Renowned neurologist to lead enhanced research strategies on heart-brain health connection

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DALLAS, July 25, 2022 — The American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, has announced that Mitchell S.V. Elkind, M.D., M.S., FAHA, longtime volunteer of the Association and renowned neurologist, will be joining the staff leadership team this fall as Chief Clinical Science Officer. Elkind served as the national volunteer President of the American Heart Association in 2020-21.

“Scientific research at the basic, translational and population level has been a key pillar to the American Heart Association’s mission since our founding nearly a century ago. Advancing clinical research, today and into the future, is essential to building our understanding of how people are best cared for before, during and after a diagnosis or acute event,” said Nancy Brown, chief executive officer of the Association. “Clinical research, supported by new health technologies, is the next frontier of scientific discovery as we move toward more tailored, and targeted, treatments for all. Dr. Elkind brings a powerful combination of large-scale research experience, clinical education and collaborative mentorship that make him uniquely suited to help lead our efforts in this space.”

As the senior staff science leader for all Association initiatives related to stroke and brain health, Elkind will help identify new opportunities to expand the organization’s scientific, consumer, programmatic and business activities related to brain health. He will work to maximize strategic business relationships, including with key technology collaborators like Apple and Verily, to ensure next generation research efforts are patient-centered, highly participatory and inclusive of all populations.

“I am very excited about the breadth of expertise and skills Dr. Elkind will bring to our team. He is a practicing neurologist, an expert in clinical trials, an epidemiologist, a philosopher and a visionary. He truly will bring the brain to the heart-brain connection of the Association,” said Mariell Jessup, M.D., FAHA, chief science and medical officer of the American Heart Association.”

Elkind will also serve as the Association’s staff liaison with the science teams of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other government agencies on clinical research issues. Additionally, he will serve as the science liaison with the Association’s long-standing research collaboration with the Henrietta B. and Frederick H. Bugher Foundation and the American Heart Association-Allen Initiative in Brain Health and Cognitive Impairment, launched in 2018 to open new frontiers of discovery in brain health and cognitive impairment science.

“I am thrilled for this opportunity to help build the clinical science programs of the American Heart Association, stretching our reach to exciting new areas for the organization, including brain science and mental health, digital health and others,” Elkind said. “The Association has long been one of the major funders of cardiovascular research, and now we are well-positioned to conduct research as well, using resources developed over the past two decades, like our registries, data platforms and research networks. What I have learned from 25 years of academic clinical practice and public health research is that maximizing health and human potential requires bridging the traditional divides among disciplines, and no organization does that better than the American Heart Association.”

Elkind currently serves as professor of neurology and epidemiology, and chief of the Division of Neurology Clinical Outcomes Research and Population Sciences, at Columbia University in New York. He leads multiple federally-funded clinical research studies focusing on stroke prevention, inflammatory and infectious biomarkers in stroke risk prediction, atrial cardiopathy, immune therapy for acute stroke and vascular causes of cognitive aging. He will be taking a leave of absence from his position at Columbia when he begins his new role at the American Heart Association starting Sept. 1, 2022.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations, and powered by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for the public’s health and share lifesaving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Connect with us on heart.orgFacebookTwitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.  

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