AHA FIT Newsletter
Spotlight on Tyler Rasmussen, MD, PhD - Fall 2020 issue
Tyler Rasmussen, MD, PhD
University of Iowa
Tyler Rasmussen, MD, PhD, Cardiology Fellow, University of Iowa. Tyler received a Young Investigator Database Seed Grant from the AHA to research in-hospital cardiac arrests in Medicare recipients. The grant allows him access to the GWTG database.
Interview conducted by Sruti Rao, MD, Pediatric Cardiology Fellow Nemours A.I duPont Hospital for Children, Wilmington, Delaware
What is the eligibility criteria for this database research seed grant?
Any PhD or MD who is in residency or fellowship, or who has completed training within the last 5 years is eligible to apply for the award.
Did you use any resources from your program or AHA to develop and submit your research grant application?
I think the best resource I used was my terrific mentor, Dr. Saket Girotra. He has a strong footprint in the landscape of outcomes research regarding cardiac resuscitation. I was fortunate that he was my clinical mentor during my first year of fellowship. My project was born out of the fruitful discussions we had while treating patient in the clinic who often had survived an in-hospital or out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
How did you select your mentor for the project? Does your PI have to be from your program or are you allowed to select a PI from other parts of the country whose interests align with yours?
I have a strong background in basic and translational sciences, and I wanted to expand my research toolbox to include the ability to perform clinical research. Selecting Dr. Girotra was an easy task as he is both a thoughtful teacher who is devoted to teaching clinical cardiology and a motivated young clinical scientist. He is a very busy and talented interventional cardiologist, but he was able to provide timely and effective feedback as we developed the project.
What was the biggest driver for you to take up this specific project?
I wanted to determine whether there is inter-hospital variability in outcomes of in-hospital cardiac arrest among hospitals participating in Medicare. If there is a care gap, future studies could be aimed to identify why certain hospitals outperform others. Ultimately, the goal is to close care gaps so that all patients have access to excellent cardiac arrest and post-resuscitative care.
How much time and what key steps are required to develop and submit a research proposal?
The proposal is much shorter than other grant applications. Reviewing the relevant literature, typing a first draft, and revisions probably took about 10 hours. It’s a task that could be completed over a weekend off from the hospital.
We see there are HF clinical tools, stroke clinical tools, Afib clinical tools and resuscitation clinical tools. Do you know if there are any clinical tools pertaining to the pediatric population? Is there opportunity for people interested in basic science?
The Get With the Guidelines young investigator award is limited to the areas you provided. I am not sure whether there are tools focused on pediatric populations. This could be an opportunity to innovate! There are separate AHA young investigator awards for basic science interested MD and/or PhD trained applicants.
Is statistical support provided?
The award provides access to the Get With the Guidelines database, which is housed at the University of Pennsylvania. They have an excellent team that helps with data extraction. As part of the award I received a stipend that is discretionary. I plan to use part of the money to help offset the cost of statistical analysis and the other funds will be used for conference attendance.
What are your suggestions you would give someone interested in doing something similar? (ex: time management, mentor selection, etc.)
Pick something to study that is of interest to you. I think it always helps to marry your clinical and scientific interests, but that doesn’t always have to be the case. My favorite moments in the hospital are treating critically ill patients, so my project was a natural fit.
What are some obstacles that you faced or things you learnt along the way?
Great science takes time. I earned a PhD in a wet lab using animal models and had a preconceived notion that clinical research would produce results much quicker. I learned that performing high quality clinical research takes a lot of time and thought. Also, collaboration is both necessary and exhilarating. I have had the opportunity to work with one of the international leaders in outcomes research, Dr. Paul Chan at Mid America Heart Institute. My motto hasn’t changed since my high school football days: have fun, work hard, get better.