Stephanie Watts Career Development Award

Supported by the Council on Hypertension’s Trainee Advocacy Committee (TAC) and Data Sciences International (DSI)

To qualify for this Hypertension Scientific Sessions award, sponsored by the Council on Hypertension, you must meet the following deadlines:


This award supports early career investigators working in hypertension and cardiovascular research who show exceptional promise but may be currently unfunded or have limited access to extramural funding. A subcommittee nominated by the Council on Hypertension Training Advocacy Committee will select up to three finalists from applicants who apply through the Council Awards Application System. The finalists will present at Hypertension Scientific Sessions where judges will decide the winner based on the criteria, application documents, scientific merit and quality of their presentation. 

The Stephanie Watts Career Development Award was established to honor the advocacy work of Dr. Stephanie Watts, an active member of the Council on Hypertension, who has always advocated for the needs of the many trainees associated with the Council. The works of Dr. Watts led to the creation of the Trainee Advocacy Committee, which she chaired from 2005 to 2007. As a founding member of the TAC, she contributed to the planning of the Hypertension Summer School, another important Council on Hypertension past initiative that helped many trainees to become highly skilled hypertension researchers. Although no longer an official member of the committee, her outstanding support of TAC activities continues. Dr. Watts is an exemplary mentor, who is avid to assist her trainees and many others to reach their career goals and become accomplished scientists who aspire to her achievements.

Award Recipients

  • 2022 John Henry Dasinger, PhD
  • 2021 Jing Wu, PhD
  • 2020 Onur Cil, MD, PhD
  • 2019 Thiago Bruder do Nascimento MSc, PhD

Eligibility Criteria

  • All applicants must be members of the AHA Council on Hypertension or Council on the Kidney in Cardiovascular Disease by the time of application. If you need to become an AHA Professional Member, you should do so before submitting your abstract and award application materials. Join or renew today!
  • Applicant must be active in research and still be in training as an undergraduate or pre-doctoral student, or be active in research and within 10 years of completing medical fellowship (or residency as NIH states, MDs would be Fellows for 3-6 years of the 7-10), terminal degree or highest certificate (e.g. MSc, PhD), as of the award application date.
  • Applicants currently owning a DSI 4-animal telemetry system are not eligible for this award. Requests to change the scope of the award or use the award to upgrade an existing telemetry system will not be considered.
  • Applicants must have a minimum of 75% protected research time to qualify for this award.
  • Funding requirements: Applicants are not required to have current funding; however, for applicants who are not funded, they must be working in collaboration with a senior mentor active in hypertension or cardiovascular research.
  • Since this award is for early career investigators, researchers who have secured funding similar to an R01 (or equivalent), or in excess of $300,000/year in direct costs will be ineligible.
  • Notwithstanding the above, the AHA Officers have the discretion to determine eligibility for the award in extraordinary circumstances when there is an issue relating to AHA policy or positions or other potentially controversial issue relating to the positioning or perception of the AHA.
  • Previous winners are not eligible to re-enter the competition in subsequent years.
  • Early Career Investigators may apply for other abstract-based awards presented at the Hypertension Scientific Sessions but may only be selected for one award per meeting.
  • There are no citizenship requirements.
  • Previous members of the Trainee Advocacy Committee are eligible to receive the Watts award immediately after the end of their term.
  • Selected finalists will be asked to present their 3-minute project pitch at Hypertension Scientific Sessions where one awardee will be selected.

How to Make a Nomination/Required Documents

Electronic submission through the Council Awards Application System is required. Hard copies of any part of the nomination cannot be accepted. Please follow instructions for ProposalCentral, the new Council Awards platform.

Apply Now for the Hypertension Scientific Sessions Early Career Development Awards and select the HTN Stephanie Watts Career Development Award from the award drop down list.

The following items must be submitted through the Council Awards Application System for consideration for this award:

  • Candidate Statement describing the applicant’s current research interests involving hypertension and anticipated path to independence, or career trajectory, specifically stating how the DSI system awarded will aid in career development.
  • Project Proposal explaining how the DSI system, if awarded, will help the applicant’s research program and detailing the infrastructure given to the development of the project and applicant’s career progress. Limited to one-page.
  • List of current/pending grant support and funding amount.
  • Copy of abstract submitted to the conference.
  • Support letter from institution/department head.
  • Two recommendation letters, where one should not come from the same institution.
  • Curriculum Vitae, including the most relevant publications (abstracts not necessary).
  • Preceptor Statement: Statement of mentor’s support detailing grant support.
  • Statement from institution stating that the equipment can be moved with the investigator.

Members of the Council on Hypertension's Trainee Advocacy Committee cannot write letters of support or apply for this award.

Visit the Council Awards Application System to complete an application.

A username and password previously set up through online registration at Professional Heart Daily will be necessary to access the Application System. AHA Professional Members who are creating an online profile for the first time should make sure to register using their AHA membership identification numbers.

AHA Professional Membership and affiliation with the Council on Hypertension is required of all applicants for this award. If you are joining the AHA to apply, please wait for your AHA membership number to arrive from AHA Member Services via e-mail before creating an online profile and starting your application file.


The Council on Hypertension’s Trainee Advocacy Committee and Award’s Committee representatives will select up to three (3) finalists from applicants who apply. Selected finalists will be asked to present their 3-minute project pitch at the Hypertension Scientific Sessions where one winner will be selected.

The winner and finalists will receive:

  • Engraved plaque
  • One complimentary ticket to the Council on Hypertension Awards banquet

The winner will receive:

  • A complete Data Sciences International (DSI) 4-animal telemetry system including: 4 telemetry implants, any necessary hardware (e.g., receivers, matrix, APR (if doing pressure)), a 4-channel acquisition Ponemah software license with BP and/or ECG analysis modules, and a computer.
  • DSI will pay for shipping. Requests to change the scope of the award will not be considered.


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AHA Professional Members are Difference Makers

Some Early Career members share a laugh in the exhibits area of AHA's Hypertension 2022 meeting.

Hypertension Scientific Sessions

September 7-10, 2023
Sheraton Boston Hotel | Boston, Massachusetts