Greater Cincinnati African American Heart Association

Serving all people in the Tri-State and beyond.

The Organization That Serves with the (W)right Heart!



Here at Greater Cincinnati African American Heart Association, GCAAHA.

It is always our first concern to make safety, good health, and well-being for all a top priority.

With the present health concerns brought on by COVID-19. We are making internal changes to practice social distancing, and developing a new and safe way of providing service to the community.

Our team of professionals is at work developing a stronger online presence for our site visitors.  As an alternative, we are working to set up new interactive features for engaging our site visitors, and social media networks.

We ask for your continued patience, as we continue to make new changes and updates as our time allows.

We look forward to connecting with you and encourage you to leave us any message via email at

Thank you for your continued support as every dollar enables us to continue to provide services that support individuals and families challenged by heart disease.

Be safe, and stay well!!



Meet Zakiyyah Thurman, Nurse/Educator

Zakiyyah Thurman is a Registered Nurse with over 16 years of experience. After graduating from nursing school in 2004, she has worked in a variety of settings including Maternity Services, Critical Care, and Corporate Nursing. Zakiyyah's educational background includes an Associate of Applied Science degree in Nursing Technology (2004), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (Cum Laude, 2007), and a Master of Science degree in Nursing with a focus in education (2015).

Throughout her nursing career, she has dedicated countless hours to improving the health status of patients & families by providing proficient care & education. She has presented posters at national conferences and has been engaged in many quality, evidence-based practice, and research projects.

Zakiyyah also owns her own business, ZIR Training Services, in which she provides educational training on communicable disease, child abuse, health & safety, and first aid & CPR. She also volunteers in local community health initiatives to share knowledge on various health topics. Her mission in life is to continually strive for excellence and to improve the overall health status of people in the community and across the nation through sharing her years of knowledge and experience on vital health care topics.  

Zakiyyah Thurman MSN, RN, CMSRN, ONC

Professional Excellence Specialist


Click on the "Get in touch" button below to get the invite for the next informative live session!


Join us on the third Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. as Nurse Zakiyyah (Za-Kia) presents new, exciting, and informative health topics! Click on the "Get in Touch" or email button to stay in the loop!!

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Gospel Choir

Who We Are

Here at Greater Cincinnati African American Heart Association


Greater Cincinnati African American Heart Association (GCAAHA) is creating a health-focused environment of community network support with thoughtfulness, understanding, and trust for African Americans with a personal touch.

It is to see people of color making decisions for good health that aid in avoiding the pitfalls of developing chronic illnesses and cardiovascular disease, ultimately achieve a healthier quality of life.

We believe good health is the primary factor in living a good quality of life.

We strive to increase awareness, education, and community support, giving special attention to the needs of those at a greater risk of poor health, based on social and economic disparities.

We believe that knowledge and awareness are key in helping individuals to make better health choices for themselves and their families. We are guided by ethical principles in our business affairs and strive for excellence in all the work we do.

GCAAHA is a 501c3 charitable organization and contributions are tax deductible. We are happy to provide a contribution acknowledgment for tax purposes upon request.



The Full Story

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GCAAHA was founded and established by Sandra A. Wright. Wright is a heart-transplant survivor who through her own experience recognized the need for a support system. Wright discovered there is an essential demand for implementation of a system that provides various avenues of supportive access for the specific cultural needs of the African American community. Wright has endured the unfortunate experiences of battling consistent complications of comorbidities (the presence of two or more diseases) and systemic inequities of the healthcare system. Wright has firsthand knowledge of how one may encounter feelings of loss, disconnect, exclusion, and empty emotions due to navigating through the process of obtaining treatment for heart disease.
Wright’s unique experience and perspective allows for others facing these challenges, especially in the African American community to connect with her point of view. Wright possesses the ability to be relatable to her clients and impart authentic levels of empathy, understanding and genuine concern of their individual plight.


The Executive Board


Sandra A. Wright

Founder & President

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Raymond C. Wright

Vice-President & Co-Founder

Shelly L. Mathewis


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Darlene Hamilton


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Education & Outreach

Doing It the (W)right Way

Most of our efforts pertaining to this program involve our fun exciting online approaches and developing innovative ways to implement helpful tools while engaging our audience. We invite you to join our online community and take part in this service provided for you. We welcome you to share your thoughts and topic ideas with us.
Contact us at

Let’s Go Red Shoes for Women

Our Signature Women's Health Initiative

GCAAHA’s, Let’s Go Red Shoes for Women, is a platform designed and dedicated to increase women’s heart health awareness and serve as a catalyst for change to improve the overall health in the lives of women of color.
It’s not just about wearing red or a pair of stylish red shoes; it’s about sharing heart health knowledge and facts associated with other comorbidities common to women of color. It’s about all women and most specifically women of color making a commitment to stand together with Let’s Go Red Shoes for Women and taking charge of their heart health supported by making better choices for the good of their overall health in addition to those they know, love and care for. Good news! You don’t have to do this alone as we welcome the opportunity to walk along side as you commitment to your health journey. We encourage you to grab a friend or a family member and make a Let’s Go Red Shoes® Commitment for Better Health today!

