January 1, 1924
The American Heart Association is formed.
American Heart Association is Founded: Six cardiologists form the American Heart Association as a professional society for doctors. One of the founders, Dr. Paul Dudley White, described the early years as a time of “almost unbelievable ignorance” about heart disease.
January 1, 1948
The AHA reorganizes, transforming from a scientific society to a voluntary health organization composed of volunteers and supported by professional staff.
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.
January 1, 1950
NHI holds first heart disease conference with NHLBI and establishes scientific control of the field.
NHI morphed over the years into the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) that exists today. And every step of the way, this new institute moved in concert with its close sibling, the AHA.
In 1950, for instance, the two jointly held the first national conference on heart disease, in Washington, DC.
January 1, 1957
AHA recommends 25-30% of calories from total fat and indicates type of fat is important.
Dietary Fat Recommendations
• 25-30% of calories from total fat.
• “The possibility remains that the kind, rather than the amount of fat in the diet is responsible for atherosclerosis.”
March 5, 1959
AHA and NHLBI control heart disease conversation through the 50's.
In 1959, they jointly reported “to the nation” on “A Decade of Progress against Cardiovascular Disease.”
Dr Wilkins, Dr. Sprague, friends, since 1950, a number of new drugs have come lnto use for the treatment of high blood pressure and, considered together, they represent one of the great advances of medical science durIng the perlod of our report. These drugs have changed not only our treatment of hypertension, but also our concepts of the nature of this disease. Except In a few rarer forms. the cause of hlgh blood pressure is unknown. None of the new drugs used ln treatment, therefore, was designed to get at the cause. Rather, they were designed primarily to relieve the result; namely, the elevation of blood pressure, whatever its cause might be. However, the actlon of these drugs in lowering blood pressure has provlded new information on the nature of hypertension and has brought us closer to a true concept of the cause or causes of this condttion.