Nancy Brown has been Chief Executive Officer of the American Heart Association since 2009. During her tenure as CEO, the association has become a global leader in the discovery and dissemination of heart disease and stroke science. Under her leadership, the association announced its bold 2020 Health Impact Goal: To improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent.
Brown has led the organization to significant advances, including a laser focus on prevention and improving cardiovascular health; instilling a culture of innovation spearheaded by the association’s Innovation Think Tank comprising staff executives and volunteer thought leaders; creating the Vision for Volunteerism initiative to generate even more significant opportunities for volunteers to impact our mission; developing the organization’s first-ever integrated global strategy; and launching new programs to expand individual giving/major gifts and increase AHA revenue and mission impact in small communities.
Brown has held multiple leadership positions at the association since her start in 1986, including eight years as Chief Operating Officer before being named CEO.
In addition to her work for the American Heart Association, Brown is chairman-elect of the National Health Council, co-chairman of the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care, a member of the Executive Committee and Board of Directors of Research!America, and a member of the boards of directors of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation.
Brown serves actively as a member of the Qualcomm Life Advisory Board, the Corporate Advisory Board of the Healthcare Business Association, and as a member of the FasterCures Advisory Council for the Research Acceleration and Innovation Network.
Brown earned a Bachelor of Science degree in communications and advertising from Central Michigan University.
Meighan Girgus is Chief Mission Officer of the American Heart Association, responsible for a wide range of organizational efforts that support our mission: Building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.
Among the many areas Girgus oversees are strategic planning, the American Stroke Association, consumer health programs, CPR and First Aid training, communications, advocacy and healthcare quality.
Girgus has spent much of her career dedicated to improving the quality of the healthcare delivery system. She has been integrally involved in multiple national panels and writing groups dedicated to fighting cardiovascular disease. She was a co-author of the groundbreaking “Recommendations for the Establishment of Primary Stroke Centers,” published in JAMA, which was the precedent for a radical shift in stroke care in the United States and the premise for The Joint Commission’s Primary Stroke Center certification program.
Girgus joined the American Heart Association in 1996. Before her promotion to Chief Mission Officer in 2009, she served as Executive Vice President of Health Care for seven years.
Girgus earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin, her Master’s in Business Administration from Southern California University, and completed her Graduate Marketing Certification at Southern Methodist University.
Rose Marie Robertson is Chief Science Officer of the American Heart Association. In this role, she is responsible for the overall science and medical policies and initiatives of one of the nation’s leading science-based organizations, including its work in supporting and accelerating biomedical research, in publishing the leading medical journals in cardiovascular and stroke science, and in providing a home for the broad range of professional members of the association.
Dr. Robertson also serves as the association’s science representative to outside organizations, both governmental and private.
Before joining the association in 2003, she also served as a longtime volunteer, including a term as the association’s president in 2000-01.
Dr. Robertson is professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where she created and directed the Vanderbilt Women’s Heart Institute. Her academic research career has focused on autonomic cardiovascular control.
Dr. Robertson has served on numerous review and advisory committees for the National Institutes of Health, the American College of Cardiology and the European Society of Cardiology. She currently chairs the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s National Advisory Committee for the Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Award.
She received the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Partner in Public Health Award in 2001. She is a member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, a founding member of the American Autonomic Society, and a founding member and past President of the Association for Patient-Oriented Research.
She received her M.D. from Harvard Medical School in 1970 and trained in internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital and in cardiology at the Johns Hopkins Hospital.
As Chief Financial Officer and Chief Administrative Officer, Sunder Joshi is responsible for a wide range of operations at the American Heart Association.
In addition to overseeing the finances of the association, he also is in charge of technology, human resources, facilities and many other business functions necessary to keep a nationwide organization operating effectively.
Joshi began his career at the American Heart Association in 1984 as Director of Internal Audit. He held several key positions before being promoted to Chief Operating Officer, Business Operations, of the association’s Western States Affiliate in 2003. There, he oversaw a wide variety of business functions.
Joshi was named Chief Financial Officer for the entire organization in 2006, and added the Chief Administrative Officer title in 2009.
Joshi holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from Bombay University, is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales, and received his CPA certification from the Colorado Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
As Chief Development Officer for the American Heart Association, Suzie Upton oversees the association’s nationwide fundraising and volunteerism efforts.
She is accountable for volunteerism strategy and fundraising that includes the field campaign, planned giving, individual and major gifts, and corporate relations. She is also accountable for creating additional revenue sources through innovative approaches to fundraising and new business models.
Growing revenue and volunteer resources is critical to saving and improving lives through research and education. These resources are key to achieving the association’s 2020 Impact Goal to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent.
Upton joined the American Heart Association in 1990 and was promoted to Vice President of Development in 1998. She was named Executive Vice President of Development in 2002 and Chief Development Officer in 2010.
Upton earned her degree in business administration in marketing/management from Baylor University.
Mariell Jessup, M.D., is president of the American Heart Association for its 2013-14 fiscal year.
As president, Jessup is chief volunteer scientific and medical officer, responsible for medical, scientific and public health matters.
Jessup is medical director of the Penn Heart and Vascular Center, professor of medicine and associate chief-clinical affairs at the University of Pennsylvania, in Philadelphia. She is a nationally recognized expert in heart failure and co-editor of Heart Failure: Providing Optimal Care and A Clinician’s Guide to Heart Failure Management in the Ambulatory Setting.
An American Heart Association volunteer for more than 15 years, Jessup was chairperson of the organization’s Committee on Scientific Sessions Program in 2009 and 2010, and chaired the committee that created the 2009 revision of the American College of Cardiology Foundation/American Heart Association Guidelines for the Management of Congestive Heart Failure.
