September 22, 2011

Opportunities abound to take part in Heart Walk

Opportunities abound to take part in Heart Walk

The American Heart Association (AHA) Nashville Heart Walk is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 1, on the Vanderbilt campus, and the AHA has made it easy for Vanderbilt University Medical Center employees to participate.

If you would like to join a team, visit the Nashville Heart Walk website at and click “find a team.” If you are already on a team, you can give your donation to your team captain, donate online or turn it in at the Heart Walk.

Team captains can deposit donations at Bank Day, which is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 28, from 12:15-2:45 p.m. Representatives from the AHA will collect money in room 5181 B of Medical Center East.

The Heart Walk festivities begin at 8 a.m., at Campus Rec Field No. 2 at the corner of Natchez Trace and Children's Way. The walk begins at 10 a.m. and is about 3 miles.

Festivities, including music and food, continue until noon. All participants who donate $25 or more will receive a T-shirt from their team captains.

“The Heart Walk is important to Vanderbilt on several levels, and it directly supports our research efforts,” said Keith Churchwell, M.D., executive director and chief medical officer of Vanderbilt Heart and co-chair of the Heart Walk.

VUMC's goal is $350,000 toward Nashville's target of $1.4 million.

“Vanderbilt plays an important role in the success of the Heart Walk,” said Kelley Tune, AHA vice-president of the Heart Walk. “We are looking forward to a strong showing from them again this year.”

Funds raised by the Heart Walk return to Vanderbilt by way of research dollars. Vanderbilt has $6,176,384 in active grants from the AHA, which is known for supporting research of junior investigators. Since 1972, the American Heart Association has awarded more than $43 million in research grants to Vanderbilt.

About 20 percent of the 2010 research grant funding from the Greater Southeast Affiliate is awarded to Vanderbilt.
In the 2010 grant cycle, 15 additional grant applications from Vanderbilt representing $1,876,850 were deemed meritorious but were not awarded due to a critical gap in funding.

“We need everyone to help the AHA raise money to help fill that gap,” said Doug Sawyer, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine. “The AHA is our partner, supporting the most cutting-edge research of our best and brightest trainees and faculty through grants. The AHA recognizes the importance of funding new ideas from new investigators.”

If you are unable to participate in the Heart Walk, there are other ways to help. Vanderbilt Heart will host an online silent auction to raise additional funds for the AHA. The auction can be accessed from It begins Sept. 25 and ends Sept. 30.