The AHA and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Harold Amos Medical Faculty Development Program are partnering to increase diversity in the fields of cardiology and stroke.
Together, they’re providing four-year postdoctoral research awards to physicians from historically disadvantaged backgrounds.
“Our program aims to address the unmet needs of underrepresented minority physician-scientists in academia,” said David Wilkes, MD, program director of the AMFDP. “To have a partnership with a highly visible, effective organization such as the AHA helps us expand the mission and vision of the Amos Medical Faculty Development Program.”
Award recipients participate in intensive mentoring programs and leadership-development training to help them achieve senior rank in academic medicine, dentistry or nursing. They’re also expected to be role models for students and faculty of similar backgrounds.
“This creates a ripple effect, which will support our ‘culture of health’ goal into the future,” Wilkes said.
Gregory Payne, MD, PhD, a University of Alabama-Birmingham research fellow studying the extracellular matrix, recently received an AHA-AMFDP award.
“Support from the AHA and AMFDP will provide outstanding financial and professional assistance for my early career development, and I anticipate that it will expose me to some of the most impactful leaders in medicine,” Payne said. “I have no doubt this award will accelerate my growth as a physician-scientist and leader in cardiology.”
Payne is studying how remodeling of the extracellular matrix contributes to inflammation in several cardiovascular diseases. His research team recently identified a bioactive extracellular matrix fragment that may be a mediator of vascular inflammation and acute cardiac transplant rejection.
“Support from the AHA-AMFDP will allow us to further investigate how these fragments contribute to cardiac transplant graft failure, as well as explore how the ECM may directly contribute to cardiovascular disease,” Payne said.
The AHA-AMFDP partnership also funded Marwah Abdalla, MD, MPH, assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University Medical Center in New York. Abdalla is the director of education for the cardiac intensive care unit and a clinical cardiologist in the Center for Behavioral Cardiovascular Health at Columbia University. Her research focuses on cardiovascular manifestations of hypertension.