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


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.