Research Volunteer Structure

Science and medicine volunteers establish and direct the American Heart Association's research policies and programs. In partnership with the volunteers, AHA staff provide administrative and implementation support.

The AHA Research Committee and Subcommittees include research volunteers nominated by regional leadership and scientific councils.

The AHA Research Committee oversees and executes strategies to achieve the AHA Research Essential Elements, which include research funding, investigator development, accountability and optimization. Much of this work is done via the subcommittees.

Subcommittees are made up of AHA Research Committee members and other volunteers.

Illustration of Research Committee chart of organization
Funding Subcommittee
  • Members include AHA President, Chairman of the Board, Immediate-past President, Immediate-past AHA Chairman of the Board, and a former National Research Committee Chairperson.
  • Designs and maintains a contemporary research portfolio to support the AHA's Research Essential Elements and overall mission.
  • Recommends percentage of overall funds to specific programs or to categories of programs to balance funding for specific knowledge discovery and building capacity of investigators and infrastructure.
  • Assists in maintaining strategies to engage junior investigators, researchers from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in science, women and people in science specialty areas who have the potential to impact AHA mission, but are currently not well represented in AHA research programs.
  • Strategic Outcomes Subcommittee
  • Analyzes the AHA Research Portfolio to support AHA long-range research strategic plans.
  • Establishes and maintains program-specific metrics and benchmarks.
  • Evaluates data and reports outcomes and trends of the AHA Research Portfolio.
  • Monitors, assesses and reports on the external research environment and trends in science.

    Bioethics Subcommittee
  • Monitors scientific activity, including but not limited to human stem cell research, genomic editing technologies, human gene transfer, animal research, use of biosample databases, etc.
  • Periodically assesses scientific opinion on the potential impact of emerging cardiovascular and cerebrovascular biomedical technologies.
  • Updates the AHA Research Committee at least annually to inform discussion on AHA research policies.
  • As appropriate, educates AHA Leadership and Board of Directors on new or evolving biomedical research technologies for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease and disorders.

  • Portfolio Management & Peer Review Subcommittee
  • Oversees research award program, requests for proposals, peer review operations, application and peer review policies, and balances portfolio priorities.
  • Reviews and recommends award program updates to remain current with the scientific funding environment and to align with the AHA mission and strategic goals.
  • Reviews peer review processes and outcomes; recommends actions to maintain the highest standards of peer review by working closely with Peer Review Committee members.

  • Peer Review Committees
    (study sections) evaluate the scientific merit of research proposals. Peer Review Committees include volunteer scientists who have experience in biomedical, clinical, population, and translational research. The chairpersons and co-chairpersons of each committee are responsible for recruiting members familiar with the science that will be reviewed. All Peer Review Committees must adhere to association-wide standards established for peer review.

    One element of the AHA strategic research direction is the inclusion of Lay Stakeholders in Science and Research in the peer review process. A lay stakeholder may be assigned to assess an application's potential impact on the AHA mission. Lay stakeholders are patients, caregivers, advocates, survivors, family members, or thought leaders without formal training as scientists who have a strong interest in advancing the prevention and/or management of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases and in assisting with the review of American Heart Association research proposals.

    2022-23 Research Committee


    Svati Shah, MD, MS, MHS, FAHA
    Professor of Medicine
    Associate Dean for Genomics
    Vice-Chief Clinical Translation, Division of Cardiology
    Director, Adult Cardiovascular Genetics Clinic
    Duke University School of Medicine

    Pavan Atluri, MD
    Associate Professor of Surgery
    Director, Minimally Invasive and Robotic Cardiac Surgery
    Director, Cardiac Transplantation and Mechanical Circulatory Assist
    Division of Cardiovascular Surgery
    Department of Surgery
    University of Pennsylvania

    Ivor Benjamin, MD, FAHA, FACC
    AHA Past President
    Director, CV Research Center
    Professor of Medicine, Physiology, Pharmacology & Toxicology, Cell Biology, and Surgery
    Medical College of Wisconsin

    Gerald Bloomfield, MD, MPH, FAHA

    Associate Professor with Tenure of Medicine and Global Health
    Duke Clinical Research Institute

    Kadijah Breathett, MD, MS, FACC, FAHA, FHFSA

    Assistant Professor of Medicine
    Advanced Heart Failure & Transplant Cardiologist
    University of Arizona, Sarver Heart Center

    Todd J. Brinton, MD, FACC
    Corporate Vice President, Advanced Technology 
    Chief Scientific Officer 
    Edwards Lifesciences 

    Billy Caceres, PhD, RN
    Assistant Professor of Nursing
    Columbia University School of Nursing

    April P. Carson, PhD, MSPH, FAHA

    Associate Professor and Associate Dean
    University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health

    Lisa Cassis, PhD

    Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Nutritional Sciences College of Medicine
    Vice President for Research
    University of Kentucky

    Bernie Dennis
    Chairperson, Lay Stakeholder in Science and Research Task Force
    Survivor & Patient Advocate
    Former AHA Board Chairman, 2013-2015

    Sunita Dodani, MD, FCPS, MSc, PhD, FAHA 
    Professor of Medicine, Eastern Virginia Medical School 
    EVMS-Sentara Healthcare Analytics and Delivery Science Institute (HADSI)  

    Karen L. Furie, MD, MPH
    Rhode Island Hospital
    The Miriam Hospital & Bradley Hospital
    Samuel I Kennison, MD, and Bertha S. Kennison Professor of Clinical Neuroscience
    and Chair of Neurology
    The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University

    David C. Goff Jr., MD, PhD, FACP, FAHA

    Director, Division of Cardiovascular Sciences
    National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

    Bertha Hidalgo, PhD, MPH 
    Associate Professor of Epidemiology 
    Ryals School of Public Health
    University of Alabama at Birmingham

    Nathaniel D. Jenkins, PhD, FAHA
    Assistant Professor, Department of Health and Human Physiology
    Member, Abboud Cardiovascular Research Center
    University of Iowa

    Walter J. Koroshetz, MD
    Director, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

    Jamie Lohr, MD, FAHA

    Associate Professor of Pediatrics
    Pediatric and Adult Congenital Cardiology
    University of Minnesota Medical School

    Louise D. McCullough, MD, PhD
    Professor and Chair
    Roy M. & Phyllis Gough Huffington Distinguished Chair
    Chief of Neurology, Memorial Hermann Hospital – Texas Medical Center (TMC)
    Co-director, Mischer Neuroscience Institute
    University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
    McGovern Medical School

    Kristin Newby, MD, MHS, FACC, FAHA
    Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiology
    Duke University Medical Center

    Heather M. Snyder, PhD

    Vice President, Medical & Scientific Relations
    Alzheimer’s Association

    Clintoria R. Williams, PhD, FAHA 
    Assistant Professor, Department of Neuroscience, Cell Biology and Physiology 
    Boonshoft School of Medicine and the College of Science and Mathematics 
    Wright State University

    Bessie Young, MD, MPH, FACP, FASN
    Associate Dean, Health Care Equity, School of Medicine
    Medical Director, Office of Health Care Equity, UW Medicine
    Professor of Medicine, Division of Nephrology, Department of Medicine
    University of Washington