The American Heart Association: A brief history of a great institution.
The American Heart Association originally formed in New York City in 1915. Although it was originally called the Association for the Prevention and Relief of Heart Disease, the AHA consisted of doctors and social workers who wanted to discover and share more information related to heart disease. The New York organization did studies which looked into helping people with heart disease because at the time these patients were considered doomed.
As word of this organization spread other cities also founded organizations of their own and eventually it was apparent that a national association was needed to combine and share all the research and resources from all the other chapters.
It wasn’t until the late 1930’s that AHA begun looking at ways to extend their activities to reach the public. One of the first projects was a community rheumatic fever program in which the money was donated by the American Legion. This gave way to other public interests donating money and resources to the AHA.
The AHA reorganized in 1948 and enlisted the help of non medical volunteers with specialization in business, communication, education and fund raising. After the reorganization they began to grow quickly not only in size but financial resources and influence on an international scale.
The AHA finished its most significant changes between 1956 and 1980 allowing it to extend its self to the public with a wider range of influence. The AHA since then has become a widely recognized champion of public health.
The AHA went through another major change in the mid 1990’s where the scientific research findings began to move quickly from laboratories and clinics to doctor’s offices and the public. The AHA established opinions on important issues and even established guidelines and recommendations on how to better heart health.
Today, the AHA still continues to research and educate the public about heart health using many mediums including the media, magazines, books and the internet on the importance of heart health.