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2017 Distinguished Scientist -
Mary M. McDermott, MD, FAHA

Mary M. McDermott, MD, FAHAMary M. McDermott, MD, FAHA
Jeremiah Stamler Professor of Medicine and Preventive Medicine
Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Chicago, Ill.

Dr. McDermott is a leading clinician investigator studying lower extremity peripheral artery disease (PAD). Traditionally, the natural history of lower extremity outcomes in people with PAD and intermittent claudication was considered ‘benign’, because most people with PAD do not develop critical limb ischemia or worsening leg symptoms. Using a prospective study design with systematic assessment of objectively measured walking performance over time, Dr. McDermott’s investigative team demonstrated that people with PAD have greater functional impairment and faster functional decline than people without PAD.

Dr. McDermott’s investigative team also demonstrated that most people with PAD do not have classical symptoms of intermittent claudication and that even people with asymptomatic PAD have greater functional impairment and faster functional decline than people without PAD. Dr. McDermott was the first investigator to report that supervised treadmill exercise improves walking ability among PAD participants who are asymptomatic or who have atypical leg symptoms. Her work has established the presence and importance of ischemic calf muscle damage in PAD.

More recently, Dr. McDermott has led randomized clinical trials to identify innovative therapies to improve functional performance and prevent mobility loss in people with PAD. Dr. McDermott’s investigative team is currently studying interventions including Granulocyte-Macrophage Colony Stimulating Factor (GM-CSF), telmisartan, home-based exercise, metformin, and epicatechin-rich cocoa to improve functional performance and other outcomes in people with PAD.

Dr. McDermott has received multiple national awards including an Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association. In 2013 she was named Master in the Society of Vascular Medicine for “outstanding contributions to vascular medicine”. Between 2011 and 2013, Dr. McDermott served as chair of the peripheral vascular disease council for the AHA. She is an elected member of the American Society of Clinical Investigation and the Association of American Physicians. She is a Senior Editor for JAMA.