AHA FIT Newsletter

Volume 6 / Fall 2021

Welcome from Manesh Patel, MD

Manesh Patel, MDDear AHA FIT – Welcome to the Scientific Sessions 2021 and to hopefully a lifetime of engagement with the AHA.

I am truly excited to write this welcome note to our early career and youngest AHA volunteers. Your involvement with the AHA and its scientific and health equity missions will hopefully provide you lifelong opportunities to learn, contribute to your communities, and importantly support your own individual careers. After presenting at the AHA Scientific Session as a cardiology fellow, I was lucky enough to join the AHA as a FIT and serve on the Diagnostic and Interventional Cath committee. That initial act of presenting science and getting involved in the Cath Committee afforded me several important exposures, opportunities to provide insights from the fellow and junior faculty perspective, and importantly allowed me to learn how to propose and work on AHA Scientific Sessions by submitting possible sessions. Involvement early in the AHA as a FIT has led to many ways to participate and contribute.

How can you be part of the AHA as a FIT? There are several ways, many of which are tied to the Scientific Sessions. As you all know, we have worked hard again this year during the COVID pandemic to provide the premier international scientific meeting. Our theme is “One World – Together for Science.” We will have several live sessions including main event sessions, late breaking science, and over 500 sessions in total. Specifically, we have aimed to ensure we have diverse representation and specific inclusion of FITs in both moderator roles, social medial moderators, and commentators for specific session. Please submit your ideas and willingness to participate. At the Sessions, join the conversation, ask questions in the chat, tweet on social media your opinions of the data, and volunteer and join meet the trialists sessions.

We also look to embed the FIT community into everything we do from planning the Scientific Sessions, to supporting our local affiliates with community projects, to ensuring we fund the next set of cardiovascular leaders through AHA funding opportunities. The AHA Research Leader’s Academy is also another benefit for many of our young funded AHA scientists. Through the FIT community, the local councils, and the regional and national meetings, we aim to ensure multiple venues to engage and hear the voice of our FITs. You are empowered to help us with the Scientific Sessions and the overall AHA mission to ensure we continue to strive to improve health, deliver the best science, and to change the practice of cardiovascular medicine through life-changing and equitable health. So, use your voice and your energy in the AHA to engage and support your councils, your local affiliates, and the Scientific Sessions. Your time will lead to a more fulfilling and rewarding career, one we hope to highlight at the Scientific Sessions. Welcome and we look forward Sessions 2021.

Manesh Patel, MD, FAHA
Chair, Committee on Scientific Sessions Program

Virtual Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship Recruitment: Looking Back to Inform the Future

Nosheen Reza, MD

Nosheen Reza, MD
Assistant Professor Medicine
Division of Cardiovascular Medicine
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania & the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

We are heading into the home stretch of the second year of virtual interviews for cardiovascular disease fellowship, and it is remarkable to think about how dramatically fellowship programs have transformed their recruitment practices to accommodate our remote world. In September 2020, Drs. Kathryn Berlacher, John McPherson, Nadeen Faza, and I anticipated some of the challenges of and proposed potential solutions for an unprecedented fully virtual recruitment season in our manuscript published in JACC: Case Reports. We emphasized the importance of ensuring authentic interactions between applicants and fellows on interview days, remaining mindful of the unique challenges that applicants have endured as frontline clinicians during the COVID-19 pandemic, and embedding structures to mitigate bias and promote equity in the application, interview, and selection processes. So, what lessons are we taking forward into the 2021 recruitment season?

