Laurie Whitsel, Ph.D. is the Vice President of Policy Research and Translation for the American Heart Association (AHA), helping to translate science into policy at a national level in the areas of cardiovascular disease and stroke prevention and health promotion. She also serves as senior advisor to the Physical Activity Alliance, leading efforts to create, support, and advocate policy and system changes that enable all Americans to enjoy physically active lives. Whitsel has served on expert advisory groups with RAND, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the Bipartisan Policy Center, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She has been a sector co-leader for the National Physical Activity Plan and leads the AHA’s internal strategic plan around physical activity. She holds a Ph.D. from Syracuse University, gives regular guest lectures at Columbia University, and is a Fellow and member of the AHA’s National Scientific Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health.
Whitsel lives in Ligonier, PA with her husband Brad, and they have two children, Christian, who attends Gettysburg College, and Amy, who is in law school at Catholic University. In her spare time, Whitsel coaches an AHA jump rope demonstration and competition team, which promotes lifetime physical activity for kids.