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Young at Heart 
The challenges of managing the internal functions of a medtech enterprise are enough to exhaust any team of executives. But despite such day-to-day rigors, Edwards Lifesciences Corp. (Irvine, CA) and its leaders are also intimately involved with outside organizations and initiatives designed to shape and benefit the greater medtech community and the communities in which its employees live and work.
The company is an active member of industry association AdvaMed (Washington, DC). In March 2008, Edwards chairman and CEO Michael A. Mussallem will assume the role of chairman of the board of directors for the organization. In recent years, Mussallem has served with the organization in numerous capacities, including chairing the organization's international committee and its payment and healthcare delivery committee. Mussallem also serves on the board of directors of the California Healthcare Institute (La Jolla, CA) and the Orange County Technology Action Network (OCTANe; Aliso Viejo, CA).
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Edwards established a $5 million multiyear grant to build the Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Technology at the University of California, Irvine.
In addition to supporting local and national industry associations, Edwards has invested considerable funds in industry-focused grants. Last fall, Edwards Lifesciences announced a $5 million multiyear grant to the Henry Samueli School of Engineering at the University of California, Irvine, to establish the Edwards Lifesciences Center for Advanced Cardiovascular Technology.
The new centerwhich will be focused on researching and developing next-generation cardiovascular deviceswill promote interaction and collaboration among students, faculty members, and experts by incorporating undergraduate and graduate programs related to heart and vascular diseases. The center will also provide a training environment for hosting prominent experts in the field of cardiovascular technology. It will be located in a new building on the UC Irvine campus and is scheduled for completion in August 2009.
Shortly after outlining plans for the new center, Edwards announced the 2007 grant recipients from the Edwards Lifesciences Fund. As part of the fund's third annual grant cycle, more than 60 charitable organizations received grants between $5000 and $100,000, bringing the yearly total to more than $2.5 million.
"We are proud that this year we are more than doubling the amount of money granted in 2006, and are also increasing the number of organizations supported by our fund by nearly 40%," says Mussallem. "The Edwards Lifesciences Fund is supporting a growing number of organizations that strengthen our communities and help us in the fight against cardiovascular disease, further extending Edwards's reach and impact around the world."
Gifts from the Edwards Lifesciences Fund are categorized as either strategic or community grants. Strategic grants support programs or projects that expand awareness of cardiovascular disease, its prevention, and treatment, or enhance support and access to care for underserved cardiovascular patients. Community grants support programs or projects that provide opportunities for Edwards's employee involvement, help strengthen the local community, and improve quality of life.