Quest Diagnostics and Steve Rusckowski Early Career Investigator Award for Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine Research

Sponsored by Quest Diagnostics Center of Excellence for Cardiometabolic Testing at Cleveland Heart Lab

Applicants must submit abstracts to Scientific Sessions 2023. The Abstract Deadline is June 12, 2023, at 6 p.m. (CDT).

To qualify for this Scientific Sessions 2023 award, you must meet the following deadlines:

  • June 7, 2023 – Deadline to have an active AHA membership with this Council.
  • New deadline! June 12, 2023, 6 p.m. (CDT) – Deadline to submit your science to Scientific Sessions 2023.
  • June 14, 2023, 6 p.m. (CDT) – Deadline to apply for this award in the Council Awards System.

The Quest Diagnostic and Steve Rusckowski Early Career Investigator Award for Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine Research is named for the retiring CEO of Quest Diagnostics. It is open to new investigators in preventive cardiovascular medicine. The award recognizes trainees and new investigators in the formative years of their careers who have the potential to become future leaders in preventive cardiovascular medicine. Up to five finalists will  be selected to present their research results at Scientific Sessions.

Under Mr. Rusckowski’s leadership, Quest Diagnostics achieved Gold status in the American Heart Association's Workplace Health Achievement Index for the past several years, ranking the company's workplace health initiative among the best in the nation. They received the American Heart Association Award of Meritorious Achievement in 2021 in recognition of their support of the American Heart Association's Historically Black Colleges and Universities Scholars Program. Through this grant provided by the Quest Diagnostics Foundation, the AHA doubled the cash award for students in the existing HBCU Scholars cohort, provided funds for 10 new research stipends at five additional HBCUs, and launched the inaugural class of its Hispanic Serving Institutions Scholars Program.

Award Recipients

    2022 Sarah Margaret Urbut, MD, PhD

Eligibility Criteria

  • Applicants and applicant sponsor must be members of the AHA. If you need to become an AHA Professional Member, you should do so no later than one week prior to the application submission deadline for your membership to be processed in time for the application submission deadline. Learn more about AHA Professional Membership.
  • Applicant must be active in research and within 10 years of completion of terminal degree or highest certificate (e.g., MSc, PhD), or within 10 years of completing medical fellowship or residency, as of the award application date. Graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, instructors, and research associates are welcome to apply.
  • Successful applicants will be able to show sustained interest in the area of preventive cardiovascular medicine.
  • Submission can be based on clinical studies, preclinical studies, or basic research. Abstract must be submitted to one of the categories for presentation at Scientific Sessions in which the Council on Clinical Cardiology or the Council on Cardiovascular Surgery and Anesthesia are the lead/primary sponsor. Make sure that your abstract has been submitted in a category listed under the award for which you want to apply. View a list of Council Awards and Travel Grants Available by Abstract Category and Community (PDF).
  • An individual may not compete for similar early career investigator awards from other American Heart Association scientific councils during the same scientific meeting.
  • Only one application per candidate will be considered.
  • The applicant must be the first and presenting author, although the abstract may have co-authors. The presenting author of an accepted abstract must be registered for Scientific Sessions. Additional information about registration and fees may be found on the Scientific Sessions website.
  • Winners and finalists from previous years are not eligible.
  • There are no citizenship requirements.
  • The case may not be presented at a national or international meeting or world congress before the date and time of presentation at Scientific Sessions.
  • The case abstract must comply with the AHA Abstract Submission Guidelines as outlined by the Committee on Scientific Sessions Program.
  • Abstracts eligible for this award must be based upon projects that adhere to the American Heart Association’s policies governing all research awards, regardless of whether the project was funded by the American Heart Association. These policies are available here and include (but are not limited to) research using human subjects or animals and stem cell research.
  • 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.

Evaluation Criteria

Panels of distinguished researchers, scientists, clinicians, and academicians representing the breadth of cardiovascular disease and stroke will judge applications. Applications will be judged on the quality and originality of the submitted manuscript in addition to the scientific merit.