Finding the right path within cardiology: A conversation with Dr. Srichai-Parsia and Dr. Amit Khera

Tsion Aberra, MD
AHA FIT News, Co-Editor
Cardiology Fellow, PGY-5
Georgetown University/ Medstar Washington Hospital Center


Monvadi Barbara Srichai-Parsia, MD, MS, FAHA, FACC

Monvadi Barbara Srichai-Parsia, MD, MS, FAHA, FACC is the Vice Chief of Cardiology and the Director of the Non-Invasive Cardiology Lab at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital. She completed her cardiology fellowship and advanced imaging fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic. Additionally, she earned a Master’s degree in Comparative Effectiveness from NYU. Dr. Srichai-Parsia’s research interests have focused on the roles of advanced imaging and other new technology in refining treatment and diagnosis. She also participates in research on the patient-centered treatment approach of shared decision making. She is also exploring the different testing techniques for patients with chest pain and the factors that go into choosing diagnostic techniques based on symptomology and patient preferences for certain tests.

Amit Khera, MD, MSc, FAHA, FACC, FASPC

Amit Khera, MD, MSc, FAHA, FACC, FASPC is Professor of Medicine at the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas where he serves as Director of the Preventive Cardiology, and holder of the Dallas Heart Ball Chair in Hypertension and Heart Disease. He was previously the Program Director for the Cardiology Fellowship at UT Southwestern from 2011-2019. His clinical and research interests include the primary and secondary prevention of coronary artery disease, focusing on risk assessment and risk factor modification in those with premature and familial disease. He completed cardiology fellowship at the University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center. He also completed his Masters degree in Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health. He has published over 150 publications in the field of preventive cardiology and has served on numerous local and national committee and leadership roles for the American College of Cardiology, the American Heart Association where he is currently Vice Chair of Scientific Sessions planning, and the American Society for Preventive Cardiology where he is the Immediate Past President. He is currently Digital Strategies Editor and an Associate Editor for the journal Circulation.

FIT-Led Publications Corner: A Conversation with Dr. Evangelos Oikonomou

Zakaria Almuwaqqat, MD
Cardiology Fellow, PGY-6
Division of Cardiology, Emory School of Medicine


Evangelos (Evan) Oikonomou

Evangelos (Evan) Oikonomou is a clinical fellow in cardiology and a member of the ABIM Physician-Scientist Research Pathway at Yale School of Medicine. He is a native of Athens, Greece where he also completed his medical school training at the University of Athens. Following his graduation, Evangelos moved to the United Kingdom to pursue a Ph.D. (D.Phil.) degree at the Radcliffe Department of Medicine, University of Oxford. During the course of his project entitled "Non-invasive phenotyping of perivascular adipose tissue for cardiovascular disease diagnosis and risk stratification", he developed machine learning-based non-invasive imaging approaches to better characterize the role of perivascular inflammation in atherosclerosis. As a physician-scientist, Evangelos is interested in applying machine learning approaches using multidimensional data derived from non-invasive imaging to individualize cardiovascular disease diagnosis and treatment.

Early Career Investigator Awards and Competitions at Scientific Sessions

Sasha Prisco, MD, PhD
Cardiology Fellow, Physician-Scientist Training Program
University of Minnesota

We hope that you will cheer on your fellow early career clinicians and scientists at AHA Scientific Sessions! Congratulations to all of the finalists listed below who were selected to present their oral abstracts at Scientific Sessions! See Awards - Scientific Sessions 2021 for more information about the accolades that will be awarded during Scientific Sessions.

Expand or collapse Awards

Cournand and Comroe Early Career Investigator Award
Sponsored by the Council on Cardiopulmonary, Critical Care, Perioperative and Resuscitation (3CPR)

  • Megan Griffiths, MD, John Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
  • Sasha Z. Prisco, MD, PhD, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
  • Tsukasa Shimauchi, MD, PhD, Laval University, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada
  • Tomoyoshi Tamura, MD, PhD, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA
  • Lianghui Zhang, MD, PhD, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL

CVSA Resident Prize
Sponsored by the Council on Cardiovascular Surgery and Anesthesia (CVSA)

  • Makoto Hibino, MD, MPH, PhD, University of Toronto, St Michael's Hospital, Toronto, Canada
  • Yujiro Yokoyama, MD, St. Luke's University Health Network, Bethlehem, PA

Elaine W. Raines Early Career Investigator Award
Sponsored by the Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology (ATVB)

