The You’re the Cure network is full of incredible advocates that invest their free time and energy with us to make a difference – in their local community and beyond.
Dr. Shon Chakrabarti is an interventional cardiologist and an advocate. He is a shining example of how one individual can make a big difference when they invest their passion with the American Heart Association. Dr. Chakrabarti is instrumental in changing policy and ensuring individuals receive high-quality cardiovascular care.
Dr. Chakrabarti translates his background as a clinical researcher and interventional cardiologist into advocacy. He sees the need to intervene at the clinical level but also at the root, the policy level. He has been a key spokesperson for policy efforts to increase access to healthy food and quality healthcare in Virginia.
Dr. Chakrabarti’s involvement with the AHA began with an ask to chair a small fundraising event in Chesapeake. Before he knew it, he became an advocate and wrote personal messages to legislators about issues that impact heart disease via You're the Cure. Shortly after becoming involved, he attended advocacy days in Richmond and later in Washington DC, meeting with legislators, and using his expertise as a cardiologist to influence policy change. Expanding access to quality health care was achieved in Virginia in part because of Dr. Chakrabarti's efforts.
“One thing that became apparent to me during my journey to becoming an interventional cardiologist and clinical researcher is that impacting heart disease takes more than just what we do at the ground level,” says Dr. Chakrabarti. "Thanks to education efforts in Virginia, more patients seek treatment after learning the signs and symptoms of heart disease and stroke. And now, thanks to advocacy, more Virginians than ever will have access to health care to help prevent and treat cardiovascular diseases. These are some of the reasons why my admiration for what the AHA does continues to grow." Once he had children, he began to see the bigger picture and the need to lay groundwork to reduce the enormous burden that heart disease will have on our futures, on his daughters' futures.
He encourages more individuals to advocate. “We can all make a difference in our daily lives, the people we interact with one-by-one. And that is important. But with rising rates of obesity, diabetes, and continued issues with health care access for a large proportion of our nation, we need to do more. Advocacy allows us the opportunity to educate elected officials on how they can help communities.”
The rest is history for Dr. Chakrabarti. He now serves as the President of the Hampton Roads Board and continues to work closely on advocacy efforts. He knows there is much more work to be done, “to this day, the fight continues, and I stand with AHA and their mission.” Advocates like Dr. Chakrabarti are key in the success of our advocacy efforts. Because of the work you do, we are able to pass life-saving bills and implement programs in communities across the country. You, as always, are our why!