research Networks - ASA/AHA/Bugher Centers for Excellence in Stroke Research and then five Strategically Focused Research Networks with focuses on Prevention, Hypertension, Disparities, Go Red For Women and Heart Failure.
  • Columbia University Medical Center (N.Y.), Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Md.), Magee-Womens Research Institute and Foundation (Pa.), New York University Medical Center (N.Y.), and the University of California, San Diego (Calif.) from the Strategically Focused Go Red For Women Research Network.
  • The University of California, Los Angeles (Calif.), The University of Colorado, Denver (Colo.), and the University of Miami (Fla.) form the ASA/AHA/Bugher Centers for Excellence in Stroke Research.
  • Northwestern University (Ill.), Vanderbilt University (Tenn.), Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (N.Y.), and the University of Texas, Southwestern (Texas), form the Strategically Focused Prevention Research Network.
  • The University of Iowa (Iowa), the Medical College of Wisconsin (Wis.), Cincinnati Children's Hospital (Ohio), and the University of Alabama, Birmingham (Ala.) form the Strategically Focused Hypertension Research Network.
  • Medical University of South Carolina (S.C.), Morehouse School of Medicine (Ga.), Northwestern University (Ill.), and the University of Colorado Denver (Colo.) form the Strategically Focused Disparities in Cardiovascular Disease Research Network.
  • Duke University Medical Center (N.C.),  Massachusetts General Hospital (Mass.), University of Utah (Utah), University of Colorado Denver (Colo.) from the Strategically Focused Heart Failure Research Network. 

Current Initiatives

Starting in 2014-2015, the American Heart Association began funding two Strategically Focused Research Networks (SFRN) each year. Each Network will be comprised of three to four institutions working on three projects each that will be focused on one area strategic to AHA's Mission. Read more information about upcoming SFRN initiatives.

Recently Funded Initiatives

In 2011, the Henrietta B. and Frederick H. Bugher Foundation committed $9.24 million to create a new network of three centers for excellence in stroke collaborative research for a period of four years. This initiative will support the collaboration of researchers from different specialties, whose collective efforts will lead to new approaches to prevent and treat stroke. Efforts will expand upon previous Bugher initiatives by exploring research on recovery after a stroke, including the areas of repair, regeneration, neuroplasticity and rehabilitation. The Centers were funded on April 1, 2014. Read more about the Bugher Foundation.

Past Initiatives

In 2009, with support from the Jon Holden DeHaan Foundation, investigators began efforts to understand the fundamental mechanisms underlying development and specification of cardiac myocytes. The insights gained from these studies will benefit patients with cardiac injury. Since their inception, the AHA/Jon Holden DeHaan Cardiac Myogenesis Research Centers have hosted multiple conferences, scientific retreats and collaborations with members of the science community to move the field closer to a clinical trial. The Centers completed their projects in March 2013 and have reported more than $40 million dollars in new research funding leveraged from their individual AHA/DeHaan grants.  Read more about the John Holden DeHaan Foundation.

In 2008, with a $14.5 million contribution from the American Heart Association Pharmaceutical Roundtable and a generous gift from American Heart Association board member David Spina and his wife, Stevie, the AHA funded four centers for cardiovascular and stroke outcomes research. These centers have made strides to determine what interventions, environments, patient factors and other issues most influence improvements in healthcare outcomes for heart disease and stroke patients. Over the past four years, the AHA/PRT-Spina Outcomes Research Centers have trained more than 20 postdoctoral fellows in outcomes research, 15 of whom have moved into faculty positions as a result of their time with the PRT Centers. More than 300 publications have resulted from the outstanding work of participants in the network.  Read more about the Pharmaceutical Roundtable.
The AHA continues to establish research funding partnerships with organizations that share a common interest in developing targeted fields related to cardiovascular disease and stroke. In FY 11-12, these research partnerships funded training and early career awards in some of the following areas:
  • Congenital Heart Defects (The Children’s Heart Foundation)
  • Nutrition & Health (DuPont)
  • Solid Organ Transplant (Enduring Hearts)
  • Neurology & Stroke (American Academy of Neurology Institute)
  • Myocarditis (Myocarditis Foundation)
  • Pediatric Cardiomyopathy (Children’s Cardiomyopathy Foundation)