The American Heart Association (AHA) has named Mitchell SV Elkind as president of the organisation for its 2020–2021 fiscal year, which began on 1 July.
In a press release, the AHA says that 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.
Elkind says in the release: “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. “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.”
The statement points out that Elkind takes the helm during an unprecedented time for the world and the organisation 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 colour, 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.”
Elkind is only the second neurologist to serve as president in the AHA’s history. He plans to expand the Association’s focus on stroke and brain health, in addition to all things cardiovascular.
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 Boston, USA). He completed a fellowship in Vascular Neurology and Neuroepidemiology at Columbia University Medical Center, and also holds a Master’s degree in Epidemiology from Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health (New York, USA).