DALLAS – June 23, 2016―The American Heart Association (AHA), the world’s leading voluntary health organization devoted to fighting cardiovascular disease, honored several leading volunteers for their significant accomplishments and outstanding service at its annual Awards Luncheon in Dallas on June 22.

The Award of Meritorious Achievement was presented to the Anthem Foundation; Kiran Musunuru, M.D., Ph.D., MPH, FAHA; and the Women’s Board of the AHA, Greater Washington Region. The award recognizes significant accomplishments or projects that affect the association at a national level.

The Anthem Foundation was recognized for extraordinary support of AHA initiatives to advance training in Hands-Only CPR. Since 2012, the foundation has provided more than $12 million in funding to educate more than 4 million people in the lifesaving skills of compressions-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

Musunuru, associate professor of cardiovascular medicine and genetics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, was recognized for his highly innovative approach to scientific learning at AHA conferences. His Next Generation Technology Bootcamp model has been adopted as part of the conference program for the AHA’s Scientific Sessions and the annual meeting of the Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. 

The Women’s Board was recognized for their inspirational leadership and support for nearly 70 years on behalf of the association. The Women’s Board’s annual “Affair of the Heart” luncheon and fashion show has raised over $7 million since 2000 and has helped fund nearly 70 cardiovascular disease and stroke research grants.

The Louis B. Russell, Jr. Memorial Award was presented to Governor Bill Anoatubby of the Chickasaw Nation in Oklahoma for his passionate, enduring commitment to improving cardiovascular health among Native American populations. The award recognizes an individual who has rendered outstanding service to minority and underserved populations. Governor Anoatubby has led the Chickasaw Nation in adopting numerous AHA health awareness initiatives and has been a strong supporter of local fundraising events, including the Central Oklahoma Heart Walk. 

The Healthcare Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Teri Ackerson, RN, BSN, SCRN, of Kansas City, Missouri. The award recognizes outstanding contributions in cardiovascular disease, stroke patient care and improvements in the quality of healthcare delivery. A stroke survivor, Ackerson was honored for her ongoing efforts to raise awareness of stroke symptoms and risk factors and for serving as an advocate for improvements in stroke quality of care and systems of care.

The Physician of the Year Award was presented to Raymond Townsend, M.D., 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. Townsend, a professor of medicine and director of the Hypertension Program at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, was honored for more than two decades of exemplary service to advance the understanding of the role of hypertension in cardiovascular diseases, stroke and kidney disease.

The Ron Haddock AHA/ASA International Impact Award was presented to Professor Sir Magdi Yacoub, FRS, FRCS, FACC, OM, founder and president of Chain of Hope, a charitable organization based in London. The award recognizes important service in support of the association’s international programs. In a career spanning six decades, Sir Magdi has helped to transform the global health landscape not only as a renowned cardiac surgeon and innovator, but also as a leading advocate for improving cardiovascular health among underprivileged populations.

The Morgan Stark Memorial Award was presented to Carl Rafiepour, MBA, senior vice president of investments with UBS Financial Services in Pasadena, California. 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 within the organization. Rafiepour has contributed more than three decades of experience in wealth management to help the association diversify its investment portfolio while reducing administrative costs.


About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – America’s No. 1 and No. 5 killers. 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:

Carrie Thacker – carrie.thacker@heart.org, (214) 706-1173

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

heart.org and strokeassociation.org

Life is why, science is how . . .  we help people live longer, healthier lives.