American Heart Association

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American Heart Association

American Heart Association

Which Type of Organization and Mission

The following is the current mission statement of the American Heart Association (taken direct from their Web site):

The American Heart Association is a national voluntary health agency whose mission is to reduce disability and death from cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

Functions and Responsibilities

The American Heart Association (AHA) is a non-profit organization devoted to the fight against heart disease and stroke (both among the nation's top killers), and other cardiovascular illnesses. In addition to conducting research, the association serves as a clearinghouse for information on heart-related diseases and conditions and acts as an advocate on public policy issues related to its mission. The organization boasts a National Centre in Dallas, as well as eight affiliate offices located throughout the US and in Puerto Rico (Shadish Cook Campbell 2002). The AHA was founded in 1924 by six cardiologists, who recognized the need to widely share their heart disease education and research.

Basically, they offer programs, training and services that create public awareness of heart disease and related conditions.

The moving force behind policy change for the American Heart Association and American Stoke Association are you're the Cure advocates bringing heart and stroke statistics to life by sharing their personal expertise with lawmakers at the local, state, and national levels. Through emails, phone calls, letters to the editor, press events, and face-to-face meetings with decision makers, you're the Cure advocates directly influence policy and improve the quality of life for not only our family members, friends, and neighbours, but for all of our fellow Americans. 


Stakeholders include those who are involved with implementing the initiatives, those who are impacted by the initiatives, those with inherent interest in the issue, and necessary partners, including funders (Fedder 2003). Engagement of all relevant stakeholders optimizes the evaluation process, improves sustainability, increases feasibility and relevance, maximizes communication, and facilitates optimal implementation. In the end, addressing childhood obesity across sectors among many stakeholders can create the kinds of changes that are more effective, sustainable, and efficient than might be accomplished by acting alone.

All interventions require an investment of resources. Evaluation is a key component of any intervention with engaged stakeholders, and it is important to include stakeholders in evaluation planning. Opening the evaluation to opposing perspectives and enlisting the help or input of potential opponents can strengthen the evaluation's credibility. Ultimately; it is this evaluation of impact that will inform whether the intervention and the resources it requires should be continued. The stakeholders can change over time as programs and policies are developed and implemented (Pearson 2001). Partnerships can be formed horizontally across sectors and vertically from practitioners to decision makers.

There are currently only a few models that target multilevel, multisector change around childhood obesity that include involvement from the healthcare sector. The "Shape up Somerville" initiative in Massachusetts and the state-level work in Pennsylvania concerning childhood obesity prevention are 2 examples. In Somerville, multiple stakeholders were engaged, including children, parents, teachers, school food service providers, city departments, policy makers, healthcare providers, before- and after-school programs, restaurants, ...
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