Roman Bowser, CEO of the American Heart Association’s Western States Affiliate, cringes at labels like “maverick” and “visionary.” But for better or worse, he’ll just have to get used to them. Since 1986, when he took charge of the California Affiliate – which later became the Western States Affiliate, the largest of the American Heart Association’s 12 regions – Bowser’s leadership has earned him a reputation for cutting edge ideas and practices.

In the spring of 1996, for instance, to the...

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