The Gold Heart Award, the American Heart Association's highest national recognition for volunteerism, was presented to Neil Meltzer, M.P.H., president and CEO of LifeBridge Health, for his two decades of exceptional leadership and advocacy at the annual Gold Heart Banquet in Dallas, Texas. Only two people in the entire country were selected to receive this 2104 distinction.
Meltzer has been a devoted ally of the American Heart Association since 1995, serving on both the national stage and rolling up his sleeves with grassroots efforts in the Maryland area.
"My affiliation with the American Heart Association is truly a labor of love. Over the years, I have been enriched by working with the individuals who make up this extraordinary organization and with whom I share a vision to eradicate heart disease and strokes through education," said Meltzer. "This fight is also a personal one for me. Cardiovascular disease has claimed the lives of loved ones on both sides of my family."
Meltzer served as the association's national president in 2009-10.One of his priorities was to reduce childhood obesity by taking the battle into classrooms across the country. He also teamed up with former President Bill Clinton to recognize schools that made great strides in helping students lead healthy, productive lives through The Alliance for a Healthier Generation.
Additionally, Meltzer, in his role as chairman of the National Advocacy Coordinating Committee, worked with the U.S. House and Senate to support the passage of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act.
Among his many other wide-ranging accomplishments over the years; Meltzer chaired the National Hospital Accreditation Business Management Committee that developed a partnership with The Joint Commission and the National Corporate Operations Committee.
Currently, he heads the National Compensation and Benefits Committee and is a member of both the National Innovation Think Tank and the Conflict of Interest Review Committee.
Closer to home, Meltzer continues to support the Heart Walk, Heart Balls, Go Red and Power to End Stroke events. Employees at LifeBridge Health, one of the largest and most comprehensive healthcare providers in Maryland, are also offered professional healthy lifestyle services throughout the year.
Meltzer shares the year's American Heart Association honor with cardiologist Clyde Yancy, M.D., M.Sc., chief of the Division of Cardiology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago.