Ahwatukee Foothills resident Dr. Jeremy Payne, medical director for the Banner Good Samaritan Stroke Center, co-chair for the Banner Neurosciences Clinical Consensus Group and clinical assistant professor of neurology at the University of Arizona, has recently been appointed to the American Heart Association Western States Affiliate Board.

Payne has been volunteering for the American Stroke Association since 2005, an organization within the American Heart Association.

“The American Heart Association is sort of the parent organization of the American Stroke Association,” said Payne, “and so as a stroke neurologist the American Stroke Association is one of our biggest advocates for stroke. So, for that reason heart disease and stroke disease are fellow travelers. A lot of the things that lead to heart disease also cause stroke so Heart Association-Stroke Association is a natural fit.”

As a member of the Board of Directors, Payne will have many new responsibilities.

“The role of the Board of Directors is to guide what happens in the Western States Affiliate in terms of fundraising activities, lobbying activities, advertising and advocacy and how to spend all that money again as quickly as possible on things like research,” he said.

Payne hopes his voice on the board will help the Heart Association to focus not only on heart disease, but on stroke as well.

The American Heart Association fundraises in order to create awareness and to provide services to people with heart disease and/or stroke. They specifically focus on trying to prevent these from occurring in the first place.

“The Heart Association is a strong voice trying to help us to get the community to understand why it’s important to be healthy,” Payne said. “Also to understand what to do about and what happens when you have a heart attack or a stroke and how to take care of that.”

Payne’s favorite part about the American Heart Association is the people he gets to work with.

“They’re just great bunch of people,” he said. “They are very, very passionate about what they do and we need that. They don’t get paid very well. They spend many long hours really just being voices for stroke and heart disease. They get things done because they’re an independent non-entangled, you know, they don’t take any government money and they raise all the money through volunteer work and fundraisers. They’re very good at turning around and trying to figure out what the right thing is to do for essentially public health, preventing stroke and heart disease, and trying to understand those issues in the first place by funding research through grants and things, and trying to educate people in the community.

“We need people like them to be voices and advocates for our issues and so they have such a great kind of enthusiasm and energy for that sort of thing. They work hard and they’re fun people to work with.”

Payne received an email this spring informing him of his appointment to the Board of Directors for the Western States. His term began in July and will continue through 2015.

For more information about the American Heart Association, call 1-800-AHA-USA1 or visit heart.org.

• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Jessica Tueller is a junior at Desert Vista High School. She is interning this summer for the Ahwatukee Foothills News.

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