  • Mark C. Blaser, PhD, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA
  • Henry S. Cheng, PhD, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA
  • Fang Li, PhD, Columbia University Irving Medical Center, New York, NY
  • Tanmay Mathur, MS, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

Elizabeth Barrett-Connor Research Award for Early Career Investigators in Training
Sponsored by the Council on Epidemiology and Prevention (EPI)

  • Utibe R. Essien, MD, MPH, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Avirup Guha, MBBS, MPH, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH
  • Nicholas Marston, MD, MPH, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA
  • Amgad Mentias, MD, MS, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, OH
  • Nilay S. Shah, MD, MPH, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL

Genomic and Precision Medicine Early Career Investigator Award
Sponsored by the Council on Genomic and Precision Medicine (GPM)

  • Kevin A. Friede, MD, Duke University, Durham, NC
  • Michael G. Levin, MD, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
  • Kazuo Miyazawa, MD, PhD, RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences, Saitama, Japan
  • Seyedeh Maryam Zekavat, MD, PhD, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT

Jay D. Coffman Early Career Investigator Award
Sponsored by the Council on Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD)

  • Mohsin Chowdhury, MD, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA
  • Jordan K. Schaefer, MD, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

Laennec Fellow in Training (FIT) Clinician Award
Sponsored by the Council on Clinical Cardiology (CLCD)

  • Charlotte Andersson, MD, PhD, FAHA, Boston Medical Center, Boston, MA
  • Vanessa Blumer, MD, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC
  • Lee Bockus, MD, PhD, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
  • Megan M. McLaughlin, MD, MPH, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
  • Inbar Raber, MD, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA

Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Early Career Investigator Award
Sponsored by the Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health

  • Yoriko Heianza, PhD, MS, RD, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA
  • Evangelos K. Oikonomou, MD, DPhil, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT
  • Matthew W. Segar, MD, MS, UT Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, TX

Louis N. and Arnold M. Katz Basic Science Research Prize for Early Career Investigators
Sponsored by the Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences (BCVS)

  • Paul Cheng, MD, PhD, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
  • David Y. Chiang, MD, PhD, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA
  • Barbara Gonzalez Teran, PhD, Gladstone Institutes, San Francisco, CA
  • Yuri Kim, MD, PhD, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA

Martha N. Hill Early Career Investigator Award
Sponsored by the Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing (CVSN)

  • Martha Abshire Saylor, PhD, RN, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, Boston, MA
  • Angela Durante, PhD, MSN, RN University of Rome "Tor Vergata", Rome, Italy

Melvin Judkins Early Career Clinical Investigator Award
Sponsored by the Council on Cardiovascular Radiology and Intervention (CVRI)

  • Matthew K. Burrage, MBBS, University of Oxford, Oxford, England
  • Amrit Chowdhary, MBBS, MSc, MRCP, University of Leeds, Leeds, England
  • Hashrul N. Rashid, MBBS (Hons), MRCP (UK), Monash Health, Victoria, Australia
  • Valery L. Turner, MD, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA
  • William Watson, MBBChir, University of Oxford, Oxford, England

Melvin L. Marcus Early Career Investigator Award in Cardiovascular Sciences
Sponsored by the Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences (BCVS)

  • Daniel J. Blackwell, PhD, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN
  • Toshiyuki Ko, MD, PhD, The University of Tokyo Hospital, Tokyo, Japan
  • Jason D. Roh, MD, MHS, Massachusetts General Hospital/ Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA
  • Yang Zhou, PhD, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
  • Han Zhu, MD, Stanford University, Stanford, CA

Samuel A. Levine Early Career Clinical Investigator Award
Sponsored by the Council on Clinical Cardiology (CLCD)

  • Neel M. Butala, MD, MBA, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA
  • Shaan Khurshid, MD, MPH, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA
  • James P. MacNamara, MD, MSc, UT Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, TX
  • Ambarish Pandey, MD, MSCS, UT Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, TX

