CHICAGO, July 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Heart Association today announced Opella Ernest, M.D., has been appointed chairman of the American Heart Association's Metro Chicago Board of Directors. Dr. Ernest, senior vice president and chief clinical officer at Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), previously served as a member on the Metro Chicago Board and began her two-year term as chairman on July 1. In her role, Dr. Ernest will lead a group of health care professionals and business and community leaders who oversee the association's mission to build healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke through comprehensive programs that address the roots of healthy living.
In her role at HCSC, Dr. Ernest is responsible for clinical policy, care management, accreditation and quality improvement initiatives to support efficient delivery of high-quality, affordable medical care for members.
"Dr. Ernest takes the helm of our Metro Chicago Board of Directors at an exciting time for our organization. As we focus on improving health outcomes throughout Chicago, her leadership and expertise will be invaluable," said Lisa Hinton, the American Heart Association's Market Vice President. "Her understanding of the root causes of health disparities will be an enormous asset to us as we work alongside the community to ensure everyone has the chance to reach their full health potential."
"To create healthy communities, we need to look beyond clinical care. Social determinants of health, like access to nutritious food and transportation, have a tremendous impact on health outcomes and, left unaddressed, lead to worse outcomes," said Dr. Ernest. "The AHA understands there's no quick fix but by taking a holistic view and addressing the whole health of a person, we can take another step forward toward lasting change. I look forward to working alongside this dynamic organization as we leverage creativity and collaboration to improve the health of all Chicagoans."
Dr. Ernest, a board-certified family physician, earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and medical degree from The Ohio State University College of Medicine.
About the American Heart Association
The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation's oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke.
SOURCE American Heart Association