Lay Stakeholder Representatives in Science Initiative

    The Lay Stakeholder (non-scientist) volunteer is an individual without formal training as a scientist who possess a strong interest in advancing cardiovascular and or neurovascular science and healthcare. Interest could be based on an intimate experience with a cardiovascular or neurovascular disease or disorder, a survivor with a disease or disorder, a family member with experience, a caregiver and advocate. 

    LAY STAKEHOLDER (NON-SCIENTIST) engagement is vital to the landscape of AHA Science and Research. 

    • Increases the accountability and transparency of the research process.
    • Provides real-world understanding of what most impacts those affected by heart disease and stroke.
    • Helps shape the research agenda and strengthen its impact on the mission. 
    • Bridges the gap between scientists and patients.
    • Gives voice to the issues stakeholders think is most important.
    • Integrates a diverse range of views (researchers, health professionals AND service-user representatives so research becomes more effective).
    • Improves understanding of the benefits and burdens of patients in research studies.
    • Informs others of the human dimension of research and its outcome.
    • Prompts a sense of urgency for finding cures and more effective prevention, diagnosis, and treatments. 

    Involving lay stakeholders in AHA science and research reviews bridges the communication gap between scientists and non-scientists.
    The objective to alleviate barriers in understanding the focus of why research is necessary.

    Benefits to Lay Stakeholder(s):

    • Increased awareness and respect for the importance of the research enterprise.
    • Demystify the research process for other non-scientists.
    • Gain confidence in the rigor of AHA’s selection of research projects.
    • Satisfaction of contributing to a cure for the prevention of cardiovascular and neurovascular diseases and/or disorders.
    • Awareness that real-world lay stakeholder experience can influence the direction of science. 

    Benefits to Scientist(s):

    • Clearer connection between research focus and patients.
    • Respect for the patient's voice.
    • Broader perspective for connecting science with patients.
    • Enhances more patient-centered research.
    • Minimizes scientists' intellectual biases regarding patient involvement. 

    The AHA strives for a demographically diverse group of qualified Lay Stakeholders from communities across the country.  When possible, Lay Stakeholders are assigned to review committees in which they have expressed an interest.

    • Intimate experience with cardiovascular/neurovascular disease or disorder
    • Survivor/Patient with a disease or disorder
    • Family member w/ experience
    • Caregiver/Advocate/Thought Leader

    Summary for Non-Scientists/Lay Summary Form

    The mission of the American Heart Association is to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. Our mission drives everything we do. Accordingly, all applications for research funding will be assessed for their potential impact on the AHA mission. This potential impact assessment will be based primarily on the lay summary information requested in each application. The lay summary will be reviewed for impact on the AHA mission during the peer review process and may be assessed by a lay reviewer. Therefore, applicants must state the potential impact of their proposed work on the American Heart Association mission clearly and in language that can be understood by a non-scientist.

Contact Us

American Heart Association
Division of Research Operations 
AHA National Center
7272 Greenville Avenue
Dallas, TX 75231-4596
Call: (214) 360-6107 (Option 1)

Lay Volunteer Interest Form

Sign up to let us know your interest in AHA Research volunteer opportunities.