Sue Owens named executive director of Arkansas Heart Foundation

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 742 views 

The Arkansas Heart Foundation (AHA) announced Friday (Sept. 29) the hiring of Sue Owens as its new executive director. Owens had been executive director at Economics Arkansas for the past 13 years.

The AHA provides heart health education directly to Arkansans and is based in Little Rock. Programs include heart attack risk assessment screenings, CPR training, diabetes education workshops and presentations to corporations and communities across the state.

“The foundation is going through a metamorphosis as we are seeking to create and implement programs that will both measurably and directly impact Arkansans’ heart health,” Owens said in a news release. “A new primary focus is on K-12 obesity as the statistics for chronic illness and heart disease created by obesity are staggering. Shockingly, 39% of Arkansas children are obese.

“We have the highest rate of childhood obesity in the nation, and obesity is a direct pipeline to diabetes and heart disease, which cost our state and employers millions of dollars each year. We owe it to our children to ensure they can grow up healthy and productive citizens, not chronically ill.”

According to Owens, most people don’t know that heart disease kills more Arkansans than all cancers combined — yet 80% of heart disease is preventable.          

Sue Owens

“We are thrilled to have Sue lead our Arkansas Heart Foundation team,” AHS board chairman Dr. Bruce Murphy said in the release. “The foundation provides valuable and life-saving education resources for Arkansans to improve their lives. The greatest impact our foundation can make is reaching people when they are young. With her experience, Sue is the perfect fit to deliver our message not only to adults, but also to the children of Arkansas who suffer from an obesity epidemic.”

During her time as executive director of Economics Arkansas, Owens demonstrated leadership at both state and national levels, and was recently selected as the recipient of the John C. Schramm Leadership Award by the National Association of Economic Educators (NAEE) and the Council for Economic Education (CEE). The award is given to individuals whose leadership made an extraordinarily positive impact in their states and beyond. Owens will accept the award Thursday (Oct. 5) in New York.

“My own family has benefited from heart health screenings and education provided by Arkansas Heart Hospital prior to the foundation being created, so the opportunity to lead this foundation is both exciting and rewarding for me,” Owens said.