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2019 | HFSA

Shaquille O’Neal to Address Heart Failure Awareness Among African Americans During Keynote Presentation at 23rd HFSA Annual Scientific Meeting

HFSA News Annual Scientific Meeting

Rockville, MD. September 12, 2019 - The Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA), a professional society of clinicians, researchers, and patients focused on reducing the burden of heart failure, has announced that basketball great Shaquille O'Neal will be a keynote speaker at the 23rd HFSA Annual Scientific Meeting.



The 23rd HFSA Annual Scientific Meeting takes place September 13-16, 2019 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA. O'Neal will speak during a session on Monday, September 16, 2019 at 3:00 PM.

Shaquille O'Neal brings a unique perspective to the meeting's educational program, which offers the latest science and research in heart failure, following the recent launch of his campaign, Shaquille Gets Real About Heart Failure. In March 2019, O'Neal partnered with Arbor Pharmaceuticals, LLC, a U.S.-based specialty pharmaceutical company, to create a national initiative designed to raise awareness around the heart failure disparity in the African American community.

"We're honored to have Shaquille O'Neal join us in our mission to reduce the burden of heart failure and bring awareness of the condition to diverse populations" said Randall Starling, MD, MPH, FHFSA, President of the Heart Failure Society of America. "Shaquille O'Neal is a star on the court and in the broadcast studio, and he is using that star to shine a light on this critical issue."

"Heart failure is a progressive condition in which the heart's muscle gradually loses its ability to pump enough blood to supply the body's needs. The heart can either become weak and unable to pump blood (systolic heart failure) or become stiff and unable to fill with blood adequately (diastolic heart failure). Ultimately, both conditions lead to retention of extra fluid or congestion."

Although O'Neal does not have heart failure himself, he recognized the need for greater awareness about heart failure throughout the African American community. Research suggests that African Americans may be up to 20 times more likely than white Americans to develop heart failure before the age of 50. "African Americans are hospitalized for heart failure more often than whites." 

"Since the African American community faces a higher risk of HF, I feel like it is my mission to try to help my community better understand and manage the condition," said O'Neal.

The session at the 23rd HFSA Annual Scientific Meeting is entitled, HF Awareness in African Americans will feature an introduction on disparities in African Americans, delivered by Elizabeth Ofili, MD, MPH, FACC, (Professor of Medicine [Cardiology], Senior Associate Dean for Clinical and Translational Research at Morehouse School of Medicine and first female president of the Association of Black Cardiologists).

O'Neal will then Get Real About HF in a conversation with Randall Starling, MD, MPH, FHFSA (Professor of Medicine, Kaufman Center for Heart Failure, Cleveland Clinic, Medical Director Heart Transplant Program and Mechanical Circ Support and President of HFSA), Dennis McNamara, MD, MS (Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh and Director of the Heart Failure/Transplantation Program at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center), and Todd Brown (Director of Marketing, Cardiovascular Franchise at Arbor Pharmaceuticals LLC.).

The 23rd HFSA Annual Scientific Meeting is anticipated to draw approximately 3,000 physicians, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, scientists, and health care professionals who specialize or have an interest in heart failure. For more information about the HFSA Annual Scientific Meeting, visit 23rd HFSA Annual Scientific Meeting.

For more information about: Shaquille Gets Real About Heart Failure, visit

About the Heart Failure Society of America

The Heart Failure Society of America, Inc. (HFSA) represents the first organized effort by heart failure experts from the Americas to provide a forum for all those interested in heart function, heart failure, and congestive heart failure (CHF) research and patient care. The mission of HFSA is to provide a platform to improve and expand heart failure care through collaboration, education, innovation, research, and advocacy. HFSA members include physicians, scientists, nurses, nurse practitioners, pharmacists, and patients. For more information, visit HFSA.

About Arbor Pharmaceuticals, LLC 
Arbor Pharmaceuticals, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, is a specialty pharmaceutical company currently focused on the cardiovascular, neurology, hospital and pediatric markets as well as generics through its Wilshire division. In addition to an extensive pipeline, the company continues to actively pursue growth through acquisition or licensing of marketed or late-stage development products. Arbor currently markets twenty-two approved NDA and ANDA products, and, along with Wilshire, has over forty products in development. For more information regarding Arbor Pharmaceuticals or any of its products, visit Aborpharma or send email inquiries.

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  2. Yancy, C. W. (2005). Heart Failure in African Americans. The American Journal of Cardiology, 96(7), 
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