The overall goal of the National Institute on Aging's (NIA) Grants for Early Medical and Surgical Subspecialists' Transition to Aging Research (GEMSSTAR) program is to provide support for early career physician-scientists trained in medical or surgical specialties and early career dentist-scientists to launch careers as future leaders in aging- or geriatric-focused research. The GEMSSTAR, a R03 award, is targeted to early faculty members who have recently completed their medical, surgical, or dental training in any specialty or discipline and are embarking on a career in clinical aging research in their specialty area. The award is intended to offer support in a particularly vulnerable time in a new clinical faculty member's career.
With generous support from the George F. and Ann Harris Bellows Foundation, the ACC is able to support one GEMSSTAR Awardee in cardiology, annually. The Research Work Group selects the best cardiology applicant to receive the Bellows funding to support their professional development plan. Benjamin S. Wessler, MD is currently the ACCF/George F. and Ann Harris Bellows Foundation GEMSSTAR Awardee. The $50,000 of funding support received from the Bellows Foundation will cover the costs of Dr. Wessler's Professional Development Plan which allowed him to receive the National Institute of Aging GEMSSTAR award in cardiology for the 2017 – 2019.
Dr. Benjamin Wessler is Director of the Valve Center at Tufts Medical Center and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine. In his clinical role, Dr. Wessler evaluates patients with complex valvular heart disease and regularly sees patients as part of the transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) Heart Team. Dr. Wessler's research home is with the Predictive Analytics and Comparative Effectiveness (PACE) Center at Tufts. His research there focuses on understanding the therapeutic benefit of cardiovascular interventions and exploring risk predictions for patients with cardiovascular disease, with specific attention to applying tools to individualize the use of a variety of interventions. Dr. Wessler is also Co-Founder, Medical Ethics Club, Tufts University School of Medicine and a past Board Member, Sharewood Project Free Clinic, Tufts University School of Medicine and Facilitator, Problem Based Learning, Tufts University School of Medicine. Dr. Wessler's CV is attached.
Dr. Wessler received a BA from Middlebury College (Biochemistry), a MS from Sackler Graduate School at Tufts University (Clinical and Translational Science) and a MD from Tufts University School of Medicine (Internal Medicine).
Funded by the Association of Specialty Professors (ASP) in 2014, this project involved the deployment of an online version of an established tool for Comprehensive Geriatric Assessment (CGA) - to broaden insights regarding dynamics pertinent to CV outcomes. CGA data was collected by FITs and served to enhance their training as geriatric cardiologists and reinforce their commitment to the field.
Overall goals of the project were multifold: (1) to demonstrate that we could deploy and use a systematic interview designed to enhance clinical, teaching and research approaches to understand the quality of life needs of older patients on the ACC patient portal (www.CardioSmart.org); (2) to facilitate the performance of CGAs by FITs for training purposes (10 evaluations by 50 FITs representing programs throughout the U.S.); and (3) to begin the development of a dataset that characterizes multiple domains relevant to the health, function and well-being of older adults with CVD, which we will become an essential part of NCDR.
Funded by the Association of Specialty Professors in 2015, this two-year project was a multicenter prospective randomized clinical trial testing the hypothesis that a patient-centered actigraphy intervention will result in increased physical activity for frail older adults increase during the critical first 30 days after a cardiovascular hospitalization.
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