Strategic Networks

The Role of 

Strategic Networks

A major AHA priority is to fund research topics that will help the organization achieve our strategic goals. Strategically Focused Research Networks (SFRNs) enable groups of investigators conducting multiple projects in multiple locations to all focus on the same topic. Network investigators interact and meet regularly to share outcomes and ideas.

The AHA began to fund SFRNs in 2015, adding one or two networks each year. The topics are chosen by AHA science leadership. Below is a map and details of active networks. There is also a section of networks whose AHA funding has concluded, with reports of their results.

Active Strategically Focused Research Networks

The AHA is currently funding the following SFRNs

Strategically Focused Research Network Map

Strategically Focused Children's Research Network

Award Activation: July 1, 2017

Children’s National Health System

Center Director: Craig Sable, MD, FAHA
Training Director: Craig Sable, MD, FAHA

Project PI: James Dale, MD
Human Immunity to Potential Group A Streptococcal Vaccine Antigens in Subjects at High Risk for Rheumatic Heart Disease

Project PI: Andrea Beaton, MD
Working Towards a Better Understanding of Acute Rheumatic Fever

Project PI: David Watkins, MD, MPH
Building a Case to Invest in Rheumatic Heart Disease Prevention and Control in Limited Resource Settings

University of Utah

Center Director: Martin Tristani-Firouzi, MD
Training Director: H. Joseph Yost, PhD

Project PI: Mark Yandell, PhD
An integrated data-science, transcriptomics, and genomics approach to understanding Complex CHD

Project PI: Robert Silver, MD
Maternal-fetal environment, epigenetics and complex congenital heart disease

Project PI: Angela Fagerlin, PhD, MA
Improving Patient and Family Health Using Family-Centered Outcomes and Shared Decision-Making

Northwestern University

Center Directors: Bradley Marino, MD, MPP, MSCE, FAHA and Donald M Lloyd-Jones, MD, ScM, FAHA
Training Director: Matthew Davis, MD

Project PI: Lifang Hou, MD, MSc
Characterizing Dynamic Epigenomic Markers of CVH in Early Life

Project PI: Linda Van Horn, PhD, RD, FAHA
Keeping Ideal Cardiovascular Health Family Intervention Trial: KIDFIT

Project PI: Norrina Allen, PhD, MPH, FAHA
Cardiovascular Health Trajectories from Birth Through Adolescence

Duke University Medical School

Center Director: Jennifer Li, MD, MHSc
Training Director: Asheley Skinner, PhD

Project PI: Svati Shah, MD, MHS, FAHA
Microbiota Related Molecular Pathways in Pediatric Obesity

Project PI: Sarah Armstrong, MD
A randomized trial of an integrated clinic-community intervention in children and adolescents with obesity

Project PI: Asheley Skinner, PhD
Effectiveness and implementation of tertiary-care pediatric obesity treatment programs

Strategically Focused Vascular Disease Research Network

Award Activation: April 1, 2018

Brigham and Women’s Hospital/Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center

Center Director: Marc Bonaca, MD, MPH and Mark Creager, MD, FAHA, FACC
Training Director: Marc Bonaca, MD, MPH and Philip Goodney, MD, MS

Project PI: Mark Feinberg, MD
Non-Coding RNAs in Diabetic Critical Limb Ischemia: Discovery, Pathobiology, and Therapeutic Intervention

Project PI: Marc Bonaca, MD, MPH
Risk Prediction and Personalizing Therapy to Prevent Critical Limb Ischemia in Patients with PAD and Diabetes

Project PIs: Philip Goodney, MD, MS and Mark Creager, MD, FAHA, FACC
Integrated Management Strategies to Reduce Amputation and Limit Disparities for Patients with Diabetes and CLI

Northwestern University

Center Director: Mary M. McDermott, MD, FAHA
Training Director: Mercedes Carnethon, PhD, FAHA

Project PI: Christiaan Leeuwenburgh, PhD
Calf Muscle Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Impaired Autophagy in Peripheral Artery Disease

Project PI: Mary M. McDermott, MD, FAHA
NICotinamidE Riboside with and without Resveratrol to Improve Functioning in Peripheral Artery Disease: The NICE Trial

Project PI: Philip Greenland, MD, FAHA Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Disability in Peripheral Artery Disease

