University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Vermont Medicine Magazine

Cushman Appointed to American Heart Association National Board of Directors

Mary Cushman, M.D.
University of Vermont Professor of Medicine Mary Cushman, M.D., M.Sc. (Photo by Raj Chawla, UVM Medical Photography)

Mary Cushman, M.D., M.Sc., University of Vermont professor of medicine and medical director of the Thrombosis and Hemostasis program at Fletcher Allen Health Care, was elected a member of the national Board of Directors of the American Heart Association (AHA), effective May 1, 2013. The AHA is the nation’s oldest, largest voluntary organization devoted to fighting heart disease and stroke, and is second only to the federal government in money spent to fund cardiovascular and stroke research.

A fellow of the AHA, Cushman is an international expert in the field of cardiovascular disease epidemiology. She has served in a number of national, regional and local leadership roles for the organization since first volunteering for the Association in the 1990s, after receiving her first grant from the AHA’s former New Hampshire/Vermont Affiliate in 1996.

Cushman currently serves as president of the Vermont board of the AHA Founder’s Affiliate, which serves the northeast region of the US.  She chairs the AHA Council Operations Committee, and is a member of the AHA Science Advisory Coordinating Committee and the AHA National Advocacy Coordinating Committee. In addition, she is past chair of the AHA Scientific Council on Epidemiology and Prevention, which has more than 2000 members. She previously served as chair of the AHA Council on Epidemiology and Prevention’s 46th and 47th Annual Scientific Conferences and as a member of the AHA Manuscript Oversight Committee. She is also actively involved in scientific publishing as a senior guest editor of the AHA’s flagship journal Circulation.

As a member of the AHA Board of Directors, Cushman will be jointly responsible for the control and management of the affairs, funds, and property of the Association, including approval of long-range goals for the Association, approval of policies and standards and delegation of their implementation, employment and evaluation of a staff Chief Executive Officer, and final approval of the budget and other fiscal matters of the AHA National Center.

“Dr. Cushman has been a highly distinguished volunteer who has contributed to the American Heart Association mission in many critically important ways,” says AHA CEO Nancy Brown. “Through her chairmanship of our Council on Epidemiology and Prevention, her work with our scientific journals, her support of our advocacy initiatives, her leadership at the affiliate and local levels, and in many additional roles, she has strengthened our organization profoundly. We are extremely proud to welcome her to our Board of Directors.”

The AHA’s 21-member board is made up of distinguished volunteers from the fields of medicine, healthcare, academia, finance, media and advertising. AHA board members, who are nominated and elected by the AHA Nominating and Awards Committee, serve two-year terms. Cushman’s term will include the AHA’s 2013-14 and 2014-15 fiscal years, which begin on July 1. The board meets in an official capacity three times per year at the AHA’s National Center in Dallas, TX, and also holds several additional meetings by teleconference.

A nationwide organization that includes 144 local offices and nearly 2,700 employees, the AHA was founded in 1924 by six cardiologists and now includes more than 22.5 million volunteers and supporters and 30,000 science members. The organization focuses on funding innovative research, advocating for scientifically sound public health policies and providing critical tools and information to the public to help save and improve lives.

Cushman’s research and local, regional and national advocacy efforts have been closely linked to the AHA’s Life’s Simple 7 program, which promotes cardiovascular health improvement through the adoption of risk-reducing lifestyle choices, including not smoking, being physically active, maintaining a healthy body weight, eating a healthy diet, and controlling blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. She recently participated in the Rally for Medical Research and the AHA’s Lobby Day in Washington, D.C.