The Pulse of ACC

Congratulations to the 2023 ACC/ABC Merck Research Fellowship Awardees

Congratulations to the 2023 ACC/ABC Merck Research Fellowship Awardees

The ACC has announced the recipients of the 2023 ACC/ABC Merck Research Fellowship Awards. The three young scientists will join the nearly 200 clinicians who have been awarded this distinguished fellowship over the course of the last four decades.

ACC's long-standing partnership with Merck – spanning more than 40 years – is designed to equip up-and-coming cardiovascular investigators with the resources they need to further cardiology in their communities through the pursuit of innovative research ideas.

Each awardee will receive $100,000 to support one year of research. In addition, they will be recognized during Convocation at ACC.24 in Atlanta, GA, alongside other awardees and honorees of the College.

To learn more about the ACC/ABC Merck Research Fellowship Award and the College's commitment to the future of cardiology, visit

Congratulations to:

Colette DeJong, MD Colette DeJong, MD
University of California-San Francisco
San Francisco, CA
Dennis Narcisse, MD, MS Dennis Narcisse, MD, MS
Duke University Medical Center
Durham, NC
Xiaowen Wang, MD,MPH Xiaowen Wang, MD,MPH
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Boston, MA

Educating Current and Future CV Business Leaders

Building off the successful Cardiovascular Business and Management Essentials Program, now in its third cohort, MedAxiom and Wharton are expanding their audience to include Fellows with a newly designed business program catered to the needs of future cardiovascular business leaders.

The new Business Essentials for Cardiovascular Fellows program will help learners master the fundamentals of health care economics, operations and financial reporting, service management and leadership skills using a self-paced online learning model that employs videos, quizzes and other activities. Enrollment for the first cohort is open through Oct. 13.

Meanwhile, 50 cardiovascular professionals and clinicians successfully completed the second cohort of Cardiovascular Business and Management Essentials Program, building a growing cadre of graduates with skills to transform cardiovascular care in an ever-evolving health care environment.

Click here to see the complete list of graduates from the second cohort and to learn more about both programs and register.

Partnering to Transform Cardiovascular Care

Partnering to Transform Cardiovascular Care

Transforming cardiovascular care for all can't be done alone. To that end, strategic collaborations, including two new efforts announced by the College this fall, are critical to ensuring clinicians and patients have access to resources and tools that can help optimize care and outcomes.

A new "Driving Urgency in LDL Screening" campaign, in collaboration with Amgen and Esperion, aims to increase the rate of diagnostic LDL screening in patients without a prior cardiac event as well as those with known cardiovascular disease by helping clinicians identify those who need treatment in accordance with medical guidelines.

"The current reality is that not enough patients are getting screened for elevated LDL – this is especially alarming for those who have established ASCVD," said Paul Burton, MD, PhD, senior vice president and chief medical officer at Amgen. "We see health care providers as a critical part of the solution but recognize that a shift of this scale requires assistance. We are proud to have joined forces with the ACC and Esperion on this collaborative effort to increase doctor-directed screening and, ultimately, helping to improve cardiovascular care and patient outcomes."

The national campaign is anticipated to reach about 30,000 primary care providers and cardiologists, through which ACC will assess current levels of LDL screening in their primary/secondary prevention ASCVD patients, test the implementation of various education/awareness messages among clinicians, and observe changes in the rate of LDL screening and treatment in the cohort over the course of a 12-month intervention.

"Despite all we know about the importance of LDL-C goal attainment, only 27% of high-risk individuals achieve their recommended LDL-C level. Only with a national, multi-stakeholder program of this caliber will we be able to address these significant gaps, improve access to high quality care for all, and improve cardiovascular outcomes," said JoAnne Foody, MD, FACC, chief medical officer at Esperion.

The program will be guided by an independent ACC physician steering committee and program participants will be provided with easy access to supporting resources such as relevant clinical guidance, the ACC's ASCVD Risk Estimator and CardioSmart patient education materials. The delivery of the program will be powered by Clint, the clinical intelligence platform. In addition, a comprehensive awareness and educational communication campaign about the program will be implemented in Veradigm's Practice Fusion EHR at the point of care.

In a separate collaboration, the ACC is collaborating with Hims & Hers Health, Inc. on efforts to support providers in personalizing sexual health treatment for men that also supports cardiovascular health.

The Heart Health by Hims approach will use clinical protocols that are based on principles of the ACC's ASCVD Risk Estimator, as well as allow Hims & Hers Health customers access to cardiovascular health resources and education materials through CardioSmart.

"Prevention is the ideal mechanism to decrease cardiovascular events and ensure optimal heart health and requires an infrastructure for screening individuals and empowering them to actively reduce risk factors like cholesterol levels before heart disease develops," said ACC Chief Innovation Officer Ami Bhatt, MD, FACC. "By integrating ACC clinical guidance, tools and resources into Hims' protocols, there is an opportunity to identify at-risk patients and increase patient education, lifestyle modification, initiation of appropriate preventive therapy and improve medication adherence.

In Memoriam: Elden Rand, MD, FACC

Elden Rand, MD, FACC

Elden Rand, MD, FACC, immediate past governor of the ACC South Dakota Chapter passed away on Sept. 1 from cancer. Colleagues who knew him through his work and leadership at the ACC, note his ready smile, humor, humility, curiosity, brilliance and steadfast loyalty.

Rand proudly served in the US Military for 28 years. His service included the South Dakota Air National Guard: 114th Fighter Wing (1988-1996); the US Army (1997-2011); and the Air National Guard 185th Air Refueling Wing (Retired in 2018). During his time in the Army, Rand was stationed in Texas serving at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio and William Beaumont Army Medical Center in El Paso. He also completed two deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Returning to South Dakota in 2011, Rand took his advanced imaging cardiology skills to North Central Heart Institute and Avera Heart Hospital in Sioux Falls, as well as the ACC South Dakota Chapter. He was also a long-time supporter and leader of ACC advocacy and an ACC HeartPAC Founder's Club member. He is survived by his wife Wendy and his two daughters, Maddie and Sophia.

"Elden was truly an exceptional person in his warmth, intellect, clinical knowledge, and above all humor," said ACC Board of Governors Chair Nicole Lohr, MD, FACC. "In every meeting or encounter, I could look forward to great conversation, lots of laughs, and walk away with more imaging knowledge than I had before. He will be deeply missed."

Keywords: ACC Publications, Cardiology Magazine, Awards and Prizes, Leadership, Research

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