University of Kentucky

Center Directors: Alan Daugherty, PhD, DSc
Training Director: Nancy Webb, PhD

Project PI: Alan Daugherty, PhD, DSC
Role of Sex Hormones on Elastin Stability in Formation of Thoracic Aortopathies

Basic Project PI: Lisa Cassis, PhD
Sexual Dimorphism of Aortopathies

Project PI: Scott LeMaire, MD
Molecular Signature of Sex Chromosome Genes Associated with Sex-Dependent Susceptibility to Ascending Aortic Aneurysms

Vanderbilt University

Center Director: Joshua Beckman, MD, MS
Training Director: Joshua Beckman, MD, MS

Project PI: David Wasserman, PhD
The Link between Microcirculatory Dysfunction and Skeletal Muscle Insulin Resistance

Project PI: Joshua Beckman, MD, MS
The Impact of Branched-Chain Amino Acids Metabolism on Limb Dysfunction in PAD

Project PIs: Matthew Freiberg, MD and Quinn Wells, PharmD, MD
Clinical and Genetic Determinants of Peripheral Artery Disease, Microvascular Disease, and Major Adverse Limb Outcomes

Strategically Focused Atrial Fibrillation Research Network

Award Activation: July 1, 2018

Boston University

Research Focus: Advancing Atrial Fibrillation Precision Medicine
Center Director: Emelia Benjamin, MD, ScM, FAHA
Training Director: Emelia Benjamin, MD, ScM, FAHA

Patrick Ellinor, MD, PhD, FAHA
Genomics and Epigenetics of Atrial Fibrillation

Steven Lubitz, MD, MPH, FAHA
Precision Medicine in Ischemic Stroke and Atrial Fibrillation (PreMISe-AF)

Kathryn Lunetta, PhD, MS
Clinical and Genetic Prediction of Lifetime Risk of Atrial Fibrillation and its Complications

Cleveland Clinic

Research Focus: Translational Strategies for the Prevention of Atrial Fibrillation Development and Progression
Center Director: Mina K. Chung, MD, FAHA, FACC, FHRS
Training Director: Christine Moravec, PhD

Jonathan Smith, PhD, FAHA
Gene-Aging-Metabolism Interaction in Atrial Fibrillation Pathogenesis

Mina K. Chung, MD, FAHA, FACC, FHRS
Upstream Targeting for the Prevention of AF: Targeting Risk Interventions and Metformin for Atrial Fibrillation (TRIM-AF)

David Van Wagoner, PhD, FAHA, FHRS
Multi-omic Analysis of Atrial Metabolism, Electrophysiology and Atrial Fibrillation Progression

Northwestern University

Research Focus: Atrial Myopathy in Atrial Fibrillation
Center Director: Rod Passman, MD, MSCE
Training Director: Philip Greenland, MD, FAHA

Rishi Arora, MD
The Role of Oxidative Stress in Creating a Vulnerable Substrate for Atrial Fibrillation in the Intact Atrium

Rod Passman, MD, MSCE
Atrial Myopathy: Structure and Function in AF Ablation

Philip Greenland, MD, FAHA
Atrial Substrate in Atrial Fibrillation and AF-Associated Brain Disease

Vanderbilt University

Research Focus: A Novel Molecular Target in Atrial Fibrillation
Center Director: Dan Roden, MD, FAHA
Training Director: Bjorn Knollmann, MD, PhD, FAHA

Katherine Murray, MD, FAHA
Reactive Lipid Metabolites as Mediators of AF Susceptibility in Clinical and Genetic Risk Models

Gregory Michaud, MD
A First-in-Atrial Fibrillation Trial of a Reactive Lipid Metabolite Scavenger

Dan Roden, MD, FAHA
Identifying Atrial Fibrillation Subtypes Driven by Inflammation

The Joe and Linda Chlapaty DECIDE Center at Stanford University

Research Focus: Decision-Making Pathway for Atrial Fibrillation Stroke Prevention
Center Director: Paul Wang, MD, FAHA

Randall Stafford, MD, PhD
Behavioral Science (Prevention/Intervention)

AHA-PCORI DECIDE Center at University of Utah

Research Focus: Studying Effectiveness in Patient-centered care
Center Director: Angie Fagerlin, PhD

Victor Montori, MD, MSc
Scan & Optimization of Decision Aids for Atrial Fibrillation (SODA-AF)

Elissa Ozanne, PhD
RED-AF: Randomized Evaluation of Decision Support Interventions for Atrial Fibrillation

