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 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 18 committees under the CVSN Council. In 2011, the Early Career Committee was added to help early career 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 for Professionals page to learn more about the program.
Q: What opportunities exist for established members of AHA to mentor or "give back" to newer members?
A: Visit the Mentoring for Professionals page to learn more about the program.
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 to serve as 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 led by nurses such as the recently published AHA/ASA Scientific Statement: Preventing and Experiencing Ischemic Heart Disease as a Woman: State of the Science. This writing committee was led by the CVSN Council and Chaired by Jean McSweeney, PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN. Members from other councils also participated including the following: Council on Clinical Cardiology, Council on Epidemiology and Prevention, Council on Hypertension, Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health, and Council on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research.

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 Scientific & Clinical Education Lifelong Learning Committee (SCILL) 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 Scientific & Clinical Education Lifelong Learning Committee, 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 selected according to best fit in one of the seven Core categories. Selection is based on peer review of scientific merit 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 to the Chair and/or Vice-Chair of the CVSN Early Career Committee. Ideas can also be sent to the Chair of the CVSN Scientific & Clinical Education Lifelong Learning Committee.

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

View the current CVSN Early Career and other Committees

Research Mentoring Opportunities

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: Submission date has passed

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

Please include:

Send all materials in one email to Lillie Noe

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 to three honorees annually. The honorees will each receive up to $1,000 to help defray travel expenses to AHA Scientific Sessions to present his or her Grant Proposal. Reimbursement up to $1,000 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).

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 and Application Information for more information about the following and other AHA Grants and Awards.

  • AHA Institutional Research Enhancement Award (AIREA)
    Supports small-scale research projects related to CVD and stroke at educational institutions that provide baccalaureate or advanced degrees but that have not been major recipients of NIH support. For any part of the full range of research and development from very basic to clinical.
  • AHA Predoctoral Fellowship
    Enhances the integrated research and clinical training of promising students who are matriculated in pre-doctoral or clinical health professional degree training programs and who intend careers as scientists, physician-scientists or other clinician-scientists, or related careers aimed at improving global cardiovascular health.
  • AHA Postdoctoral Fellowship
    Enhances the integrated research and clinical training of postdoctoral applicants who are not yet independent. The applicant must be embedded in an appropriate research group with the mentorship, support, and relevant scientific guidance of a research supervisor.
  • Career Development Award
    Supports highly promising healthcare and academic professionals, in the early years of one’s first professional appointment, to explore innovative questions or pilot studies that will guide future strategies related to all aspects of cardiovascular and stroke research. The award requires a supportive mentoring team and a career development plan.
  • Innovative Project Award
    Funds ideas that may introduce new paradigms, challenge current paradigms, look at existing problems from new perspectives, or exhibit other uniquely creative qualities. Preliminary data is not required and not accepted as part of the proposal. However, a solid rationale for the work must be provided.
  • Transformational Project Award
    Represents the second phase of a new idea; proposals should include preliminary data. Proposed work should be the next logical step of previous work, and should already be revealing a high probability of revealing new avenues of investigation, if successful.
  • Collaborative Sciences Award
    To foster innovative, new collaborative approaches to research projects which propose novel pairings of investigators from at least two broad disciplines. The proposal must focus on the collaborative relationship, such that the scientific objectives could not be achieved without the efforts of at least two co-principal investigators and their respective disciplines. The combination and integration of studies may be inclusive of basic, clinical, population and/or translational research.

    Applications by existing collaborators are permitted, provided that the proposal is for a new idea or new approach that has not been funded before.

Educational Opportunities

Select Presentation: Guidance for Early Career Members

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.

Select Presentation: Guidance for Early Career Members

Other Educational Opportunities