COVID-19 Response

man and woman couple in park playing with dog

The American Heart Association is working with researchers, medical experts, hospitals, community leaders, businesses and families to reduce the impact of the coronavirus. Here are some of the ways we’re making a difference.

We’re investing in research on the cardiovascular implications of COVID-19. The AHA established a $2.5 million rapid-research fund to fast-track scientific research to better understand COVID-19 and its interaction with cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. Less than a month after issuing the call for proposals, the AHA awarded $1.2 million in grants to teams at 12 institutions. In August 2020, an additional $400,000 in research funding was granted to focus on the cardiovascular impact of COVID-19. We received a record number of proposals, and an extraordinary number of volunteers stepped forward to quickly turn them around.

Additional funding for special research projects within each of the four new Health Technologies & Innovation Strategically Focused Research Centers brings the AHA’s COVID-19-related scientific research funding to $2.4 million so far.

The AHA, along with Hitachi Vantara and BurstIQ, launched a COVID-19 data challenge on the AHA Precision Medicine Platform to examine the relationships between COVID-19, other health conditions, health disparities and/or social determinants of health.

coronavirus illustrationWe’re helping to accelerate antiviral drugs to combat COVID-19. We’re speeding discovery of therapeutic antibodies or antiviral drugs for the virus that causes COVID-19, thanks to our collaboration with Lawrence Livermore National Labs on the protein atlas developed through the AHA Center for Accelerated Discovery.

We’re leveraging our science and relationships to understand how the coronavirus affects at-risk patients. The AHA is monitoring developments in the pandemic and convening experts to ensure timely and accurate dissemination of the latest evidence about care for heart disease and stroke patients who contract COVID-19.

We’re meeting the needs of health care workers dealing with the coronavirus. We’re working to ensure that our health care workers on the front lines of the pandemic have the training and resources they need. In response to the shortage of trained ICU personnel for using ventilators, we rapidly launched free Oxygenation & Ventilation of the COVID-19 health care courses, and the Ventilation Reskilling eLearning Course, to help worldwide.

We’ve also added COVID-19 data elements and registry to our Get With The Guidelines modules, an entirely new platform for data capture and research. The data from will help hospitals and medical centers through research studies that will help treat future patients. To lower barriers to participation, we made the registry available to all U.S. hospitals and health systems at no charge.

We’re teaching hospitals and communities how to safely and effectively administer CPR during COVID-19. More than 356,000 people in the United States will suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest this year. To support our nearly 400,000 CPR Training Network instructors, we established interim guidance and resources for in-person training with social distancing.

We’re advocating for policies that ensure families have access to care, protect frontline health workers and help charitable organizations continue their work. The AHA strongly supported legislation to ensure everyone can access coronavirus testing and to increase the supply of personal protective equipment.

happy young boy looking out windowWe're working to prioritize the greatest needs of communities, including access to care, financial support, proper nourishment and physical activity. Examples (in select communities, thanks to specific funding opportunities) include increasing support for families living in public housing who are struggling to pay rent due to missed paychecks or layoffs, providing daycare and mental health services for struggling parents, and delivering healthy foods to the elderly and disadvantaged.

We’re working with parents and teachers to keep kids healthy and active. When the pandemic put classroom-based education on hold, the AHA responded with Kick Cabin Fever to the Curb, which includes resources to keep children engaged in healthy behaviors and resources for teachers to use in schools.

We’re providing businesses with essential resources to help their employees stay healthy and active. When more people began working from home, the AHA rapidly adapted resources to meet the changing needs of the workforce.

We're meeting people where they are with the resources they need. As people adapt to new ways of living, the AHA continues to create and curate engaging content. We’ll move forward by delivering quick, simple and actionable ideas to increase health and well-being — today and every day.