Strategically Focused Arrhythmias & Sudden Cardiac Death Research Network

Award Activation: July 1, 2019

University of Michigan

Center Director: Robert Neumar, MD, PhD, FAHA
Training Director: David Pinsky, MD

Project PI: Thomas Sanderson, PhD
Early Neuroprotective Therapies for Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest

Project PI: Robert Silbergleit, MD, FAHA
Bystander and First Responders Clinical Trials for Early Neuroprotective Therapies in Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest

Project PI: Brahmajee Nallamothu, MD, MPH, FAHA
Optimizing Bystander and First Responder Time to Treatment in Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest

Northwestern University

Center Director: Elizabeth McNally, MD, PhD
Training Director: Rishi Arora, MD, FAHA

Project PI: Alfred “Al” George, MD
Correlating SCD Risk with Cell Autonomous Susceptibility

Project PI: Elizabeth McNally, MD, PhD
Genomics of Arrhythmias and Sudden Death

Project PI: Laura Rasmussen- Torvik, PhD, MPH, FAHA
Integration of Genomics into Clinical Care for SCD

Vanderbilt University

Center Director: Bjorn Knollman, MD, PhD
Training Director: Dan Roden, MD, FAHA

Project PI: Bjorn Knollman, MD, PhD
The Mechanistic Role of RyR2 Hyperactivity for Ventricular Arrhythmia in Animal Models of Structural Heart Disease

Project PI: Igor Efimov, PhD
Test the Mechanistic Role of RyR2 Hyperactivity for Ventricular Arrhythmia in the Ex Vivo Human Heart

Project PI: William Stevenson, MD
Project Co-PIs: Scott Akers, PharmD, PhD and Benjamin Shoemaker, MD
A Clinical Trial of RyR2 Inhibition to Prevent Ventricular Arrhythmias in Patients with Structural Heart Disease

University of Washington

Center Director: Nona Sotoodehnia, MD, MPHD
Training Director: Francis Kim, MD and Michael Sayre, MD, FAHA

Project PI: Ilan Goldenberg, MD
Project Co-PI: Wojciech Zareba, MD, PhD
Sex-Specific Risk for QTc Prolongation and Arrhythmic Events in Congenital Long QT Syndrome and Drug-Induced LQTS

Project PI: Thomas Rea, MD, MPH
Project Co-PI: Peter Kudenchuk, MD
Precision Medicine Resuscitation: Novel Strategy for Real-Time Rhythm Assessment during CPR in Men and Women

Project PI: Dan Arking, PhD
Project Co-PI: Nona Sotoodehnia, MD, MPH
Genomics of Sudden Cardiac Arrest Risk among Men and Women

Strategically Focused Cardiometabolic Health & Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Research Network

Award Activation: January 1, 2020

Brigham & Women's Hospital

Center Directors: Mark Feinberg, MD, FAHA and Marc Sabatine, MD, MPH, FAHA
Training Directors: Vanita Aroda, MD and Jessica Fetterman, PhD

Project PI: Mark Feinberg, MD, FAHA
Non-coding RNAs in Ischemic Myocardial Disease and Diabetes: Discovery, Pathobiology, and Therapeutic

Project PI: Marc Sabatine, MD, MPH, FAHA
Risk Prediction and Personalizing Therapy to Reduce Major Vascular, Heart Failure, and Renal Events in Diabetes

Project PI: Naomi Hamburg, MD, FAHA
Restoring Vascular and Endothelial Health in Patients with Diabetes

University of Iowa

Center Director: Evan Abel, MD, PhD, FAHA
Training Director: Kamal Rahmouni, PhD, FAHA

Project PI: Ethan Anderson, PhD
A Heart-Liver-Adipose Axis: The Role of Inter-organ Crosstalk in Cardiometabolic Risk

Project PI: Saumya Das MD, PhD
Adipose-derived Regulators of Inter-organ Communication in Type II Diabetes Mellitus and Cardiometabolic Disease

Project PI: Ravi Shah, MD, FAHA
Molecular Signatures of Dysfunctional Adiposity and Cardiometabolic Disease in Young Adulthood: the CARDIA Study

New York University

Center & Training Director: Ira Goldberg, MD, FAHA

Project PI: Edward Fisher, MD, MPH, PhD, FAHA
Mechanisms that Retard Atherosclerosis Regression in Insulin Resistant and Obese Mice

