DALLAS, December 1, 2020 — Today is #GivingTuesday, a national day of philanthropic action to address the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Heart Association – the leading global public health organization devoted to a world of longer, healthier lives – is asking people to donate and help the Association support the 121 million heart disease and stroke patients who may be at higher risk of severe illness including hospitalization, admission to the ICU, being placed on a ventilator or death due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Stroke survivors, people with high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, smokers and those with heart disease including coronary artery disease and heart failure may face increased risk for serious complications if they become infected with COVID-19. Those with underlying cardiovascular disease are also at increased risk of dying than the general population.

“This fast-moving COVID-19 pandemic presents a unique set of challenges summed up in one word: uncertainty,” said Bert Scott, chairman of the board of the American Heart Association. “Millions of people are counting on us for science-based guidance, research that gets to the core of big unanswered questions, resources for the front lines, community programs and patient support. We were made for this moment. I’m humbled every day by our staff, volunteers and supporters, many of whom are on the front lines of this pandemic, who are demonstrating real humanity and prioritizing the people who are counting on us most.”

The American Heart Association has swiftly responded to COVID-19 by funding rapid scientific research, supporting frontline health care workers, and helping communities and individuals navigate the complex challenges intensified by the global pandemic ranging from food security to access to care. 

Already, thanks to generous donors and a committed staff and volunteer force, since March the American Heart Association has:

  • Established 21 rapid research grants totaling $2.5 million to fast-track scientific research to better understand COVID-19 and its interaction with cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases.
  • Offered supplemental funding grants to the Association’s new Health Technologies & Innovation Strategically Focused Research Network centers to create new technology-based solutions for addressing the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Developed interim CPR guidelines to help rescuers and first-responders safely treat cardiac arrest victims with suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19.
  • Made oxygenation and ventilation courses available free to healthcare providers who need them in the global fight against COVID-19.
  • Urged lawmakers at the federal and state levels to ensure all families have access to care, including guaranteed free coronavirus testing.
  • Stood up the first CVD COVID-19 patient registry to allow researchers to collect critical data elements that may provide insights to the treatment and track adverse cardiovascular outcomes for this new disease. Powered by the Association’s successful Get With The Guidelines®  hospital quality improvement program, the multi-center registry focuses on granular data collection from centers that routinely test biomarkers in adult COVID-19 patients.
  • Supported local organizations that are addressing social determinants of health, including investees of the Association’s Social Impact Fund.
  • Launched a call- to-action campaign urging individuals not to die of doubt but to call 911 or visit a hospital in times of emergency regardless of the pandemic.

“The American Heart Association is unleashing our full organizational strength to tackle this crisis head on,” said Scott. “People living with heart disease and stroke are at greater risk of severe complications from COVID-19 and are rightfully concerned.  We have urgent problems to solve and that’s why we need you now more than ever.”

To help the American Heart Association continue to make an impact, donate now at heart.org. Get the latest American Heart Association information and recommendation on COVID-19 here.


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.   

For Media Inquiries:

Linzy Cotaya: 504-872-3446; linzy.cotaya@heart.org

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

heart.org and stroke.org