AHA, UCLA Celebrate 60 Years of Collaborative Cardiovascular Research Excellence

The Center for Health Metrics and Evaluation, a promoter of research collaboration, proudly celebrate the American Heart Association’s six-decade partnership with the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Since the AHA provided funding in 1957 to launch the UCLA Cardiovascular Research Lab, its leaders have been at the forefront of collaborative research to accelerate discovery and drive outcomes that have altered the course of cardiovascular research. The AHA held a celebration in Los Angeles on September 26, 2017 to commemorate the Heart Lab’s achievements. Here are a handful of milestones:
  • 1957 – The country’s first local, privately supported research laboratory is launched.
  • 1970s – Lab researcher Dr. Gerald Buckberg develops effective solutions to protect the heart during open-heart surgery.
  • 1988 – UCLA team performs the first heart-lung transplant.
  • 1990s – Lab researchers identify a key component of atherosclerosis as a chronic inflammatory disease.
  • 2012 – UCLA Heart Transplant Program becomes the first in the western United States and only the second in the world to perform its 2,000th heart transplant.
Heart Lab plaque

This plaque recognizing the Cardiovascular Research Lab’s establishment in 1957 still hangs on a UCLA campus building.


Gregg Fonarow at UCLA event

Honoree Dr. Gregg Fonarow at the event with his mother and sister

The event in Los Angeles also spotlighted two outstanding researchers who have made a significant impact on the fight against heart disease and stroke:

Gregg Fonarow, M.D., director of the Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center and co-chief of the UCLA Division of Cardiology, received the AHA Los Angeles Volunteer of the Year Award. In addition to his many years as an AHA volunteer, he was recognized for creating best practices to improve care for heart disease and stroke patients and for his research that has benefitted the health and well-being of many Americans.

Gregg Fonarow at UCLA event

Honoree Dr. James Weiss [left] with Dr. Yibin Wang, UCLA Cardiovascular Theme Chair

James Weiss, M.D., current lab director, received the UCLA Cardiovascular Research Leadership Award. Weiss is an AHA-funded researcher and a leader in discovering the future of cardiovascular medicine.

We’re deeply grateful for generous donors who fund research that can lead to evidence-based solutions to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Funding innovative research is a pillar on which the AHA was founded nearly a century ago, and will always be an integral part of our lifesaving mission.

To learn more about cardiovascular research conducted at UCLA in partnership with generous funding from the AHA, visit the UCLA Cardiovascular Theme website: http://medschool.ucla.edu/cardiovascular.