Nancy Brown has been Chief Executive Officer of the American Heart Association (AHA) since 2008. The Association is widely known and highly respected as the world’s largest voluntary health organization dedicated to preventing, treating and defeating cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

During her tenure as CEO, the AHA has become a global leader in the discovery and dissemination of heart disease and stroke science. Notably, under Nancy’s leadership the Association announced its bold new 2020 health impact goal: To improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20 percent while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20 percent. Nancy’s drive to set a brave long-term goal, at a time when many other organizations were focused on short-term needs, has provided a rallying point for the Association’s millions of volunteers, staff, and donors.

Nancy has also led the organization to a number of significant advances in the time that she has served as its top staff executive, including: a laser focus on prevention and improving cardiovascular health; instilling a culture of innovation spearheaded by the AHA’s Innovation Think Tank, which has developed a number of critical new mission-aligned and revenue business enterprises for the Association; creating the AHA’s CEO Roundtable, comprised of CEOs of many of the largest and most influential corporations in America focused on innovating new solutions for health in the workplace; spearheading the AHA’s Institute for Precision Cardiovascular Medicine, a ground-breaking research enterprise focused on fulfilling the promise of individualized medicine; launching One Brave Idea™, an unprecedented, $75 million research collaboration with Verily and AstraZeneca; developing the Association’s first-ever integrated global strategy; and launching new revenue strategies to expand individual giving/major gifts and increase the Association’s revenue and mission impact.

In addition to her tireless efforts for the AHA, Nancy shares her passion for improving the health of individuals in the U.S. and globally by serving as a member of the Boards of Directors of, the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care, Research!America, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, the Truth Initiative, and the Valentin Fuster-Mount Sinai Foundation for Science, Health and Empowerment; as a member of the Executive Committees of Research!America; and as a member of the Qualcomm Life Advisory Board, the FasterCures Research Acceleration and Innovation Network Advisory Council, the Healthcare Advisory Board to the Bipartisan Policy Center’s CEO Council on Health and Innovation, and Leadership18. She also previously served as Chairman of the Board of the National Health Council.

Prior to being named CEO, Nancy served as AHA’s Chief Operating Officer for the eight prior years. In this role she managed the Association’s mission, science and operations functions and led the AHA’s integrated strategy to achieve its 2010 Impact Goal to reduce coronary heart disease, stroke and risk by 25 percent. Notable accomplishments also included the creation of the AHA’s Go Red for Women to advance women’s cardiovascular health and the development of a suite of quality improvement programs including Get With The Guidelines. She has held multiple leadership positions at the AHA since her start in 1986 leading fundraising initiatives in the Michigan Affiliate, including serving as the Executive Director in Metro Detroit, as well as leading the AHA’s work as Executive Vice President of the former Massachusetts and former New England Affiliates. Prior to joining the AHA, Nancy also served her home state of Michigan as Director of Development/Deputy Director of the Endowment Campaign for the Michigan Cancer Foundation, and as Special Events Director for Mount Carmel Mercy Hospital in Detroit.

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Case Studies


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