medical science

A Look at 10 AHA-Backed Research Breakthroughs

AmericanHeartAssociationOver the course of nearly 100 years, the American Heart Association (AHA) has maintained a commitment to fighting heart disease and stroke by educating health professionals and the general public about the best ways to improve cardiovascular health. The organization’s work is also largely focused on supporting and advancing cardiovascular research. Since its inception in 1924, the AHA has invested over $4.1 billion into research projects and initiatives, which is more than any other US-based nonprofit organization.

Over the years, the AHA’s funding has supported a number of research breakthroughs in the areas of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease. Many of these research breakthroughs have helped to improve global health by advancing understanding and/or treatment of heart- and vascular-related issues. In order to provide a better understanding of the AHA’s impact on health care worldwide, here is a brief look at 10 groundbreaking research projects that were backed by funding from the AHA:


  1. Study on Diuretics and Blood Pressure

In 1949, AHA-funded research helped Dr. Alfred Farah to pioneer the study of how diuretics affect heart and kidney function. His research into diuretics, which help to control blood pressure by ridding the body of excess water and sodium, led to advancements in the pharmacological treatment of heart disease. Diuretics are still considered one of the best classes of drugs for controlling blood pressure and treating heart failure.


  1. Research on Dietary Fat and Cholesterol

Before the 1950s, there was little understanding of the link between dietary fat and serum cholesterol levels. This changed after the AHA backed research led by Dr. Ancel Keys, a physiologist who spearheaded what has become known as the Seven Countries Study. The study linked fat and cholesterol for the first time and led to dietary recommendations that remain in place today.



  1. Pacemaker Research

The earliest advancements in pacemaker technology and research were supported by the AHA. In 1957, Dr. William Weirich used the first pacemaker to treat a patient with heart blockage. His work on early battery-operated wearable pacemakers led to the creation of today’s fully implanted pacemaker devices.


  1. Artificial Heart Valves

In addition to pacemakers, the AHA helped to support the advancement of artificial heart valves, which were first developed by Dr. Albert Starr and Lowell Edwards. The pair’s work in the 1960s has had long-lasting effects. Over the years, the Starr-Edwards valve, which is still used today to help people with diseased heart valves, has saved millions of lives.


  1. CPR Research

Widely known as the fathers of CPR, physicians James Jude, Guy Knickerbocker, and William Kouwenhoven pioneered the use of external cardiac massage with the support of AHA funding. Research into the lifesaving potential of CPR was first reported in 1961 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.


  1. Advancement of Microsurgery

Used across a range of surgical disciplines, microsurgery was first performed by Dr. Julius Jacobson in the early 1960s. His work, which was funded in part by the AHA, has led to widespread advancements in surgical practices.


  1. The Work of Biochemist Mildred Cohn

For 14 years, the AHA provided funding to support the research activities of Mildred Cohn, the AHA’s first female career investigator. Cohn was a pioneer in the use of new technologies to study and measure organic chemical changes. Her work as a biochemist contributed greatly to the understanding of nuclear magnetic resonance. It also led to the development of new medical technologies, including nuclear magnetic resonance, which remains one of the most advanced imaging methods in use today.


  1. Blood Pressure Research

With the help of AHA funding, Dr. Maurice Sokolow led a 20-year study that examined the effects of high blood pressure. The results of his study, which were published in 1966, showed that chronic high blood pressure reduces one’s life expectancy and can lead to various complications affecting the heart and other areas of the body. Dr. Sokolow also designed and built one of the first portable blood pressure recorders, which helped to advance later blood pressure studies.


blood pressure


  1. Children’s Heart Health

In 1990, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first drug to treat respiratory distress syndrome, which affects premature infants with defects of the heart and lungs. The drug, Exosurf Neonatal, was developed by Dr. John Clements, who served as an AHA Career Investigator for decades. In later years, the AHA continued its work in the area of children’s heart health by partnering with the Children’s Heart Foundation to provide $22.5 million for research into congenital heart defects.


  1. Study on Oxygen and Physiology Function

Over the years, the AHA has supported several researchers who went on to earn the Nobel Prize for their work. One of the most recent is Dr. Gregg L. Semenza, a John Hopkins University researcher who received the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for his discoveries related to the interplay between cell metabolism, physiological function, and oxygen availability. Since 1993, Dr. Semenza’s Nobel Prize-winning work has been supported by funding from the AHA.


Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.


Pursuing Social Good – A Look at the History of Goodwill Industries

Now in its second century of operation, Goodwill Industries has a history dating back to the first years of the 1900s. Today, the organization is stronger than ever as it works to help individuals and families attain better futures through the power of work. Read on for an overview of Goodwill’s history and to get a closer look at how the organization continues to improve lives throughout the United States and other countries around the world.


Reverend Edgar J. Helms and Goodwill’s Beginnings

goodwill logoLaunched through the efforts of one man, Goodwill was established in 1902 when a Boston-based Methodist minister named Edgar J. Helms began a system of collecting items from Boston’s wealthy residents and repairing them for resale to those who were less fortunate. Reverend Helms hired people in need to help with the repair and resale of the items he collected, giving rise to a self-help system that continues at Goodwill Industries today.

As Helms expanded his program, the repairing and reselling grew to include not only clothing but also furniture and other household goods. In Boston, this work was performed early on under the name of Morgan Memorial Industries and Stores. This name came from the Unitarian Church’s multidenominational Henry Morgan Memorial Chapel, which Helms led in Boston’s South End. Later, the Unitarian Church withdrew its support for the project, and Helms moved his next self-help operation to Brooklyn, New York, where the Goodwill Industries name was first used.


Goodwill Expands Nationwide and Beyond

With the success of his early efforts to help those in need, Helms took his message of “not a charity, but a chance” to other areas of the country. By the 1920s, Goodwill Industries had opened in US cities outside of the East Coast, including Cleveland, Denver, and Los Angeles.

As the number of Goodwill centers in the United States grew, Helms toured the world, visiting Europe, Japan, Korea, and the Middle East with his self-help idea. This laid the groundwork for what would become Goodwill Industries International, which now has a presence in 12 countries outside of the United States and Canada.

While the Great Depression changed Goodwill Industries’ direction in the US, the organization was still able to grow while other nonprofit groups failed because it depended on donations of goods rather than cash. In the 1930s, Goodwill Industries was thriving in over five dozen US cities and several communities outside of the country.


Goodwill’s Work in the Mid-1900s

In 1942, Reverend Edgar J. Helms died, but not before seeing the promising beginnings of what would become the thriving network of more than 150 community-based organizations that Goodwill Industries is today. During the remainder of the 1940s, the nonprofit group played an important role in assisting with the World War II home front effort by helping returning servicemen and servicewomen find gainful employment after combat.

Throughout the 1950s, the Goodwill network continued to grow, and the organization began to play a leading role in providing jobs to people living with disabilities. The 1950s also saw the majority of Goodwill agencies become self-supporting and nondenominational, moving away from the Methodist Church.

As the 1960s arrived, Goodwill stepped up its activities employing people with disabilities. Between 1960 and 1966, the organization increased the percentage of employees with developmental and/or physical disabilities from 32 percent to 42 percent. The 1960s also saw the adoption of the now-iconic “Smiling G” logo, which is still used today.


Featured Image by Mike Mozart | Flickr

Entering the Modern Era

After the nation’s first Goodwill drop-off donation center opened in the early 1970s, the organization entered a new era of accepting and selling household goods while putting underserved individuals to work. Throughout the 1980s and into the 1990s, Goodwill Industries expanded its employee population to include people with employment barriers such as lack of education, criminal history, and advanced age. During this time, the group also began to incorporate high-tech training programs into its offerings alongside those focused on basic skills development.

Another big event in Goodwill’s history came in 1999, when the organization launched its e-commerce website, which was the country’s first nonprofit online auction site. With the opening of the new millennium, Goodwill also continued to expand its traditional brick-and-mortar stores.

The number of member organizations during this time grew worldwide, providing more revenue to support programs focused on career training and job placement for people of limited employability. This work continues today as Goodwill seeks to help more people find success in the 21st century.