Strength & Courage Network Support

Serving with the (W)right Heart

This program is dedicated to inspiring both men and women and especially people of color faced with challenging life altering circumstances and situations to walk with strength into a new normal®.
Through this Network Support Service, we have the potential to make a real and positive change in our community. This is one of our key areas of focus here at Greater Cincinnati African American Heart Association, and a source of much success for our Non-Profit. Get in touch with us today and see how you can lend a helping hand with this program.
Contact us at



A Shoulder To Lean On

When facing a difficult health challenge and you need to feel the strength of the village support. You seek after a place that identifies with who you are as an African American.  A place that provides you with the comfort of feeling that you matter.  Working collaboratively to provide you with a sense of belonging and connectivity. GCAAHA is such a place.  At the Greater Cincinnati African American Heart Association, we are fostering an environment of inclusion. Intentional to build mental strength, community network, and moral support in a culturally attractive way for people of color. ​

Supportive Friend


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Support Services

Making a Difference Serving with the (W)right Heart!

Through our Support Services, we have the potential to make a real and positive change in the community. We are intentional about encouraging good health practices at Greater Cincinnati African American Heart Association.  Your monthly investment of $25.00 lends a helping hand with the further development of services provided within this program. Consider partnering with us today.
GCAAHA is a 501c3 non-profit organization, and donations are tax-deductible. We are happy to provide a donor letter upon request.
To show our appreciation for your generosity, we will send you one of our beautiful Red Shoe lapel pins as our way of thanking you.
Thank you for clicking on the link below, and investing in the quality of life of another human.

GCAAHA is a 501c3 Non-profit organization and donations are tax deductible. We are happy to provide a donor letter upon request.

To show our appreciation for your generosity we will send you one of our beautiful Red Shoe lapel pins and

Thank you for clicking on the link below and investing in the quality of life for another human.

Walking With Strength Into A New Normal

Our Women's health initiative. That focuses primarily on the health, strength, and emotional support of black women.
This initiative is identifiable by the beautiful trademark image of our
RED SHOE! Strategically designed to exude strength!
Our Red Shoe is symbolic of the signature slogan
"Walking with Strength into A New Normal ™."
You can feel the electrifying energy in the room at our signature event as all the ladies chant, "Let's Go Red Shoes!"

We see every challenge as an opportunity, and this initiative helps us ensure that our partners feel strengthen to manage the unique situations they find themselves in. We strive to present an innovative approach that empowers our community and delivers the support they need when they need it.

Want to host a Let's Go Red shoe event? Contact us for more information on how you can make it happen!



Greater Cincinnati African American Heart Association is achieving more with our initiatives than ever before. We work on many exciting projects to help improve the lives of others, and are very proud of the progress we continue to make. A healthy lifestyle is essential to achieving a good quality of life. We produced this short film entitled: Heart Attack (Ain't Nobody Got Time For That!) as our way of helping to elevate consciousness and to remind everyone they should always remember to self-care in every situation. Learn more about what we do, who we help, and how we work every day to promote awareness and positive change.

Across the Chart African Americans Rank the Highest

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Ain't Nobody Got Time For That!


Survivor Stories and Testimonials

Greater Cincinnati African American Heart Association survivor stories. The factual written accounts from the journeys of an individual's challenges and triumphs in the battle against heart disease.

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Coretta Scott King

"The greatness of a community
is most accurately measured by
the compassionate actions of its members."


Real Life Survivor Heart Stories

Click on story to pause slide, then click arrow to continue to next.


Sandra A. Wright

In June of 2014, while on vacation in Chicago I was rushed to the hospital at the age of 58. I was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. Up until then, I had no signs of heart issues. Therefore, I was in denial the first year of my diagnosis. As time went on, the condition worsened. By the summer of 2017, I had to have a "Heart Transplant."
I give all praises to God! I am so grateful to the donor, and their family. In addition, to the awesome doctors, and nurses that cared for me. It is so important to listen to your body and the people that know and love you. Get regular checkups of your heart and vitals. Know your numbers and warning signs. In addition, if you doubt a diagnosis, get a second or third opinion. You could possibly do yourself more harm by being in denial.
My experience has truly been life-changing! I'm so grateful that God spared my life. Now, I live each day FOR HIS GLORY, and to pay it forward by serving others as the Founder and President of the Greater Cincinnati African American Heart Association.


TO Greater Cincinnati African American Heart Association!

Get in touch with Greater Cincinnati African American Heart Assoc. to learn more about our work and how you can get involved.

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Check Back For Upcoming 2022 Events

  • Fri, Nov 01
    Location is TBD
    Nov 01, 2019, 12:00 AM
    Location is TBD