  • Scientific merit of the abstract.
  • Letter from the candidate's sponsor and any other included reference letters.
  • The candidate's curriculum vitae.
  • The quality of the oral presentation and response to questions at Scientific Sessions (finalists only.) The finalist must be the presenter of his/her submission and no alternates or proxy will be allowed.
  • Service to the community

How to Apply / Required Documents

Electronic submission through the Council Awards Application System is required. Hard copies of any part of the nomination cannot be accepted.

Your application file should contain the following documents in PDF format:

  • AHA abstract in accordance with AHA rules and regulations for submitting abstracts to Scientific Sessions. Please note that this abstract must first be submitted through the AHA's Scientific Sessions website before the abstract submission deadline. Visit Scientific Sessions to submit your abstract before submission of this award application; your abstract control number is needed for the award application form.
    Topics include observational, post-hoc, randomized and biobank studies on novel markers of risk, strategies for behavioral modification of risk, dietary approaches to risk, animals studies of novel assessments of risk and basic science studies identifying novel pathways that can be monitored to define risk of cardiovascular disease.
  • A single manuscript, either unpublished or accepted for publication after January 1 of the meeting year, is required as part of the application. The manuscript may be from a project distinct from the abstract submitted to the AHA Scientific Sessions.
  • A cover letter declaring the application for The AHA/Quest Diagnostics Early Career Investigator Research Award for Preventive Cardiology.
  • Curriculum vitae and bibliography.
  • A letter detailing how much of the design and research work was done by the candidate and by any co-investigators. The candidate's immediate supervisor, division head, department chairperson, or institute director must write this statement. In case of multi-authored manuscripts, the supervisor should also indicate that among all the co-authors the applicant is the most appropriate candidate for the award and offer rationale for this opinion. Supportive statements of the candidate and his or her relevant qualifications as a researcher are also encouraged.

Though not required, up to two additional letters of support or reference from individuals familiar with the applicant, his or her background, or his or her research may be submitted. Inclusion of additional support letters does not guarantee higher consideration of an application, but can be beneficial.

Visit the Council Awards Application System to complete an application.

A username and password previously set up through online registration at Professional Heart Daily (PHD) 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.

An active AHA Professional Membership is required of all applicants for this award. If you are joining the AHA to apply, please wait for your AHA member number to arrive from AHA Member Services via e-mail before creating an online profile and starting your application file. We suggest that new members join the AHA no later than one week prior to the application submission deadline for the member ID number to be processed and delivered in time for the application deadline. The membership number will be required on the award application form.

  1. Click the link for the Council Awards Application System.
  2. Sign in with your Professional Heart Daily username and password.
  3. Follow these instructions to set up your profile in ProposalCentral. Setting up your ProposalCentral profile will only need to be done the first time you login to apply for an American Heart Association Council Awards. Please note that the grant maker named American Heart Association is for AHA Research Awards and is a separate log in.

For more detailed information on ProposalCentral, also included are additional materials on specific ProposalCentral functionality.


Finalists for the Early Career Investigator Award competitions associated with Scientific Sessions will be announced in July. Up to five finalists will present their research results at Scientific Sessions.

Each finalist will also receive the following:
The first-prize winner will receive an engraved plaque and $3,000, plus a $500 stipend to defray travel costs. The first runner-up will receive $2,000, plus a $500 stipend to defray travel costs. Other finalists will each receive a plaque and a $500 travel stipend. Finalists must present in-person at Scientific Sessions to be eligible for the travel stipend.

Each finalist will be designated in the Scientific Sessions online supplement to Circulation. Acceptance for the competition does not guarantee publication in any other American Heart Association sponsored journal. Abstracts associated with a published manuscript can be presented at an AHA scientific event if the manuscript was published after the time the abstract was submitted to the event, however the abstract will not be published as a part of the journal publication.