Goodwill Looks to the Future

What began with an innovative idea about how to help those in need has grown into a $6 billion organization with a reach extending into communities across the United States and several other countries. Over 115 years after its founding, Goodwill is looking to the future with programs and services focused on equipping people with 21st-century skills. Currently, the group is working with corporate partners such as Google, Accenture, and Indeed to provide digital skills training and other services to help people attain employment, enhance their resumes, and build their careers in the modern workplace.

military running

This Is a Full Look at Wounded Warrior’s Carry Forward 5K Challenge

wounded warrior projectAs a nonprofit organization dependent on the support of volunteers and donors, Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) offers a variety of ways for people to get involved in advancing its work assisting military veterans and their families. It maintains corporate and community partnerships and oversees fundraising initiatives such as workplace giving programs.

In addition, the organization works with community members nationwide to host various events in cities throughout the country. One of WWP’s newest and most unique events is its Carry Forward 5K. Here’s a complete look at this fundraiser and awareness fitness challenge:


What is the Carry Forward 5K?

WWP’s Carry Forward 5K is an event that gives participants the opportunity to test their strength and stamina while raising money and awareness for the country’s military community. First launched in May 2018, this 5K challenge features three levels of participation for racers of all ability levels.

At the base level, individual participants and squads can show their patriotism and support for active-duty military members and veterans by carrying a flag throughout the 5K route. Those looking to increase the challenge can choose to carry a 1- to 100-pound weight as they run or walk to the finish line. Finally, participants seeking the ultimate challenge can carry another person from start to finish.



Where is it held?

Currently, WWP Carry Forward events are held in four US cities: San Diego, California; Nashville, Tennessee; San Antonio, Texas; and Jacksonville, Florida. The most recent Carry Forward 5K took place Saturday, August 24, 2019, in San Diego. Several celebrities participated in the event, including The Bachelor’s Colton Underwood and LA Chargers quarterback Cardale Jones. Along with the 5K, the Carry Forward activities included a morning concert featuring The Band Steele.

The 2019 Carry Forward series continues with 5Ks in Nashville on September 21, San Antonio on October 5, and Jacksonville on November 9. Fundraising seeks to generate between $100,000 and $200,000 for WWP’s various programs and services.


How can people get involved?

Those interested in taking part in a Carry Forward event have several options for getting involved. WWP supporters planning to walk, jog, or run the 5K can register as individual participants or members of a squad. Registering online for a Carry Forward event is a straightforward process that involves entering your name, choosing your event city, and selecting an activity level.

The standard adult registration fee is $35. With a promo code, active military members and veterans can receive $5 off, and youth participants ages 6 to 17 can receive $15 off. There is no registration fee for WWP Alumni participants. Individuals who don’t register online can still sign up the day of the event for $40.

In addition to paying the required registration fee, each participant is encouraged to lead their own Carry Forward fundraising campaign. WWP provides a variety of fundraising ideas, tools, and resources on its website. Along with receiving the satisfaction that comes from supporting the nation’s military community, fundraisers are rewarded for their efforts with gear and prizes such as Carry Forward shirts and other wearable mementos.

If you can’t make it to a Carry Forward city, you can register to host your own event in your community. These events must take place between July 4 and December 15 to qualify for fundraising incentives. Carry Forward supporters can also make general donations of any amount to the series online via a secure giving page.


What do Carry Forward events support?

As with other WWP fundraising initiatives, the money donated to Carry Forward events supports the organization’s wide range of programs, services, and activities for military veterans as well as their family members and caregivers. These programs focus on areas such as mental and physical wellness, career development, personal independence, and social interaction.

One of WWP’s major initiatives is its Wounded Care Network. It leverages a network of leading medical centers to provide comprehensive treatment for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and other related conditions.

Wounded Warrior Project also oversees a resource center to help military veterans and family members sign up for WWP activities, process Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense benefits claims, and apply for emergency financial assistance. Other WWP programs focus on helping veterans connect with one another in their own communities.

Without Carry Forward and its other fundraising activities, WWP would not be able to continue providing these and other life-changing programs. The organization and its supporters raise tens of millions of dollars annually, including over $197 million in fiscal year 2018.

WWP fundraisers and supporters can also rest assured knowing that their time and resources are benefiting a great charity that maintains accreditation with the Better Business Bureau, top-rated status with Charity Navigator, and a GuideStar Platinum rating. More information about supporting Wounded Warrior Project can be found at


Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.


Here Are the Top Programs the Purple Heart Foundation Supports

purpleheartfoundationWith origins dating back more than six decades, the Purple Heart Foundation has a long history of supporting initiatives for military veterans and their families. The group’s activities help ensure that the nation’s veterans can lead fulfilling lives after transitioning from military service.

