Given annually, the Gold Heart Award is presented to a volunteer who has provided continued distinguished service. Dr. Shaeffer was selected from a host of candidates for the prestigious national award, which is awarded to just one individual each year. Dr. Shaeffer also received the association’s Volunteer-Associate of the Year Award in 2006 for his work in tobacco control and obesity prevention.
Dr. Shaeffer is one of the American Heart Association’s leading tobacco control advocates since he began volunteering in 1973 with the organization’s Tidewater Chapter in Virginia. In California, Dr. Shaeffer has played a central role in the association’s support for tobacco tax initiatives, including Proposition 99, which was approved by voters in 1988 and became a model for tobacco tax initiatives in other states.Various studies indicate that Proposition 99, which imposed a 25 centper- pack tax on cigarettes, led to short- and long-term reductions in smoking.
Shaeffer is a past chairman of the association’s National Public Affairs Committee and a past member of the Advocacy Coordinating Committee and Nominating & Awards Committee. He is currently a member of the association’s Western States Affiliate Advocacy Task Force.