Bernie Dennis is chairman of the board of the American Heart Association for its 2013-14 fiscal year.
As chairman, Dennis is responsible for the overall administration of business affairs, public relations and fundraising and will preside over meetings of the board of directors and administrative cabinet.
Dennis is owner of Dennis Associates, LLC, a management consulting firm in Sudbury, Mass., which he founded after retiring in 2004 as vice president at Oracle Corporation. Previously, Dennis was an executive at Eastman Kodak.
A volunteer for more than 15 years, Dennis was the association’s secretary-treasurer in 2011-12, chairman of the association’s Founders Affiliate from 2008 to 2010, and is also a past chairman of its Rochester, N.Y. Division. In 2010-11, Dennis chaired the association’s Workplace Giving Initiative, and has also been active in engaging employees from leading companies in volunteerism.
David Bush is treasurer of the American Heart Association for its 2013-14 fiscal year.
Bush is executive vice president of The First, A National Banking Association, in Hattiesburg, Miss. As treasurer, he is responsible for the funds and securities of the American Heart Association.
An association volunteer for more than 20 years, Bush was the 2010-12 chairman of the association’s Greater Southeast Affiliate and has been a member of the national board of directors since 2011. He is chairperson of the association’s Corporate Operations Coordinating Committee, a past chairperson of the Emergency Cardiovascular Care Business Management Committee and a past member of the Audit Committee, Budget Review Committee and Investment Committee.
Alvin Royse is the Chairman-elect of the American Heart Association and was their Secretary-Treasurer for the 2012-13 fiscal year. He retired as a senior partner with Deloitte & Touche in San Francisco in 2010, where he served as Global and US National Managing Partner for Tax Industries, and Tax Marketplace Development.
Active in community affairs, Royse was a founding member of the Silicon Valley Chapter of the California Commonwealth Club, and is involved with numerous professional and charitable organizations in San Francisco and Silicon Valley.
Royse’s involvement with the association began in 1997, when he chaired the San Francisco Heart Walk. He was recently named the Nonphysician Volunteer of the Year for the association’s 10-state Western States Affiliate.
Since 2010, Royse has served as an Executive in Residence at the University of North Dakota and as a guest lecturer at the University of Shanghai Science & Technology in Shanghai, China, where he presents on global corporate business practices, ethics and responsibilities, and the role of global business leaders. Previously, he served two terms in the North Dakota State Legislature.
Elliott Antman, M.D., is President-Elect of the American Heart Association. He is a professor of medicine and Associate Dean for Clinical/Translational Research at Harvard Medical School and a senior physician in the Cardiovascular Division of the Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.
He is Chairperson of the Association’s Advocacy Coordinating Committee, Vice Chairperson of their Science Advisory & Coordinating Committee, and a member of their Board of Directors, Administrative Cabinet, Corporate Operations Coordinating Committee and Nominating & Awards Committee.
He was Chairperson of the Association’s Committee on Scientific Sessions Program in 2011 and 2012. He is the 2006 recipient of the Association’s Meritorious Achievement Award and also received the Herrick Award of the Association’s Council on Clinical Cardiology in 2010. He was Chairperson of the joint American College of Cardiology/American Heart Association Task Force on Practice Guidelines from January 2003 through December 2005.
As Senior Investigator in the Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction (TIMI) Study Group, his ongoing research studies help refine diagnostic and therapeutic modalities in routine clinical use today including cardiac specific troponins and novel antithrombotic agents.
Ron Haddock is the Immediate Past Chairman of the American Heart Association. He is Executive Chairman of AEI Services, LLC, and serves on the boards of Alon USA and Petron Corporation. He was Chairman and CEO of FINA from 1989 until 2000.
A volunteer for more than 10 years, Haddock was the association’s Secretary-Treasurer in 2010-11 and the 2010-12 Chairman of their SouthWest Affiliate. He is a member of the association’s Corporate Operations Coordinating Committee, Advocacy Coordinating Committee and Compensation and Benefits Committee.
In 2010, he received the AHA Dallas Division’s first One In A Million Award for his outstanding volunteer service. He helped establish the Ron Haddock AHA/ASA International Impact Award, which recognizes volunteers for outstanding contributions to AHA global initiatives, and the Haddock Challenge, which encourages increased participation in SouthWest Affiliate campaigns. This includes the Côtes du Coeur gala in Dallas, the Dallas Heart Walk Executive Challenge and the Circle of Red for the Dallas Go Red For Women Luncheon. His commitment to corporate involvement in AHA activities helped the 2013 Dallas Heart Walk achieve a record $4.7 million in fundraising.
Donna Arnett, Ph.D., is professor and chairperson of the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. She is the Immediate Past President of the American Heart Association.
An association volunteer since 1992, Dr. Arnett is a past chairperson of the Association’s Science Advisory & Coordinating Committee and is a member of their Board of Directors, Administrative Cabinet, Advocacy Coordinating Committee and Corporate Operations Coordinating Committee.
Dr. Arnett is the principal investigator of numerous studies focused on genetic and genomic determinants of drug response in cardiovascular disease. Her research has focused on the vanguard of evolving genotyping technologies and analytical methods, from the era of microsatellite linkage studies to state-of-the-art epigenetic analyses and whole-exome searches for rare causal variants.
Dr. Arnett has published more than 500 peer-reviewed research papers, book chapters and abstracts in the field of cardiovascular genetic epidemiology. She has served on various committees of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, and on the editorial boards of Circulation, the American Journal of Epidemiology, and the International Journal of Molecular Epidemiology and Genetics.