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Faces of Heart Health

Dallas is the national headquarters for this revolutionary nonprofit.
By D Partner Studio |
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Left to right: Emily Gerstner, Go Red for Women Vice President; Renee Gadson, Heart Challenge Vice President; Chris LaTurno, Senior Vice President; Diana Rivas-Smith, Côtes du Coeur vice president; Jenny Eyer, Health Strategy Vice President Matthew Shelley

The American Heart Association, the world’s leading nonprofit focused on the prevention and treatment of heart disease, claims Dallas as its national headquarters. Championing locally, a dynamic team advocates for the citizens of North Texas to enjoy longer, healthier lives.

Senior vice president Chris LaTurno leads a staff comprised of Emily Gerstner, Go Red for Women vice president; Jenny Eyer, Health Strategy vice president; Diana Rivas-Smith, Côtes du Coeur vice president; Renee Gadson, Heart Challenge vice president; and Karen Fleig, senior director of communications and marketing.

These execs focus on eradicating cardiovascular disease and stroke. Even after two years of COVID-19, heart disease is still the No. 1 killer and stroke remains the No. 5 killer of all Americans.

But the Association is fighting back. Last year, the Dallas division reached more than 18,000 patients through blood pressure initiatives and successfully advocated for a law requiring all 911 dispatchers to be trained to instruct callers in CPR. It also created a framework for tobacco-free schools that does less to punish students caught vaping and does more to help them quit.  

The Association advocated for the adoption of a formal plan by the North Texas Regional Area Council to ensure stroke patients get to the most appropriate stroke facility based on severity, no matter where they live in the region.

To support these programs, the Dallas team hosts several annual fundraisers. Its signature Heart Walk raised $6.1 million and focuses on new ways to boost physical and emotional health. CycleNation™ empowers the community to use all types of bikes to get brain and heart healthy while raising funds to reduce stroke and heart disease. Now in its 31st year, Côtes du Coeur annually welcomes nearly 1,200 attendees and celebrates nearly $50 million in mission investments. In 2021, the event raised $5.5 million, the largest amount in the Association’s history. In February, the Go Red for Women campaign raised more than $1.9 million as it empowers and inspires women to end cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in women.  


American Heart Association
105 Decker Court, Suite 200, Irving, Texas 
214.441.4200

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