Stanford’s Joseph Wu to be president of the American Heart Association

Beginning July 2023, Wu will lead the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing cardiovascular health.

- By Nina Bai

Joseph Wu

Joseph Wu, MD, PhD, director of the Stanford Cardiovascular Institute, has been named president-elect of the American Heart Association, the nation’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting heart disease. Wu’s one-year term as president-elect began July 1 and will be followed by a one-year term as president.

Over its nearly 100-year history, the AHA has invested nearly $5 billion in cardiovascular research, second only to what the federal government has invested. The organization employs nearly 3,000 people and attracts more than 40 million volunteers.

As president during fiscal year 2023-2024, Wu will be the ambassador and public face of the AHA during its centennial celebration. He will guide the organization’s funding priorities, partnerships and public health messaging. The AHA president fosters regional, national and international collaborations to advance heart and vascular medicine.

“Promoting these relationships will accelerate innovative research and discovery, benefiting patients worldwide,” Wu said. “I’m particularly interested in expanding the AHA’s precision medicine platform. Allowing researchers from around the world access to this program will facilitate breakthroughs in cardiovascular medicine, improving the health and quality of life for millions of patients.”  

Wu, who also is the Simon H. Stertzer, MD, Professor and a professor of cardiovascular medicine and of radiology, is known for his cardiovascular research in human induced pluripotent stem cells, known as iPSCs, which are adult cells that have been reprogrammed back to an earlier state with the potential to become any type of cell in the body. He has pioneered work that uses iPSCs from heart disease patients to create genetically matched heart cells in the lab, which can then be used to test large numbers of potential drug compounds. This “clinical trial in a dish” concept accelerates the drug discovery process and opens new avenues for precision medicine and rare disease research.

Wu follows in the footsteps of Robert Harrington, MD, the Arthur L. Bloomfield Professor in Medicine, who served as AHA president from 2019 to 2020.

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2024 ISSUE 1

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