The AHA reorganizes, transforming from a scientific society to a voluntary health organization composed of volunteers and supported by professional staff.
January 1, 1948
Big Vegetable Oil
The AHA Reorganizes: The AHA reorganizes, transforming from a scientific society to a voluntary health organization composed of volunteers and supported by professional staff. Support for the AHA’s mission becomes much more visible, with fundraising activities taking hold in communities and businesses.
"Founded in 1924 at the outset of the heart disease epidemic, the AHA was a scientific society of cardiologists seeking to better understand this new affliction. For decades, the AHA was small and underfunded, with virtually no income. Then in 1948, it got lucky: Proctor & Gamble (P&G) designated the group to receive all the funds from its "Truth or Consequences" content on the radio, raising $1,740,000, or 17 million in 2014 dollars. At a luncheon, P&G executives presented a check to the AHA president, and "suddenly the coffers were filled and there were funds avaliable for research, public health progress and development of local groups--all the stuff that dreams are made of!" according to the AHA's official history. The P&G check was the "bang of big bucks" that "launched" the group. Indeed, one year later the group opened seven chapters across the country and collected $2,650,000 from donations.
The new funds in 1948 allowed the group to hire its first professional director, a former fund-raiser for the American Bible Society, who unfolded an unprecedented fund-raising campaign across the United States. There were variety shows, fashion shows, quiz programs, auctions, and collections at movie theaters, all meant to raise money and let Americans know that heart disease was the country's number one killer."
-Nina Teicholz - The Big Fat Surprise - Page 48
Instead, what happened was that after the diet-heart hypothesis became adopted by the AHA and NIH, Keys’s bias was institutionalized. These two organizations set the agenda for the field and controlled most of the research dollars, and scientists who didn’t want to end up like Mann had to go along with the AHA-NIH agenda.
The AHA and NIH were parallel, entwined forces from the start. In 1948, when the AHA was launched as a national, volunteer-run organization, one of its first tasks was to establish a “heart lobby” in Washington, DC, to convince President Eisenhower to set up the National Heart Institute—which he did, also in 1948.