Palm Beach Philanthropists, Heart Disease Survivor Donate $5 Million for Women’s Heart Focused Research Center

May 19, 2015 Categories: Heart News

Palm Beach, May 19, 2015 - The American Heart Association announced today a $5 million donation from Sarah (Sally) Ross Soter and her husband, Bill.  The donation will fund the Sarah Ross Soter Center for Women’s Cardiovascular Research.  It is the inaugural gift to the American Heart Association’s new Go Red For Women Research Network which will unite elite research institutions across the country to focus efforts around improved health outcomes specific to women.

Soter, an active community volunteer who’s passionate about improving healthcare for women by accelerating science, hopes her gift will “mean so much for research.” The American Heart Association funds more heart and stroke research than any organization outside the U.S. government.

“The American Heart Association is so grateful for Sally’s commitment to improving women’s heart health and to correcting the disparities that so many women face when it comes to accessing the care they deserve,” American Heart Association CEO Nancy Brown said. “We are eager for this important new research to begin, and for the improvements that will follow in prevention, treatment and care for all women.”

            Years ago, when Soter was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, a condition that causes an irregular heartbeat, she told her doctor she was determined to conquer heart disease — and help other women facing it too.  This gift will provide research specifically related to women and heart disease while raising awareness on how women can make constructive changes in their heart health.

            “To be able to fund something that could help women and heart disease is very rewarding,” said Soter.  “There’s so much we still don’t know and I believe the American Heart Association has developed an approach that will help answer some of the unknowns.”

Research continues to show differences in heart disease among women and men, and gaps remain in how to best diagnose, treat and prevent it. These gaps mean a lack of information about whether women react differently to heart disease, if diagnostic methods work differently based on gender, and if women respond differently to treatment. An estimated 43 million women in the U.S. are affected by heart disease.

            Soter’s vision for eradicating heart disease in women and her dedication to the association’s mission stretches beyond this most recent gift.  She established the first-ever endowed chair exclusively for women’s heart health at Ohio State University Medical Center.

Soter is also the founding funder for the American Heart Association’s Teaching Gardens , which funds gardens in half a dozen schools in Palm Beach County, Florida.  

The Sarah Ross Soter Center for Women’s Cardiovascular Research will be one of the four to five American Heart Association research centers within the Go Red For Women Research Network. The institutions making up each Center will be selected in early 2016.





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 or call any of our offices around the country. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.


Contact: Matthew Bannister