AHA Mission, Vision, and the 12 Essential Elements that Guide the AHA Research Program


To be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives.

The 2024 Impact Goal

Every person deserves the opportunity for a full, healthy life. As champions for health equity, by 2024, the American Heart Association will advance cardiovascular health for all, including identifying and removing barriers to health care access and quality

Twelve Research Essential Elements

The AHA Research Program is guided by 12 Essential Elements developed by a broad group of key stakeholders including science volunteers and approved by the AHA Board of Directors.

  1. Develop innovative research models that integrate AHA research values and fund highly meritorious or “best” research.
  2. Fund both investigator-initiated and strategically-focused research, including implementation research.
  3. Support all areas of cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and brain health research, with a focus on overall health and well-being across the lifespan that drives to the AHA’s 2024 goal and overall mission.
  4. Identify key questions that, if answered, could provide extraordinary impact in science and toward mission.
  5. Ensure a focus on diverse populations in both the makeup of the investigators we support and the participant populations of AHA-funded research.
  6. Provide programs that support the pursuit of the research in question and also facilitate the expansion of investigator skills.
  7. Focus on funding outstanding individuals, not just projects.
  8. Clearly define and report research and translationally-oriented outcomes to all stakeholders.
  9. Ensure that best practices are used for all governance and operational practice.
  10. Ensure that all stakeholders – researchers, donors, and other volunteers – are involved as appropriate in research activities.
  11. Fund research that could provide a return on investment to be funneled back to fund additional future research.
  12. Expand collaboration to leverage research dollars and outcomes.

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