AHA Awards $11.4 Million to Houston Area Researchers
HOUSTON (Oct. 12, 2012)- The American Heart Association (AHA) Houston Gulf Coast chapter will close out 2012 with a banner year of cardiovascular disease and stroke research totaling more than $11.4 million in active grants at seven area medical institutions. Second only to the federal government in funding cardiovascular and stroke research, AHA is currently funding 63 Houston-area grants at Baylor College of Medicine, Rice University, Texas Heart Institute, The Methodist Hospital, UT Medical Branch in Galveston, University of Houston and UT Health Science Center at Houston.
“Through a focus on career development, the American Heart Association and its donors are encouraging a generation of promising cardiac scientists at a time when funding is otherwise limited. The role of the Association in supporting science cannot be overstated,” said Dr. Charles D. Fraser, Jr., American Heart Association Board President and Chief of Congenital Heart Surgery at Texas Children’s Hospital.
The American Heart Association has carved an important niche by supporting the development of beginning investigators and offering innovative funding mechanisms to stimulate research in promising areas of cardiovascular science. In its most recent round of funding, the Association gave $2.6 million to six institutions. Since 1972, the American Heart Association has spent more than $110 million in the Houston area on highly meritorious research to increase knowledge about cardiovascular disease and stroke, the number one and number four causes of death for Americans, respectively.
“Many people are not aware that the leading cause of death in Harris County is heart disease. In fact, more than 6,000 Harris County residents die from heart disease and stroke each year,” said Amber Baker, Senior Vice President, American Heart Association. “With the support of our generous Houston donors, we are able to invest in the future health of our community, and make strides in the fight against our city’s biggest health threat.”
Cardiovascular disease claims more lives each year than cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases and accidents combined. An American dies from a coronary event about every minute, and someone is stricken by such an event about every 25 seconds. On average, someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds and stroke-related death occurs about every four minutes.
American Heart Association-funded research has led to many major breakthroughs, including the first artificial heart valve, techniques and standards for CPR, implantable pacemakers, treatment for infant respiratory distress syndrome, cholesterol inhibitors, microsurgery and drug-coated stents. The Association has also funded the research of ten Nobel Prize-winning scientists.
The American Heart Association’s current Houston area funding includes:
- Baylor College of Medicine, 23 grants, $3,671,692 in funding
- Rice University, 5 grants, $880,000 in funding
- Texas Heart Institute, 6 grants, $1,132,000 in funding
- The Methodist Hospital, 4 grants, $847,037 in funding
- UT Medical Branch in Galveston, 7 grants, $1,434,772 in funding
- University Of Houston, 3 grants, $756,000 in funding
- UT Health Science Center at Houston, 15 grants, $2,692,224 in funding
Yet more resources are needed to attract and encourage promising scientists to pursue careers in cardiovascular and stroke research, fund high-quality research projects and originate new programs to meet the needs of the research community. For example, although the American Heart Association funded 28 new Houston area research awards in 2012, an additional $2 million is needed to cover 18 other highly meritorious grant and fellowship applications. Without the additional funds, the 18 scientific projects must be shelved until the next grant season, along with the knowledge that would result from them.