Project PI: Jeffrey Berger, MD, FAHA
Diabetes and the Platelet Phenotype: Influence of Sex, Cholesterol Lowering and Cardiovascular Events

Project PI: Chiara Giannarelli, MD, PhD
Determinants of Pathological Changes in Atherosclerosis in Women and Men with Diabetes

Johns Hopkins University

Center Directors: Chiadi Ndumele, MD, PhD, FAHA and Rexford Ahima, MD, PhD
Training Director: Erin Michos, MD, MHS, FAHA

Project PI: Rexford Ahima, MD, PhD
Divergent Adipokine Mouse Models and Diabetic Cardiomyopathy

Project Co-PI: Chiadi Ndumele, MD, PhD, FAHA
Project Co-PI: Elizabeth Selvin, PhD, FAHA
Serum Adipokines, Metabolic Risk Progression, and Heart Failure

Strategically Focused Health Technologies & Innovation Research Network

Award Activation: April 1, 2020

Boston University

Integrated Digital Technology Platform for Optimization of Precision Brain Health

Center Director: Rhoda Au, PhD
Training Director: Vijaya Kolachalama, PhD

Project PI: Rhoda Au, PhD
Digital Phenotyping of Brain Health

Project PI: Honghuang Lin, PhD
Futurizing Brain Health Monitoring Platform

Project PI: Vijaya Kolachalama, PhD
Discovery and Validation of Digital Biomarkers

Cincinnati Children's Hospital

Active Detection and Decentralized Dynamic Registry to Improve Uptake of Rheumatic Heart Disease Secondary Prevention

Center Director: Andrea Beaton, MD
Training Director: Elaine Urbina, MD, FAHA

Project PI: Andrea Beaton, MD
Active Detection and Decentralized Dynamic Registry to Improve Uptake of Rheumatic Heart Disease Secondary Prevention

Johns Hopkins University

Center for Mobile Technologies to Reduce Disparities in Cardiovascular Health

Co-Center Directors: Seth Martin, MD, MHS and David Newman-Toker, MD, PhD
Co-Training Directors: Erin Michos, MD, MHS, FAHA and Najila Nassery, MD

Project PI: Seth Martin, MD, MHS
Advancing Mobile Technologies to Reduce Disparities in Cardiovascular Health

Stanford University

Center for Heart Health Technology (H2T): Innovation to Implementation

Center & Training Director: Mintu Turakhia, MD

Project PI: Paul Wang, MD
Technology-Enabled Management of Hypertension in Underrepresented Communities and in the Gig Economy

University of Michigan

Center Director: Brahmajee Nallamothu, MD, MPH
Training Director: Bhramar Mukherjee, PhD

Project PI: Lesli Skolarus, MD, MSc
Wearables In Reducing risk and Enhancing Daily Life-style (WIRED-L) Project

Strategically Focused Disparities in Cardio-Oncology Research Network

Award Activation: July 1, 2021

Augusta University

Research Focus: Obesity-related disparities in the bidirectional risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer

Center Director: Neal Weintraub, MD, FAHA
Training Director; David Stepp, PhD

Neal Weintraub, MD, FAHA
DARC and Chemokine Control in Cardiometabolic Disease and Cancer

Ryan Harris, PhD
Health Disparities and Vascular Aging Over Time in New Onset Cancer

Avirup Guha, MBBS
Role of Obesity, Ancestry and Social Determinants of Health for Cancer development in African American Individuals with Cardiovascular Disease

Boston University School of Medicine 

Research Focus: Cancer-Associated Thromboembolism as Affected by Health Disparities (CAT-HD)

Co-Center Directors: Katya Ravid, DSc and Vipul Chitalia, MD, PhD
Co-Training Directors: Emelia Benjamin, MD, ScM, FAHA and George Murphy, PhD

Vipul Chitalia, MD
Targeted mechanisms of compromised diet-associated vasculo-thrombosis in experimental cancer models

Nathanael Fillmore, PhD
“Development and molecular validation of a health-disparities-informed thromboembolism risk model in cancer patients” 

Medical College of Wisconsin

Research Focus: Understanding and Addressing Disparities in Cancer Therapy Induced Inflammation and Associated Endothelial Dysfunction

Center Director: Melinda Stolley, PhD
Training Director David Gutterman, MD, FAHA


Alison Kriegel, PhD, FAHA
Impact of CTx and Exercise on Immune and Endothelial Cells- Comparative study of B/AA vs. white BC patients