Vivien Thomas Early Career Investigator Award
Sponsored by the Council on Cardiovascular Surgery and Anesthesia (CVSA)

  • Awais Ashfaq, MS, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA
  • Yuanjia Zhu, MD, MS, Stanford University, Stanford, CA

Young Hearts Early Career Investigator Award
Sponsored by Council on Lifelong Congenital Heart Disease and Heart Health in the Young (Young Hearts)

  • Amee Bigelow, MD, MS, Nationwide Children's Hospital/The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
  • Mansi Gaitonde, MD, Emory University, Atlanta, GA

Overview of Scientific Sessions for FITs and How FITs Can Be Involved in the AHA

Dr. Anum Saeed is a Postdoctoral Research Associate and Clinical Instructor at the University of Pittsburgh. She is the senior co-chair for the AHA FIT programming subcommittee. Having been a central part of the AHA FIT Programming subcommittee since 2018, she is excited to share the programming content for the FIT at the virtual AHA Scientific Sessions 2021 - with live programming, FIT panelists and guest FIT moderators and several new topics of discussion - for the FIT, by the FIT!

Dr. Aubrey Grant is a third year cardiology fellow at MedStar Washington Hospital Center/ Georgetown University Hospital who will be pursuing an advanced fellowship in sports cardiology at Massachusetts General Hospital. In addition to sports cardiology, he is passionate about diversity, equity and inclusion and he incorporates this into his practice and mentorship. He serves as co-chair for the AHA FIT programming subcommittee.

Dr. Tsion Aberra is a second year cardiology fellow at MedStar Washington Hospital Center/ Georgetown University Hospital. She is most passionate about prevention and cardiovascular imaging. She is currently a member of the AHA FIT programming committee and also serves as co-editor of the AHA FIT newsletter.

FIT Lounge Events During Scientific Sessions

Sasha Prisco, MD, PhD
Cardiology Fellow, Physician-Scientist Training Program
University of Minnesota

On behalf of the Fellows-in-Training (FIT) Programming Committee, we are excited to share all the live FIT lounge events at this year’s upcoming AHA Scientific Sessions! Since very few sessions will be live during this year’s virtual Scientific Sessions, we hope that you can join us for camaraderie and networking!

To find the Zoom links for these events, please check the main AHA Scientific Sessions site.

Saturday, 11/13/21

9:30 AM ET: Navigating Parenthood During Fellowship
Panelists: Drs. Kathryn Berlacher, Lauren Fournier, Ashwin Murthy, Hena Patel, and Sheila Sahni
Moderators: Drs. Michael Brener and Sasha Prisco

10:30 AM ET: Social Media in Cardiology - Navigating Misinformation as FITs
Panelists: Drs. Virginia Bartlett, Danielle Belardo, Amit Goyal, and Martha Gulati
Moderators: Drs. Sasha Prisco and Christina Rodriguez Ruiz

11:30 AM ET: Matching Into Cardiology Fellowship: The Inside Scoop From Program Directors and AHA FITs
Panelists: Drs. Carlos Alfonso, Naomi Botkin, Melvin Echols, Salim Virani, and Eric Yang
Moderators: Drs. Aubrey Grant and Agnes Koczo

Sunday, 11/14/21

8:15 AM ET: Finding Ikigai: Wellness in Cardiovascular Medicine
Panelists: Drs. Laxmi Mehta, Erin Michos, Andrew Sauer, and Michael Shapiro
Moderators: Drs. Tsion Aberra and Suvasini Lakshmanan

9 AM ET: Does One Size Fit All?: Finding the Right Mentor, Sponsor, & Coach
Panelists: Drs. Michael Honigberg, Nasrien Ibrahim, Pradeep Natarajan, and Annabelle Volgman
Moderators: Drs. Zakaria Almuwaqqat and Suvasini Lakshmanan

