Standards for Councils Appendix H

Updated:Jan 12,2016

Standards for Councils
Appendix H
American Heart Association Board of Directors
Original - June 26, 2003

Standards and Guidelines are rules and regulations or procedures of the Association that interpret, define, elaborate or otherwise supplement the requirements of Policies.  Standards are binding on all components of the Association, and must be satisfied by Affiliates and Councils to continue affiliation with the Association.  Guidelines are advisory.

[Note Article I. Section A.  Association.  The AHA National Center and its components, including the Councils, in combination with the Affiliates are described herein as the “Association”.]





I. Definition and Requirements H-1
II. Planning and Budgeting H-1
III. Structure and Service H-2
IV. Basic Documents H-2
V. Evaluation and Renewal of Council Designation H-3
VI. Council Surplus Funds H-3




A. Definition
A Council is a volunteer-based, AHA-approved organization that serves as a resource to the AHA in accomplishing its strategic goals.  Councils have three primary roles to:  1) attract the best scientists and healthcare professionals, 2)  make their involvement valuable to AHA and the individuals, and 3) be the communications highway between Council members and the AHA.

B. Requirements
1. The Council must represent a body of scientific information important to the mission of the AHA that is national in scope and that is not already adequately represented by an existing Council or component.
2. The Council must include a critical mass of leadership of that body of science, with membership of not less than 400 persons recorded at some time during a two-year period.
3. The Council must operate under a set of AHA Board-approved rules and regulations providing for the democratic election of Council leadership.
4. The Council must manage its affairs in accordance with AHA policies and sound business and professional practice.
5. The Council must participate actively in AHA-approved activities and meetings.


A. A Council must have an established process to develop written plans for a three to five year period containing goals, priorities and for evaluating the implementation.  The plan shall address the issues identified in the Planning Checklist for Established Councils which includes:
1.Participation in scientific sessions and other AHA sponsored activities.
2. Suggested initiatives (including emerging and interdisciplinary areas) for research and for professional education and scientific conference programs for both the individual Council and the AHA.
3. Suggested initiatives for research for the AHA to be considered by the Councils’ Science Committees and Science Advisory Coordinating Committee.
4. Opportunities for involvement by members, including outreach to young professionals, in AHA key work processes (especially Science and Advocacy).
5. Interrelationships with other groups, both within and outside the AHA.
6. Collaborative relationships with related scientific and professional organizations outside the AHA.

B. The Council shall prepare an annual budget in accordance with AHA Policy based on an assessment of its needs for the coming fiscal year.  The budget must be formally approved by the Leadership committee of the Council before being submitted to the AHA Council Operations Committee (COC). and be included in the AHA budget review process.

C. The Council must conduct an annual review of all program costs, including the costs of meetings, travel, promotions and newsletters to assure that expenditures shall be kept within the budget.

D. The Council shall not use unexpended funds to create a reserve; however, funds remaining at the close of a fiscal year will be expended in accordance with the guidelines established by COC.

E. The Council shall review needs, opportunities, programs and operations on an annual basis.

F. Council-sponsored conference expenses will be charged first against corporate support, second against registration income, and third against Councils’ funds.


A. It is the Council's responsibility to see that its affairs are administered in an efficient and effective manner.

B. By virtue of Council membership affiliation, one is a member of the AHA.

C. All dues-paying members shall be entitled to vote.

D. The Councils shall operate under rules and regulations that provide for the election of officers and a Leadership Committee by the membership.  The size and composition of all committees, frequency of meetings, terms of office and rules and regulations must be approved by the AHA Board of Directors.

E. Subscriptions to one or more AHA print publications are no longer a requirement of a Council to maintain a Fellow of the American Heart Association (FAHA) designation effective January 2016.. 


A. An AHA Board-approved and signed agreement of "Council Accreditation" shall exist between the AHA and the Council.

B. Written rules and regulations shall be prepared for operation of the Council in compliance with AHA Policies.  The Council's Operator's Manual will serve as the basis for these rules and regulations, including provisions for:
1. Committee membership.
2. Selection of Council officers, Council Leadership Committees and representatives to the COC,  the Delegate Business Session, the Research Committee, the Scientific Sessions Program Committee and such other AHA committees where Council representation is necessary; these representatives shall report to the Council Leadership Committee.
3. The removal of officers, Leadership Committee members and representatives appointed by the Council, who fail to carry out the responsibilities of their office.

C. Written minutes of meetings of the membership, Leadership Committee and other committees shall be retained.

D. A written plan shall be developed for the annual orientation of officers and committee members covering financial responsibility, Conflict of Interest Policy and structural relationship with the AHA and the Council's linkages to AHA's strategic goals and the Science Key Work Process.  The Council's Operator's Manual shall serve as the basis for all leadership orientation.

E. An annual report, which addresses items listed in the Annual Report Template, shall be made to the COC and the Council membership.


A. Each Council shall make a biennial self-assessment, including an examination of the Council's planning and budgeting process, documentation of its achievements, findings from membership surveys, and changes in stated objectives.  A written report of the self-assessment process shall be submitted to the Science Advisory & Coordinating Committee, using the Annual Report Template as a guide.

B. A formal review of Council activities, documents and reports for purposes of renewal of Council designation shall be conducted at least once every four years by AHA representatives appointed by the Science Advisory & Coordinating Committee.


A. Income from individual Council activities (such as conferences and product revenue but exclusive of dues revenue and Scientific Sessions revenue) can be accumulated up to a total of $200,000 and is to be expended according to AHA fiscal policies.  Income from any profits generated by Council activities, above $200,000 is divisible with AHA with 75% to be retained by the Council and 25% to the AHA.  Of the 25% that AHA receives, at least 52% will be expended on research.  Interest on such accumulated funds will accrue to the AHA and not to the Council fund.  

Revisions approved by Council Operations Committee (COC), September 9, 2015
Revisions approved by Science Advisory & Coordinating Committee (SACC), October 28 2015

Statements and Guidelines

Statements and Guidelines

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association issues scientific statements and clinical guidelines on various cardiovascular disease and stroke topics. 

View the Latest Information

Power To End Stroke

Power To End Stroke

You have the Power To End Stroke, join the movement now!