Andreas Beyer, PhD, FAHA
Defining Differences in Endothelial Function and Response to CTx among a Diverse Population of Women with BC

Kirsten Beyer, PhD
Taking Charge During Treatment: exercise to improve fitness and quality of life among diverse breast cancer survivors

University of Pennsylvania

Research Focus: Understanding and Reducing Racial Disparities in High Risk Cardio-Oncology Communities

Center Director: Bonnie Ky, MD
Training Director: Clyde Yancy, MD, FAHA

Joseph Wu, MD, PhD, FAHA
The Role of Genomic Ancestry in Mediating Breast and Prostate Cancer Therapy Cardiotoxicity

Bonnie Ky, MD
Phenotyping the Social Determinants of Cardiovascular Health in Cancer Patients and Survivors

Kevin Volpp, MD, PhD
Saro Armenian, DO, MPH
Increasing Physical Activity to Improve CV Health in Racially Diverse Cancer Survivor Communities


Strategically Focused Research Network on the Science of Diversity in Clinical Trials

Award Activation: April 1, 2022

View the RFA and award details: SFRN on the Science of Diversity in Clinical Trials


Improving Participation Among diverse populations in Cardiovascular clinical Trials (IMPACT) – Researchers from Johns Hopkins University, University of Vermont, and Morgan State University will conduct two projects specifically focused on identifying ways to increase participation and recruitment of people from underrepresented populations to take part in clinical research trials. The first project will involve gathering a community of people interested in becoming involved in heart disease research. The community will be called CONNECT. Researchers will seek advice from leaders and members of the local area to develop strategies to test among the CONNECT participants to improve engagement of persons of diverse backgrounds in research studies. The team is led by Erin Michos, M.D., M.H.S., FAHA, an American Heart Association volunteer and the director of women's cardiovascular health and an associate professor of medicine at Johns Hopkins.

Diversity & Inclusion in cardioVascular trials through Enrollment and education Resulting in Sustainable Equity: DIVERSE – Researchers from Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, California and the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, will collaborate to conduct two large research studies to identify the best strategies for including people of diverse populations in clinical trials. The first study is comparing six different strategies in 112 different clinical trials randomizing at the site level across the country to determine which works best for different people. The second study works with doctors in communities to find what they and their patients need most to participate in clinical research trials. Researchers will train community doctors to identify and remove barriers to health care access and to enroll people in research trials which can help their patients have access to the latest therapies. The instructions and resource developed for community doctors and hospitals will be made widely available to health care professionals outside the study area. Additionally, the team will form a network of leading pharmaceutical companies, technology companies and minority health care institutions to work together to make clinical trials more inclusive. This collaborative team is led by Eldrin Lewis, M.D., M.P.H., FAHA, the Simon H. Stertzer, M.D. Professor of Medicine and chief of the division of cardiovascular medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine.

Integrated Community Engaged, mHealth, and Data Science to Enhance Clinical Trial Diversity and Cardiometabolic Health (iDIVERSE) – Researchers from the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), the University of Hawaii (UH) in Honolulu and Washington State University (WSU) in Pullman will collaborate on projects addressing disparities in clinical research in multiple diverse populations. The center at UH focuses on Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander participants; the WSU is working with Native American participants; and the center at UCLA is concentrating on African/Black, Asian/Filipino, and Latin American participants. Each center is conducting a clinical trial to treat heart disease, diabetes or obesity, using smartphones to stay in touch with participants throughout the project. The three complementary projects aim to mitigate cardiometabolic disparities and they will be thematically connected through mHealth approaches to improve recruitment, enrollment and participation of diverse individuals in clinical trials. The AHA iDIVERSE team will further provide diversity training and, where appropriate, machine learning approaches to advance health equity in clinical trials. This collaborative team is led by Tzung Hsiai, M.D., Ph.D., the Maud Cady Guthman Endowed Term Chair in Cardiology and a professor of medicine (cardiology) and bioengineering at UCLA, and co-directed by Keith C. Norris, M.D., Ph.D., executive vice chair for the Department of Medicine for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and a professor of medicine at UCLA and Keawe Kaholokula, Ph.D., a professor and chair of the Department of Native Hawaiian Health at University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Behavioral Economics to Transform Trial Enrollment Representativeness (BETTER)
– Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania (Penn) in Philadelphia, Emory University in Atlanta, Grady Health Systems in Atlanta and MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C., are collaborating to use behavioral health science to improve clinical trial participation among diverse groups. They will bring together experts in behavioral economics, research ethics, health equity and clinical trials to identify methods that make trial enrollment and retention easier for everyone. The BETTER Center team will study previous trials to learn from past successes and failures, engage people with heart disease from underserved racial groups to identify barriers to clinical trial enrollment, and then develop and test methods to improve the pace and diversity of trial enrollment. This collaborative team is led by Scott Halpern, M.D., Ph.D., M.B.E., the John M. Eisenberg, M.D. Professor in Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine at Penn.