10 AM ET: Creating an Equitable Future in Cardiovascular Medicine
Panelists: Drs. Sharonne Hayes, Nasrien Ibrahim, Adedapo Iluyomade, Modele Ogunniyi, and Clyde Yancy
Moderator: Dr. Aubrey Grant

3 PM ET: Developing Your Career in Pediatric Cardiology
Panelists: Drs. Kiona Allen, Antonio Cabrera, Britton Keeshan, and Shelley Miyamoto
Moderators: Drs. Pina Patel and Francesca Sperotto

4 PM ET: Updates in Stroke: Careers & Future Directions in Vascular Neurology
Panelists: Drs. Ashutosh Jadhav, Louise McCullough, Anjail Sharrief, and Alicia Zha
Moderator: Dr. Lauren Fournier

Monday, 11/15/21

8:15 AM ET: Becoming an Innovator: Careers in Health Tech
Panelists: Drs. Daniel Ambinder, Alexis Beatty, Seth Martin, and Campbell Rogers
Moderators: Drs. Michael Brener and Khurrum Khan

9 AM ET: Blank Page to Center Stage: Tips for Scientific Writing & a Successful Research Career
Panelists: Drs. Sana Al-Khatib, Christie Ballantyne, Emelia Benjamin, Hanna Gaggin, and Arya Mani
Moderators: Drs. Anum Saeed and Francesca Sperotto

10 AM ET: Into the Unknown: Transitioning to Your Next Career Stage
Panelists: Drs. Jeffrey Hsu, Ahmad Masri, Ann Marie Navar, Rushi Parikh, and Nosheen Reza
Moderators: Drs. Tsion Aberra and Khurrum Khan

11 AM ET: Learning From Journal Editors - What They Are Looking For? How to Publish? Opportunities for FIT's to Be Involved
Panelists: Drs. Vanessa Blumer, Joseph Hill, Barry London, and Svati Shah
Moderators: Drs. Zakaria Almuwaqqat and Suvasini Lakshmanan

Late-Breaking Clinical Trials at Scientific Sessions

Zakaria Almuwaqqat, MD
Cardiology Fellow, PGY-6
Division of Cardiology, Emory School of Medicine

While we look forward to the AHA Scientific Sessions, we as fellows are particularly excited to see the fascinating science coming out of the major trials in the Late-Breaking Science sessions. The first session will be focused on invasive cardiology studies. On Saturday 11/13 at 9:30 AM ET, the first LBS session will explore four main trials: the utility of aortic valve replacement in patients with asymptomatic aortic stenosis will be presented in the AVATAR trial. While the RAPID CABG trial will present data comparing early versus standard coronary artery bypass surgery among patients presenting with acute coronary syndromes treated with Ticagrelor. Moreover, we look forward to receiving updates from the VEST Trial regarding the efficacy and safety of an external support device for saphenous vein coronary bypass grafts. Finally, we also look forward to seeing data regarding the benefit of concomitant tricuspid repair during mitral valve surgery. The second session will be presented in the same day at 3:00 PM ET and will feature results from the China Rural Hypertension Control Project (CRHCP): a cluster randomized trial of a village doctor-led intervention on blood pressure control. Additionally, a study of a remotely delivered hypertension and lipid program in 10,000 patients across a diverse health care network will be presented. Finally, results from 24 U.S. Health Systems in the PCORnet Blood Pressure Control Laboratory (BP Track) evaluating disruption in Blood Pressure Control with the COVID-19 Pandemic will be presented.

AHA Fellows in Training Newsletter Editorial Team

Editors in Chief:

Tsion Aberra, MD
Georgetown University/Medstar Washington Hospital Center, Washington DC

Zakaria Almuwaqqat, MD
Emory School of Medicine, Atlanta, GA

Sasha Prisco, MD, PhD
University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

Immediate Past Editors/Advisors:

Aubrey J Grant, MD
Georgetown University/Medstar Washington Hospital Center, Washington DC

Anum Saeed, MD
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA

AHA Liaison/Senior Contact:

Eddie Pan

Newsletter Contact:

ahafellows@heart.org