The American Heart Association (AHA) has announced that Mitchell Elkind (Columbia University, New York City, USA), long-time volunteer of the organisation and renowned neurologist, will be joining the staff leadership team later this year as chief clinical science officer. Elkind served as the national volunteer president of the AHA in 2020–21.
“Scientific research at the basic, translational and population level has been a key pillar to the American Heart Association’s mission since our founding nearly a century ago,” said Nancy Brown, chief executive officer of the AHA. “Advancing clinical research, today and into the future, is essential to building our understanding of how people are best cared for before, during and after a diagnosis or acute event. Clinical research, supported by new health technologies, is the next frontier of scientific discovery as we move toward more tailored, and targeted, treatments for all. Dr Elkind brings a powerful combination of large-scale research experience, clinical education and collaborative mentorship that make him uniquely suited to help lead our efforts in this space.”
As the senior staff science leader for all AHA initiatives related to stroke and brain health, Elkind will help identify new opportunities to expand the organisation’s scientific, consumer, programmatic and business activities related to brain health. He will work to maximise strategic business relationships, including with key technology collaborators like Apple and Verily, to ensure next generation research efforts are patient-centred, highly participatory and inclusive of all populations, according to an AHA press release.
“I am very excited about the breadth of expertise and skills Dr Elkind will bring to our team. He is a practicing neurologist, an expert in clinical trials, an epidemiologist, a philosopher and a visionary. He truly will bring the brain to the heart-brain connection of the Association,” said Mariell Jessup, chief science and medical officer of the AHA.
Elkind will also serve as the AHA’s staff liaison with the science teams of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and other government agencies, on clinical research issues. Additionally, he will serve as the science liaison with the AHA’s long-standing research collaboration with the Henrietta B. and Frederick H. Bugher Foundation, and the American Heart Association-Allen Initiative in Brain Health and Cognitive Impairment—launched in 2018 to open new frontiers of discovery in brain health and cognitive impairment science.
“I am thrilled for this opportunity to help build the clinical science programmes of the American Heart Association, stretching our reach to exciting new areas for the organisation, including brain science and mental health, digital health and others,” Elkind said. “The Association has long been one of the major funders of cardiovascular research, and now we are well-positioned to conduct research as well, using resources developed over the past two decades, like our registries, data platforms and research networks. What I have learned from 25 years of academic clinical practice and public health research is that maximising health and human potential requires bridging the traditional divides among disciplines, and no organisation does that better than the American Heart Association.”