Alzheimer's Trial Recruitment Innovation Lab (ATRIL) Reducing Bottlenecks and Achieving Diversity
– Researchers from the University of Southern California’s (USC) Alzheimer’s Therapeutic Research Institute (ATRI) and USC’s Schaeffer Center for Health Policy & Economics in Los Angeles, and Howard University in Washington, D.C., are studying innovative ways to increase clinical trial participation among diverse and underrepresented populations, specifically for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), the most common form of dementia. With this funding, the team will conduct two research projects and establish a fellowship training program. The first project will test remote and in-person evidence-based recruitment models for clinical trial participation among diverse populations using community-based partnerships. The second project will evaluate the feasibility of unsupervised, web-based cognitive assessment tools to accelerate clinical trial engagement. Finally, the multidisciplinary fellowship program will train and develop future AD and AD-related dementia clinical trialists. This collaborative team is led by Rema Raman, Ph.D., a professor of neurology at USC’s Keck School of Medicine and director of biostatistics and recruitment at USC’s ATRI.

Training Researchers to Advance Inclusion Networks (TRAIN) – A team at Stanford University School of Medicine in Stanford, Ca., and the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, is establishing the full network’s coordinated training center to develop science curriculum and career development training opportunities among the participating scientists, with the goal of enhancing diversity of clinical research participants. The program will specifically teach scientists how to do studies in full partnership with patients and communities through classes, community meetings and peer-to-peer learning. This training team is led by Hannah Valantine, M.B.B.S., M.D., a professor of medicine at Stanford. and Priscilla Pemu, M.B.B.S, M.S.C.R., a professor of medicine, the associate dean of clinical research and the director of the Clinical Research Center at Morehouse.

Strategically Focused Research Network on the Biologic Pathways of Chronic Psychosocial Stressors on Cardiovascular Health

Award Activation: April 1, 2023

View the RFA and award details: SFRN on the Biologic Pathways of Chronic Psychosocial Stressors on Cardiovascular Health


Psychosocial stRessors and Exposomics on CV health In underServed multiEthnic populations in Northern CA (PRECISE)
Nipavan Chiamvimonvat, M.D., University of California Davis, Center Director


  • Mechanistic links between inflammatory cascades and psychosocial stressors in CVD - Dr. Nipavan Chiamvimonvat
  • Mechanistic underpinnings of psychosocial stressors on CV central control and cardiac arrhythmias – Dr. Xiaodong Zhang
  • Psychosocial stressors and exposomics on CV health in underserved multiethnic populations in Northern California – Dr. Martin Cadeiras

Partnering Institutions: UC Davis Cardiovascular Research Institute, California State University, Sacramento (Sacramento State)

These teams will study how stress from everyday life can impact heart health. They will recruit a racially and ethnically diverse group of participants with different backgrounds, various psychosocial stress levels and socioeconomic status from underserved populations in California to investigate how societal, environmental and biological factors may cause stress that can impact heart health. They will also conduct basic science research using animal models to study the mechanism through which a constellation of environmental and social stressors (noise, overcrowding and sleep disruption) impact cardiovascular function. An advanced computational biology approach will also be used to generate a functional connectome across basic science and clinical projects that will uncover key patterns in signaling pathways between stress and heart health. To support the next generation of cardiovascular researchers, diverse trainees and early career clinicians/researchers will be engaged and trained within and across projects in an interdisciplinary, collaborative, translational science environment.

