AHA 2024 Healthcare Volunteer of the Year honored for his efforts in preventing and finding cardiac causes of stroke

Cardiologist and health care exec Steven Manoukian, M.D., helped launch Getting to the Heart of Stroke<sup>TM</sup>, an AHA/ASA initiative funded by HCA Healthcare and the HCA Healthcare Foundation
Cardiologist and health care exec Steven Manoukian, M.D., helped launch Getting to the Heart of StrokeTM, an AHA/ASA initiative funded by HCA Healthcare and the HCA Healthcare Foundation.

Steven Manoukian, a cardiologist and health care executive at HCA Healthcare, is a pretty good slogan writer, too.

One day, while scratching his head for the best way to explain the link between stroke and cardiac risk factors, a phrase popped into his head: "Getting to the Heart of Stroke."

Dozens of calls, emails and meetings later, Getting to the Heart of StrokeTM became a three-year American Heart Association/American Stroke Association initiative, launched in 2022 and funded by a $15.6 million grant by HCA Healthcare and the HCA Healthcare Foundation.

"It's just a simple play on words," Manoukian said. "But it's a good way to increase awareness that cardiac conditions are often root causes of initial and recurrent strokes and may go undetected."

"On top of that, the only thing better than preventing your second stroke is preventing your first."

For his service and efforts to help the AHA advance its mission to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives, Manoukian will be honored with the AHA's Healthcare Volunteer of the Year Award during the organization's annual National Volunteer Awards ceremony on May 2. The ceremony begins at 6 p.m. Central and is open for public viewing.

The Healthcare Volunteer of the Year award celebrates achievements for cardiovascular disease or stroke patient care, or improvements in delivering care.

As a senior vice president with HCA Healthcare, Manoukian oversees several service lines across the organization's over 180 U.S. and U.K. facilities. His previous roles at HCA include medical director of cardiovascular services, director of cardiovascular research and practicing interventional cardiologist, all in Nashville.

As an AHA volunteer, Manoukian currently serves on the Quality Certification Science Committee and Nashville Heart Walk Executive Leadership Team, and is a member of the Cor Vitae Society. His AHA volunteerism spans decades and included a variety of other AHA roles, including the Quality Accreditation Science Committee and Advocacy Coordinating Committee, as well as local and regional boards.

A native of Queens, New York City, Manoukian didn't grow up with close relatives who worked in medicine. Instead, the family pediatrician inspired him to become a doctor.

"He was an old-style pediatrician with a black bag who made house calls," Manoukian said. "All these years later, I still remember him vividly, how caring and compassionate he was."

Manoukian vowed to develop those same traits in his cardiology career.

For 19 years, he worked as an interventional cardiologist at Emory University in Atlanta, while also training the next generation of physicians and conducting and publishing research.

In 2008, he joined HCA Healthcare, where he noticed an opportunity to more closely connect "knowledge and best-practices" between health care professionals in cardiology and neurology. Over time, this led to teaming up with the AHA to fund, design and launch Getting to the Heart of StrokeTM.

"The goal was to activate and educate health care professionals to collaborate with one another to get to the heart of what is causing the stroke," Manoukian said. "It was a logical connection to have two arms of our organization work with the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association to solve patients' and providers' needs, while doing something good for the communities we serve."

A multifaceted initiative, Getting to the Heart of StrokeTM educates and deepens the collaboration between health care professionals, especially in neurology and cardiology, while empowering patients to better manage their stroke risk. The initiative also addresses health care disparities at the community level.

"I've seen conscious and subconscious disparities in health care applied to my own blue-collar family," said Manoukian, whose late grandmother was an Armenian immigrant. "She was one of the have-nots, and as she got older, it often seemed challenging to get her the same type of care others received."

Manoukian said receiving the AHA Healthcare Volunteer of the Year Award is "a humbling experience, compared to the tireless efforts of thousands of AHA volunteers around the globe."

"In my opinion as a cardiologist, there is no organization better than the American Heart Association when it comes to supporting the progress being made with cardiac and neurologic care and conditions," he said.

"The American Heart Association is celebrating its 100th anniversary. When you look at our progress in those first 100 years and then think about the new tools and solutions the next generation will have in the next 100 years, I think together we'll reach the sky."