Donna Arnett, Ph.D., MSPH, has worn many hats- nurse, researcher, epidemiologist, volunteer, public health advocate- and now, President of the American Heart Association. Having dedicated her career to understanding how diseases affect various populations, her leadership, expertise, and passion will be a valuable asset as the AHA continues to work toward its goal of improving the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent, by the year 2020.
In her role as President, Dr. Arnett has made it her mission to encourage every person and group she meets with to take small steps toward a healthier life. “We know so much about how to protect cardiovascular health and that by following a healthy lifestyle and preventing risk factors from developing, much of cardiovascular disease and stroke can be prevented,” she shared.
And as a researcher and a concern citizen, Dr. Arnett knows the impact she can have as a You’re the Cure advocate too. She has been an active advocate for years, helping to educate her lawmakers about the importance of funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which has made much of her research possible, and pushing for policy changes that promote prevention.
“Advocacy is critical for us to reach our 2020 goal. To make large population changes, we need to have policies that address whole populations, including making healthy foods more available and affordable, creating infrastructure to support physical activity in schools, and making cities more ‘walkable’,” she said. “And we need NIH research to find the best and most cost-effective treatments for those who already have heart disease or stroke.”
That’s why Dr. Arnett is calling on all AHA volunteers to join the organization’s advocacy efforts. “It’s fast, easy, and effective. Combining your voice with the thousands of other AHA voices is a powerful tool, and highlights the foundational principles of our democracy.”
In addition to serving her two-year term as President of the AHA, Dr. Arnett is the Chairperson of the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health.