Chronic psychosocial stress and CV dysfunction in cancer survivorship
Greg Hundley, M.D., Virginia Commonwealth University, Center Director


  • The impact of psychosocial stress and physical activity on CV outcomes in cancer survivors - Dr. Greg Hundley
  • Impact of chronic psychosocial stress and the NLRP3 inflammasome on CV function following chemotherapy - Dr. Fadi Salloum
  • Role of chronic psychosocial stress on chemotherapy-induced cellular senescence and cardiac fibrosis – Dr. Giselle Melendez

Partnering Institutions: Wake Forest University, Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist, and Wake Forest School of Medicine Department of Biostatistics and Data Science

The teams will look into how long-term, chronic stress causes heart problems and how adding acute stress – stress that occurs more suddenly, like getting a cancer diagnosis – may more suddenly impact heart health. As part of their research, they will look into what is happening in the heart cells when those are damaged by stress and how this causes heart failure. Additionally, they will explore how different diet and exercise plans may impact stress and heart health and whether it may be beneficial to make changes to diet or exercise habits when experiencing stress to have healthy heart function. The researchers will collect information through pre-clinical science models in laboratories and clinical science involving human subjects.

Physical activity Reduces Effects of psychosocial stress And CV Health (PREACH)
Kristin Stanford, Ph.D., The Ohio State University, Center Director


  • Black Impact: The mechanisms underlying psychosocial stress reduction in a CV health intervention - Dr. Joshua Joseph
  • Maternal Stress and Exercise Mediate Offspring CV Function via the Gut Microbiome - Dr. Kristin Stanford
  • Exercise Effects on CV Disease and the Microbiome Following Psychosocial Stress - Dr. Loren Wold

Partnering Institution: Meharry Medical College

Teams of scientists from OSU and Meharry Medical College, an Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in Nashville, will collaborate to conduct three different projects to determine if exercise can protect against stress-induced heart disease. They will study the correlation between exercise and changes in the gut bacteria, which is known to influence the development of heart disease. Two of the studies will be basic science research using mouse models – one examining hearts and gut bacteria to see if exercise can reverse the effects of stress on heart health and the other exploring how stress or exercise in a mouse mother can affect her offspring. The third study will focus on using a 24-week diet, education and exercise program called Black Impact for Black men with less-than-ideal heart health. The researchers will seek to determine if the Black Impact intervention improves heart health, how it affects stress and if it changes the gut bacteria in study participants.

Completed Strategically Focused Research Networks

Funding has ended for the following SFRNs. Results of their work are contained in the PDF attachments.

Prevention SFRN
Northwestern University (Illinois), Vanderbilt University (Tennessee), Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (New York), University of Texas, Southwestern (Texas)
Executive Summary (PDF) | Narrative Report (PDF)

Hypertension SFRN
University of Iowa (Iowa), Medical College of Wisconsin (Wisconsin), Cincinnati Children's Hospital (Ohio), University of Alabama, Birmingham (Alabama)
Executive Summary (PDF) | Narrative Report (PDF) | End-of-Network Collaborative Publication

Disparities SFRN
Medical University of South Carolina (South Carolina), Morehouse School of Medicine (Georgia), Northwestern University (Illinois), University of Colorado Denver (Colorado)
Executive Summary (PDF) | Narrative Report (PDF)

Go Red for Women SFRN
Columbia University Medical Center (New York), Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Maryland), Magee-Womens Research Institute and Foundation (Pennsylvania), New York University Medical Center (New York), University of California, San Diego (California)
Executive Summary (PDF) | Narrative Report (PDF) | End-of-Network Collaborative Publication

Heart Failure SFRN
Duke University Medical Center (North Carolina), Massachusetts General Hospital (Massachusetts), University of Utah (Utah), University of Colorado Denver (Colorado)
Executive Summary (PDF) | Narrative Report (PDF) | End-of-Network Collaborative Publication

Obesity SFRN
Johns Hopkins University (Maryland), New York University Medical Center (New York), University of Alabama at Birmingham (Alabama), Vanderbilt University (Tennessee)
Executive Summary (PDF) | Narrative Report (PDF) End-of-Network Collaborative Publication

Postdoctoral Fellowship Opportunities

Postdoctoral graduates interested in a fellowship opportunity with one of AHA’s Strategic Networks should submit an application to the center(s) of interest.

If you are interested in future Strategic Networks postdoctoral fellowships with a Network, please submit a CV to [email protected] and it will be shared with the Training Directors once these Networks are awarded

Contact the Strategic Networks Team

General Questions:
[email protected]

Technical Support:
[email protected]
800-875-2562 (toll-free U.S. and Canada)
1-703-964-5840 (direct dial international)