Dr. Jokho Farah, director of Quality and Population Health, at People’s Center Clinics & Services in Minneapolis was elected president of the American Heart Association’s Twin Cities Board.
She is the first woman of color to be president of the local board and first Somali-American to sit on the board.
“We are honored to have Dr. Farah’s insight and expertise to guide us into the future,” said Justin Bell, Twin Cities vice president of health strategies for the American Heart Association (AHA). “As our community grows more diverse, it’s imperative that the AHA continues to address health disparities and the role social determinants of health play in disease prevention and treatment. There are already many groups and organizations doing impactful work in these areas so it is important that we partner with them to build on their efforts. Dr. Farah’s work at People’s Center, specifically in improving high blood pressure compliance rates among the communities of color it serves from 52 to 66 percent in just over two years, is a significant model we can apply to other health areas to see improvement in the cardiovascular health of everyone in our community.”
Farah has been a member of the Twin Cities board since 2017 and her term as president will last two years. She joins board chair, Christine Bent, executive vice president of Allina Health, along with19 other local healthcare professionals and business and community leaders to serve on the Twin Cities board.
“My goals as president of the board is to help raise awareness of the overall mission of the AHA, advance research, strengthen local relationships AHA has with government agencies, other organizations and members of the community, and bridge the work that the AHA is doing with communities of color,” said Farah. “AHA has a big part it can play in addressing health disparities and building healthier, stronger communities.”
Trained as a general surgeon, Farah is responsible for developing, implementing and evaluating strategic initiatives focused on eliminating health disparities and improving population health. Before joining People's Center, Farah spent three years working with another safety net clinic. Prior to that, she spent time involved in international health, medical missions and humanitarian work in Dubai and Tunisia. In addition to the AHA board, she is the co-chair of the Minnesota Department of Health's Health Equity Advisory and Leadership (HEAL) Council. She also sits on several other committees namely the Minnesota Department of Health's Somali Public Health Advisors Committee, Cedar-Riverside Neighborhood Leadership Committee and New Leaders Council- Twin Cities.
In 2017, the association allocated more than $6.2 million to fund 37 new and ongoing studies in Minnesota and has funded over $4.1 billion in research nationally since 1949. AHA works with volunteers through campaigns like Go Red For Women, Heart Walk, Power to End Stroke and more to fund research, advocate for stronger public health policies, provide science-based healthcare guidelines, CPR training, and offer free tools and information to the public to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke.