It is with deep sadness that we share that Dr. William Neal, former Chairman of the Board of the Family Heart Foundation and Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics at West Virginia University, passed away on January 1, 2021.
the Family Heart Foundation Team and Board of Directors are extremely grateful for the contributions that Dr. William “Bill” Neal has made to the Family Heart Foundation, since joining the Board of Directors in 2014.
Dr. Neal was a proud son of West Virginia and a Navy veteran who had a long and illustrious career in Pediatric Cardiology at the University of West Virginia prior to his involvement with the Family Heart Foundation. He was principally responsible for the development of the Coronary Artery Risk Detection In Appalachian Communities (CARDIAC) Project, which lasted close to 20 years and screened 100,000 5th grade students in West Virginia for FH and other cardiovascular disease risk factors. Nearly 700 children were identified with LDL-C > 160 mg/dL and many of these children were followed in a statewide system of children’s cardiology clinics. As a result of these efforts, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended universal childhood cholesterol screening for children ages 9-11.
“This seminal study illustrates Bill’s unwavering vision to improve the lives of individuals with FH and their families and serves as a model for us all,” said Dr. Joshua Knowles, Chief Research Advisor for the Family Heart Foundation. “Dr. Neal’s dedication to the cause has been absolute, and his humble, calm and steady leadership has contributed greatly to the amazing work accomplished by the Foundation.”
Dr. Neal’s tenure spanned multiple high-profile efforts including the CASCADE FH Registry, FIND FH, and FOCUS (FH Optimal Care for the U.S.). He served on the publications committee for the Family Heart Foundation, including playing a key role in the recent publication in the Journal of Pediatrics, “Children with Heterozygous Familial Hypercholesterolemia in the United States: Data from the Cascade Screening for Awareness and Detection-FH Registry.”
“Bill Neal was a dear friend, outstanding mentor and lifelong advocate to prioritize familial hypercholesterolemia as a public health concern. He brought that passion and his great skills as a medical expert, a diplomatic leader and consensus builder to his long service as an Family Heart Foundation board member and Chairman of the Board of Directors,” added Katherine Wilemon, founder and CEO of the Family Heart Foundation.
He will be deeply missed by all those who had the honor to know him.