Savannah, GA, December 1, 2023 – Dr. Ryan Kelley, radiologist with Savannah Vascular Institute has been named the American Heart Association Southern Coast 2023 Leaders of Impact winner for their work in driving equitable health in Savannah. In Chatham County, life expectancy varies by 15-years[1] which can often be caused by the social determinants of health and the barriers to achieving health equity for all communities -- factors that include structural racism[2] and lacking access to quality healthcare[3].

Over the course of seven weeks, O’Kelley participated in a blind fundraising competition against 3 other Southern Coast professionals. O’Kelley was named the 2023 Leaders of Impact winner after raising the most funds.

“We are thrilled to name Dr. Ryan O’Kelley as our 2023 Southern Coast Leaders of Impact Winner” said Ansley Howze, executive director for the American Heart Association. “Cardiovascular disease remains a top killer in Savannah. That’s why it’s critical for us to engage volunteers who are passionate about making a lasting impact on their community.”

The American Heart Association, devoted to a world of healthier lives for all, has invested in community health, innovative research and bold initiatives that save and improve lives. Funds raised through Leaders of Impact will support the Association’s 2024 Impact Goal which aims to advance cardiovascular health for all including identifying and removing barriers to health care access and quality. Across the Southern Coast, the Association is specifically focused on working with local stakeholders and community members to address barriers and inequities around CPR, blood pressure and education.

Leaders of Impact launched on Sept. 29, World Heart Day in 150 cities across the nation and culminated on Nov. 15, National Philanthropy Day. Each nominee’s participation focused on opportunities to be a changemaker with a shared purpose to raise the critical awareness, action and fund the mission of the American Heart Association.

Others local nominees included:  

  • Jason Bagget, Corcoran Group Realty
  • Wanda Hobson, Riverview Health
  • Stephanie Jurczak, Encompass Health

Leaders of Impact is held annually as a part of the Southern Coast Heart Ball. The Heart Ball will be held on March 29, 2024 at Savannah Marriott. This year’s event will relentlessly focus on the heart of our community and our shared vision for the future.

For more information about Leaders of Impact and a list of all the 2023 nominees, please visit the Southern Coast Heart Ball website.


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, Facebook, X or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.


For Media Inquiries:

Danica Powell;

Public Inquiries: 1-800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)