The National Forum for Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention (National Forum) honored five individuals and one organization at its 2023 Annual Meeting for their exceptional contributions to cardiovascular health improvement. The 21st National Forum Annual Meeting drew 231 thought and change leaders from 147 organizations to explore new approaches to strengthen public support for health equity and cardiovascular health.
The Nation Forum Heart Healthy Stroke Free Award recognizes an individual and an organization whose work embodies the recommendations of the National Public Health Action Plan to Prevent Heart Disease and Stroke.
Modele O. Ogunniyi, MD, MPH, received the individual award for her scientific clinical leadership on social determinants of health, eliminating disparities in cardiovascular disease, diversity in clinical trials, palliative care in heart failure, cardiovascular disease in women, and service as Co-Chair of the National Hypertension Control Roundtable. Dr. Ogunniyi is a Professor of Medicine and Master Physician with the Division of Cardiology at Emory University.
The National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) received the organization award for its leadership in implementing self-measured blood pressure and other evidence-based interventions to improve cardiovascular health and reduce disparities in partnership with community health centers across the United States. Kyu Rhee, MD, MPP, President and CEO of NACHC, accepted the award.
The National Forum Public Policy Award recognizes those who have effectively advanced policy change that reduces the burden of heart disease and stroke on a national, state, or local level.
The Honorable Eric Holcomb, Governor of Indiana, received this award for leading the State of Indiana to strengthen local and public health to prevent heart disease and obesity, increase tobacco cessation, and improve maternal health. He championed legislation that created Health First Indiana and increased state funding for local public health from $6.9 million in 2023 to $150 million in 2025.
Donnette Smith was presented this award for her tireless efforts in heart disease and stroke prevention policy and advocacy, ensuring that patient’s voice is heard by Congress and state legislatures, resulting in increased access to preventative treatments. Ms. Smith is Board Chair of Heart Valve Voice-US and former Board Chair of Mended Hearts/Mended Little Hearts National.
The National Forum Commitment Award honors an individual who has made outstanding contributions to the National Forum. Warren A. Jones, MD, FAAFP, received this award for his dedication, insight, guidance, leadership, inspiration, and unwavering support that helped strengthen the National Forum’s impact on cardiovascular health and health equity. Jones was President of the American Academy of Family Physicians from 2001 to 2002, founded and directed the Mississippi Institute for Improvement of Geographic Minority Health and Health Disparities, and served as Associate Vice Chancellor for Multicultural Affairs at the University of Mississippi Medical Center.
The National Forum Chair Recognition Award recognizes an individual for extraordinary service to improving cardiovascular health. Betsy McKay, Senior Writer, The Wall Street Journal, received the award for her exceptional public health and medicine reporting that elevates public awareness and understanding of how cardiovascular disease affects individuals and society, and how it can be prevented.
The National Forum brings together the most dynamic and diverse organizations in cardiovascular health, providing a forum and outlet for organizations to amplify their voices. Its members include more than 100 public, private, and non-profit organizations. The National Forum is an independent non-profit, 501(C)(3), voluntary health organization. To learn more, visit www.nationalforum.org