Over the years, the Foundation has led programs that provide education, occupational training, health services, and support for those dealing with combat-related injuries and disabilities.

While the Purple Heart Foundation oversees several of its own programs and service initiatives, the group mainly functions as the fundraising arm of the Military Order of the Purple Heart (MOPH). Launched in 1932, the Order is the country’s only military service organization with a membership body made up entirely of Purple Heart recipients.

With support from the Foundation’s donors and fundraising activities, MOPH has been able to launch and grow a wide range of programs for the nation’s military community. Whether you are already a Purple Heart Foundation supporter or just now considering making a donation, take a look at some of the MOPH programs that receive funding from the Foundation’s donor dollars:


MOPH National Service Program

MOPH operates on an annual budget of approximately $6.4 million. Nearly $5 million of this is directed toward its National Service Program (NSP). Each year, approximately 125,000 veterans and their family members receive assistance via NSP. It operates through a nationwide network comprising 72 service offices staffed by over 100 trained National Service Officers.

The Order’s team of National Service Officers assist veterans in filing benefits claims with Veterans Affairs (VA). Regardless of whether they are a member of MOPH, veterans whose benefits have been denied by a local VA office can also turn to NSP for expert legal representation before the Board of Veterans Appeals and the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims.

Among other things, NSP assists with VA claims related to employment, housing, education, job training, and medical care. Over 12,000 claims were submitted to the VA through the program in fiscal year 2017.


Purple Heart Trail

For more than 25 years, MOPH has been overseeing the Purple Heart Trail program. It aims to create a nationwide connected system of roadways, bridges, and monuments honoring the country’s Purple Heart recipients.

The idea for the Trail was first introduced by a member of MOPH Chapter 1732 in Virginia. The program was launched as an MOPH resolution during the organization’s 1992 National Convention in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Following the launch of the Purple Heart Trail, the first monument was dedicated in Mt. Vernon, Virginia, George Washington’s burial location. Since then, the trail has been extended to 45 states as well as the United States territory of Guam. The local roads, highways, and monuments that make up the Trail are marked by signs of various designs and formats.

In addition to roadways and physical monuments, government leaders and citizens of local municipalities can work with MOPH to establish Purple Heart cities, counties, universities/colleges, etc. To find more information about the Purple Heart Trail and a map of current Purple Heart locations, visit


POW/MIA and Homeless Veteran Outreach

In addition to honoring men and women who have been wounded in combat, MOPH has worked throughout its history to ensure that prisoners of war and those reported missing in action are remembered and accounted for. The Order maintains a close relationship with the Defense POW/MIA Accounting Agency (DPAA), which oversees a searchable online database of both unaccounted-for and accounted-for POWs/MIAs. MOPH provides a link to the DPAA database on its website.

Another area of focus at MOPH is homelessness among military veterans. While this issue has improved in recent years, it still persists. As part of MOPH’s efforts to assist veterans who have been displaced without a permanent residence, local chapters across the country participate in Stand Down events.

These provide food, shelter, clothing, medical support, and other services for the veteran community. On the national level, the Order works closely with VA and other groups to connect those in need with homelessness resources.


Promoting Americanism and Good Citizenry among Youth

Another major component of MOPH’s work is focused on promoting patriotism and a love of US history in the nation’s schools. The Order does this under the leadership of its National Americanism Officer, who helps connect teachers and leaders of other organizations with various educational resources.

These resources include printable PDF versions of patriotic songs and historical documents. MOPH’s website features PDFs of the Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, US Constitution, and The Star-Spangled Banner, among other documents.

The Order also encourages young people to serve their country through its support of senior and junior ROTC programs in public schools across the United States and Department of Defense schools worldwide.

Additionally, MOPH is currently working through its Veterans Affairs Volunteer Service program to create a new merit badge for the Boy and Girl Scouts of America. The proposed badge would recognize youth for volunteering their time to serve the nation’s veterans.


Disclaimer: This website contains general information about medical conditions and treatments. This information is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. No guarantee is given regarding the accuracy or validity of any statements or information provided on this website. Do not rely on this information as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or another professional healthcare provider. You should seek immediate medical attention if you think you are suffering from a medical condition. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.