DALLAS, June 26, 2017 –  The American Heart Association, the world’s leading voluntary health organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular disease and stroke, honored its annual “best of the best” from the ranks of its 30 million volunteer supporters during ceremonies in Dallas on June 21.

“Our volunteers are the life blood of our organization,” said Nancy Brown, chief executive officer of the American Heart Association. “We honor these individuals, who have made outstanding contributions to the AHA, and who everyday are on the frontlines helping consumers build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. As a volunteer organization, we are indebted to these servant leaders.” 

Awards of Meritorious Achievement were presented to David Goff, Jr., M.D., Ph.D., FAHA and Jeffrey L. Saver, M.D., FAHA. The award recognizes significant accomplishments or projects that affect the association at a national level.

Goff was recognized for his enormous contributions to the understanding of the epidemiology of cardiovascular disease, to the mentoring of future scientists, and to the development of key association guidelines for the management of patients at risk for ischemic heart disease. Goff is Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s Division of Cardiovascular Sciences in Bethesda, Maryland.

Saver was recognized for his outstanding leadership on behalf of the association’s Stroke Council, Stroke Advisory Committee and Stroke Scientific Statement Oversight Committee. Saver is Professor of Clinical Neurology and Director of the Stroke Unit at the David Geffen School of Medicine of the University of California, Los Angeles.

The Louis B. Russell, Jr. Memorial Award was presented to Joey Barnett, Ph.D., for his tireless efforts as an advocate for the career advancement of minority students and trainees in cardiovascular science, and for increased representation of underserved communities among the AHA volunteer base. The award recognizes an individual who has rendered outstanding service to minority and underserved populations. Barnett is Director of the Office of Medical Student Research, Assistant Dean of Physician-Researcher Training, and Vice Chair of the Department of Pharmacology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.

The Healthcare Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Theresa Conejo, R.N., BSN, FAHA; Heart Failure Coordinator at Mercy Health System of Southwestern Pennsylvania-Nazareth Hospital in Conshohocken. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to achievements in cardiovascular disease and/or stroke patient care or improvements in the quality of healthcare delivery. Conejo has had an inspirational impact on the association’s mission through her advocacy for public policy to eliminate disparities in healthcare and her personal commitment to improving the health of All Americans through awareness and education.

The Physician of the Year Award was presented to Donald M. Lloyd-Jones, M.D., Sc.M., FAHA. The award is presented annually to a practicing physician who has rendered outstanding contributions to the accomplishment of the AHA’s mission to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Lloyd-Jones, Chair of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Northwestern Feinberg

School of Medicine in Chicago, was honored for two decades of exemplary service to advance the AHA’s efforts to improve patient outcomes and create healthier communities across the nation.

The Morgan Stark Memorial Award was presented to James Fullerton, the retired President of COBIZ Bank in Denver. The award recognizes an individual who has been an outstanding steward of AHA resources and a leader in the areas of human resources, finances or operations of the organization. A volunteer for nearly three decades, Fullerton has contributed his financial knowledge to help ensure steady, continued growth of the AHA investment portfolio while also improving operational efficiency at the local, affiliate and national levels. 


About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke –  the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. To learn more or to get involved, call 1-800-AHA-USA1, visit heart.org or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

For Media Inquiries: (214) 706-1173

Carrie Thacker: (214) 706-1665; carrie.thacker@heart.org

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

heart.org and strokeassociation.org