UA Nursing Professor Leslie Ritter Inducted as a Fellow of the American Heart Association

Jan 9, 2014

Leslie RitterLeslie Ritter, PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN, professor at the University of Arizona College of Nursing and the Department of Neurology, and the William M. Feinberg Endowed Chair for Stroke Research at the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center, has been inducted as a Fellow of the American Heart Association (FAHA), a preeminent international organization of cardiovascular and stroke professionals.

Dr. Ritter conducts innovative research on how inflammation interferes with recovery after stroke. Her research team was the first to identify a significant, early inflammatory response in the small blood vessels of the brain after stroke. As a result of these pioneering findings, in 2000 she received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. government on young professionals at the outset of their independent research careers.

Since then, Dr. Ritter and her multidisciplinary research team have investigated ways to decrease inflammatory damage after stroke, especially in people with conditions that may worsen the inflammation, such as diabetes.

In addition to her research efforts, Dr. Ritter serves as the faculty coordinator of the Primary Stroke Center at The University of Arizona Medical Center. Passionate about teaching others about stroke research, Dr. Ritter mentors undergraduate and graduate students in nursing, neurosciences, physiology and medicine. She also educates the public about stroke as a long-time participant in the UA Sarver Heart Center’s Tucson Community Lecture Series.

Dr. Ritter founded and continues to facilitate stroke survivor and caregiver support groups in Tucson and Green Valley, Ariz. She also is an active participant in state legislative initiatives that aim to ensure the highest standard of stroke care for the citizens of Arizona.

Dr. Ritter received both her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) and her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from the UA College of Nursing, and also holds a master's degree in exercise and sports sciences and a doctorate in physiological sciences from the UA.

As an AHA Fellow, Dr. Ritter joins a select group of scientists, physicians, nurses and other health-care professionals who have demonstrated a significant and productive interest in cardiovascular diseases and stroke.


Faculty at the University of Arizona College of Nursing envision, engage and innovate in education, research and practice to help people of all ages optimize health in the context of major life transitions, illnesses, injuries, symptoms and disabilities. Established in 1957, the college ranks among the top nursing programs in the United States. For more information about the college, please visit its website,

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