American Heart Association launches new national initiative

September 29, 2015 Categories: Program News


  • A new report finds heart failure continues to be a significant health, economic and personal burden in the U.S.
  • In response, AHA has launched the Rise Above Heart Failure initiative, with goals to reduce heart failure hospitalizations by 10% and to increase awareness and understanding of HF by 10% by 2020.
  • Rita Owens, supported by her daughter Queen Latifah, share their story through the Rise Above Heart Failure initiative to inspire others to take action and get heart healthy.

DALLAS, September 29, 2015 – The number of Americans diagnosed with heart failure, or HF, is expected to increase by nearly 40 percent over the next 15 years and the costs associated with managing the life-threatening illness will almost double, according to a new report from the American Heart Association released today.

HF, also known as congestive heart failure, is a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. It’s one of the most common heart diseases in the U.S., with more than 870,000 new cases reported annually and one in nine deaths including HF as a contributing cause. There are ways to manage and treat the condition, yet about half of those with HF die within five years of being diagnosed.

According to the association’s 2015 “Impact of Heart Failure Report,” by 2030, the number of people diagnosed with HF is expected to increase from about six million to nearly eight million.

Total medical costs to treat the condition are projected to increase from $14.3 billion in 2015 to $29.2 billion in 2030. Additionally, indirect costs of HF, including work loss, household productivity losses, and premature mortality losses, are projected to increase from $8.2 billion in 2015 to $12.3 billion in 2030.

“Heart failure is one of the most misunderstood health issues facing our country today, yet its impact is undeniable,” said Nancy Brown, Chief Executive Officer of the American Heart Association. “We’ve made significant progress in many areas of cardiovascular disease, and now more than ever, it’s important to set this target on heart failure and activate together to help all Americans rise above this potentially deadly condition.”

In response to this public health issue, the American Heart Association is launching Rise Above Heart Failure, a national initiative aimed at changing the course of this disease through awareness, education and support. The goals for the initiative are to reduce heart failure hospitalizations by 10% and increase awareness and understanding of this potentially deadly condition by 10% by 2020.

Through Rise Above Heart Failure, nationally supported by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, the American Heart Association plans to:

  • Increase awareness of heart failure and its symptoms and treatments,

  • Promote a heart failure dialogue and inspire people living with heart failure and their loved ones to take a more active role in their care,

  • Encourage all people to make small changes that can lead to healthier lifestyles, and

  • Bring together an alliance of influential organizations to collectively support the goal of reducing the impact of heart failure.

“By having clear goals, we can implement strategies and programs that can help change the trajectory of heart failure,” said Clyde W. Yancy, M.D., a past president of the American Heart Association and Chief of Cardiology and Magerstadt Professor at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago. “None of us can do this alone, it will take a commitment of individuals and public and private organizations working together to rise above the staggering impact of heart failure.”

Yancy is moderating a forum of public health leaders meeting at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. today to present the findings of the “Impact of Heart Failure Report,” and announce the formation of the Rise Above Heart Failure Alliance. The alliance will include key thought leaders in healthcare, patient advocacy, industry and government who will come together to further assess the current burden of HF and develop strategies to address the issue, such as policy changes, healthcare system improvements and patient awareness and empowerment initiatives.

Panelists at the National Press Club event are:

  • Janet Wright, M.D., Executive Director, Million Hearts, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  • Michele Blair, Chief Executive Officer, Heart Failure Society of America

  • Ryan Olohan, National Industry Director, Healthcare, Google

    Award-winning actress, singer, songwriter, television producer and talk show host Queen Latifah and her mother Rita Owens, who suffers from heart failure, have also joined the movement to share their story. Queen and Rita want everyone to know that with education, support and by being proactive with managing the condition, people can “Rise Above Heart Failure.”

    Everyone can get involved by visiting  to learn more about heart failure, share their experiences and access tools and resources, and also:

  • Share a “Heartie” – photos of individuals or groups creating the shape of a heart – on social media, along with the hashtags #MyChangeofHeart and #RiseAboveHF, and tag five friends to encourage them to join the movement
  • Share a pledge to make a small change in life to get healthier and rise above HF.

Video resources:


The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association receives funding mostly from individuals. Foundations and corporations donate as well, and fund specific programs and events. Strict policies are enforced to prevent these relationships from influencing the association’s science content. Financial information for the American Heart Association, including a list of contributions from pharmaceutical companies and device manufacturers, is available at

For Media Inquiries: (214) 706-1173

Staff contacts: Cathy Lewis (214) 706-1324;

Julie Del Barto (broadcast): (214) 706-1330;

For Public Inquiries: (800)-AHA-USA1 (242-8721) and