The Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA), committed to improving the lives of those with congenital heart disease, re-establishes formal presence in its founding city.
ACHA has named Nicole Fernandez Community Development Coordinator for Greater Boston, re-establishing a formal presence in the city where it was founded 20 years ago by a young woman who sought support and resources related to congenital heart disease (CHD). In this role, Fernandez will plan, implement, and lead local program and development initiatives, including patient and family education and support groups, CHD conferences, fundraising and volunteer activities, and overall community outreach.
Fernandez has extensive experience in organizational leadership, strategy, and communication in the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. Programs she has developed and executed have surpassed goals related engagement and participation among target audiences, strengthened organization’s brands, and enhanced community partnerships.
“I'm excited to get going, working to expand the impact of ACHA in Greater Boston, an incredible organization with the potential to truly impact and improve lives,” said Fernandez. “I firmly believe my skills and experience will greatly benefit ACHA and most importantly the patients and families of those with congenital heart disease.”
ACHA is the only non-profit dedicated solely to the unique needs of the 1.4 million adults in the U.S. with congenital heart defects. Earlier this year, ACHA launched the ACHA Adult Congenital Heart Disease (ACHD) Accreditation Program, a targeted initiative to create a community of support and network of experts with knowledge of the disease. The Boston Adult Congenital Heart (BACH) and Pulmonary Hypertension Program at Boston Children’s Hospital was one of the first programs to receive accreditation, signifying the commitment of the Greater Boston medical community to supporting those with CHD.
“We were immediately impressed by Nicole’s proven track record with developing and leading strategic programs to increase engagement and grow awareness, and are thrilled that she has joined the ACHA team,” said Mark Roeder, President and CEO of ACHA. “With our roots in Boston, it is particularly meaningful for us to be establish a stronger presence there, and know that Nicole will exceed our expectations for expanding our impact in Greater Boston.
Prior to ACHA, Fernandez served as Development and Communications Manager at Compass, which provides services to youth and families in Boston referred by public systems, including the Department of Children and Families. Earlier in her career, she held positions at the University of Minnesota, Pillsbury United Communities, Minneapolis Public Schools, and United Healthcare. Fernandez graduated from Northwestern University with a B.S. in Communication Studies, and received a Master’s Certificate in Youth Development from the University of Nebraska.
In 1998 in Boston, Karen Klein McNulty and two friends who were also living with CHD—Anthony Cordaro, Jr. and Bonnie Paulsen—founded ACHA in her parents’ living room as they sought a shared network for support and information. The group aimed to educate the public about congenital heart disease and encourage more research, while forming a community where they were not alone, living with a disease that was largely invisible to the world. Today, ACHA offers its growing membership a wide range of resources focused on education, outreach, advocacy, and promotion of research related to CHD.
About the Adult Congenital Heart Association
The Adult Congenital Heart Association (ACHA) is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life and extending the lives of adults with congenital heart disease (CHD). ACHA serves and supports the more than one million adults with CHD, their families and the medical community—working with them to address the unmet needs of the long-term survivors of congenital heart defects through education, outreach, advocacy, and promotion of ACHD research. For more information about ACHA, contact (888) 921-ACHA or visit www.achaheart.org.