Strategically Focused Research


Strategically Focused Research Networks

Starting in 2014-2015, the American Heart Association began funding two Strategically Focused Research Networks (SFRN) each year. Each Network is comprised of three to five institutions working on three projects each that are focused on one area strategic to AHA's Mission.

Research Partnership Programs

The AHA continues to establish research funding partnerships with organizations that share a common interest in developing targeted fields related to cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Health Equity Research Network (HERN) on the Prevention of Hypertension

The Health Equity Research Network (HERN) on the Prevention of Hypertension is part of the multi-pronged approach of the American Heart Association’s unprecedented pledge(link opens in new window)(link opens in new window)(link opens in new window)(link opens in new window)(link opens in new window) to aggressively address social determinants while working to support and improve the equitable health of all communities.

High blood pressure is a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke and is also a health equity issue. Significant racial and ethnic disparities in prevalence of hypertension and its management are well documented. Uncontrolled hypertension is particularly acute in communities of color. This research initiative provides a mechanism to advance the science of the prevention of hypertension with a focus on health equity.

AHA COVID-19 Rapid Response Grant 

In March 2020, the AHA put out an unprecedented rapid response call for cardiovascular/ cerebrovascular research proposals to address the growing crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of this issue's urgency, the focus was on innovative, highly impactful short-term proposals (9-12 months) that can show progress within the period of this award. 

AHA - Allen Initiative in Brain Health and Cognitive Impairment

The AHA and the Allen Frontiers Group, together with additional contributors, including the Oskar Fischer Project and Henrietta B. and Frederick H. Bugher Foundation, have committed over $43 million to disrupt the incremental trajectory of brain health science and open new frontiers of discovery.

End Nicotine Addiction in Children and Teens (ENACT)

The rapid pace of e-cigarette products entering the market without provision of essential safety information requires an equally rapid, ambitious, comprehensive response on the part of the research/ scientific community. The AHA seeks to accelerate desperately needed answers about the health effects of e-cigarettes and other novel nicotine delivery devices (ENNDs) and how to prevent and/or reverse the developing epidemic of nicotine addiction, among children and youth (defined as 15-24 years of age). To that end, the AHA is committing up to $20 million to fund bold, ground-breaking research projects focused on the health impacts of nicotine and nicotine delivery products in children and youth.

American Stroke Association-Bugher Foundation Centers of Excellence in Hemorrhagic Stroke

The Henrietta B. and Frederick H. Bugher Foundation and the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association have awarded research grants to four multidisciplinary teams that comprise the Centers of Excellence in Hemorrhagic Stroke Research Network. The teams are working to develop scientific breakthroughs to improve prevention, treatment and health outcomes related to hemorrhagic, or bleeding, strokes.

The network is supported by a $11.12M gift to scientific research from the Henrietta B. and Frederick H. Bugher Foundation, who over four decades has donated nearly $50M in cardiovascular disease and stroke research.

Health Equity Research Network on Women's Health

The AHA has committed $20 million to establish this Health Equity Research Network to address the unacceptable reality of the disproportionately high maternal mortality rate for Black women – a tragedy that also impacts their babies. Because heart and vascular issues account for about half of these deaths, the AHA is uniquely positioned to address this critical issue. 

More details to come soon on this major initiative.