Basic Cardiovascular Science 2020 Scientific Sessions is supported by an independent medical education grant from: Merck and Novartis Pharmaceuticals North America.

Mitchell S.V. Elkind to Lead the AHA in 2020-2021

American Heart Association names NY neurologist new national volunteer president.


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DALLAS, July 6, 2020 – The American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit organization focused on heart and brain health for all, named Mitchell S.V. Elkind, MD, MS, FAHA, FAAN, president of the organization for its 2020-2021 fiscal year, which began on July 1.

Elkind is a professor of neurology and epidemiology at Columbia University in New York and a renowned neurologist who has held numerous local and national volunteer positions. He most recently chaired the Advisory Committee of the American Stroke Association, a division of the American Heart Association. 

“I hope to bring more neuroscientists, both basic and clinical, into the American Heart Association family. Now that the association has made brain health a key element of research focus, along with cardiovascular disease and stroke, I plan to encourage members of the neuroscience community to think of the Association as a scientific home, a place to look for research funding and intellectual engagement,” said Elkind. “There are so many areas of overlap between cardiovascular disease and neuroscience, like sleep health and vascular contributions to dementia, and I will work to have the American Heart Association take the lead in facilitating research in that borderland.” 

Elkind takes the helm during an unprecedented time for the world and the organization  as a global pandemic continues to spread and cause widespread economic hardships and a need to address social injustices with far reaching impacts on people of color, including their health.

“My goal is to successfully steer the American Heart Association through the myriad complicated medical, economic and social difficulties that we as a society face right now. My fondest wish would be that we look back years from now and say that the association during this time met the challenges posed by a global pandemic, which threatened everything we believe in, and responded with leadership, energy and integrity to save lives and improve the quality of life for all.”

For 95 years, the American Heart Association has been dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke. Elkind, only the second neurologist to serve as president in American Heart Association history, plans to expand the association’s focus on stroke and brain health in addition to all things cardiovascular.

“As the American Heart Association works to evolve our mission for a world of longer healthier lives and build a promising future of innovative science, I’m looking forward to the transformative leadership of Dr. Elkind, especially as we address the urgent needs presented by the pandemic and beyond,” said Nancy Brown, chief executive officer of the American Heart Association. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise that will help be a catalyst for the organization as we continue as a global authority in overall health and well-being for all people.”

Elkind received his medical degree from Harvard Medical School and trained in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and in Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital, both in Boston, MA. He completed a fellowship in Vascular Neurology and Neuroepidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center under the mentorship of former American Heart Association president Ralph L. Sacco, MD, MS, FAHA, FAAN,  Elkind also holds a Master’s degree in Epidemiology from Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health.