Investigative Training and Mentored Research

A major component of the Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship is the Career Mentorship Program (CMP). After two clinical years of fellowship, cardiology fellows work with a specific scientific mentor learning the tools of investigation across a broad range of research areas. However, our structured CMP begins early and progresses over the training years to help fellows refine career goals, training needs and investigative skill sets. The CMP starts from the very beginning of fellowship, with the identification of longitudinal mentors for each fellow to help with career development and scholarly pursuits. Fellows are matched to specific mentors based on their clinical and research interests. The goal is to foster the exploration of different potential career trajectories with recurrent opportunities for structured mentorship and feedback from program leadership. Second year fellows then identify a research mentor to work with and together develop an investigative plan and career development plan with their mentor. The fellow and mentor then present their proposal to program leadership to receive feedback and identify opportunities for tailored and individualized training, thus creating a clear roadmap for scholarly activities in the 3rd (and subsequent) years of fellowship. Routine meetings including semi-annual presentations to program leadership in the 3rd (and subsequent) years help to further guide scholarly training.

Our areas of research and expertise are broad and include: cardiac physiology and disease, vascular biology and metabolism, genetics, chemical biology and therapeutics, development and regeneration, computational biology, cardiovascular epidemiology, molecular biology, outcomes research, and clinical trials. Our cardiology fellows have been mentored by on-site faculty as well as offsite faculty at allied institutions across Boston. Faculty are often affiliated with the Mass General Cardiology Division, Cardiovascular Research Center, or the Center for Genomic Medicine at Mass General. Successful mentorship has also come from faculty mentors at BWH, Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health, MIT, the Broad Institute, the Framingham Heart Study, the Baim Institute for Clinical Research, and others.

In addition, many other resources exist to provide opportunities for the development of non-clinical skills. We have an institutional training grant providing support for up to two years of additional training with a large number of cardiovascular investigators affiliated with the Cardiovascular Research Center. Through the CVRC, fellows have opportunities to present their research at recurrent seminars, and to participate in a core curriculum focused on scientific and investigative skill development.

Fellows interested in clinical research may also choose to pursue structured training in research methodology, bioinformatics and biostatistics at the Harvard School of Public Health. Recent fellows have participated in the following structured coursework:

Commitment to Our Local Communities

Our fellows have the opportunities to serve both our local and global communities to improve cardiovascular health. Locally, fellows have led initiatives in neighborhoods including Chelsea to expand advanced heart failure care in these communities. Volunteer opportunities in local high schools for mentorship, in addition to local community based blood pressure clinics.  Additionally fellows volunteer through the Revere community volunteer network.

Health Equity in Cardiovascular Training

Our fellowship is committed to training compassionate academic leaders with deep passion for eliminating inequities in cardiovascular health. All fellows participate in annual Implicit Bias training with common cardiovascular specific cases examples. All Core Lecturer faculty speakers are asked to incorporate content that highlight available data pertaining to gender, racial or ethnic disparities within the topic area that is being presented. Two of our fellows, Dr. Janet Ma and Dr. Jason Sherer,  created a podcast to discuss disparities in cardiology today entitled Redefining the Rhythm, where they intervene many of our own fellows and faculty and diverse trainees and faculty across our region to spark discussion around how we can do better. Learn more about Redefining the Rhythm here.

Dr. Malissa Wood, Associate Chief of Diversity Equity and Inclusion, mentors or supporting fellow and faculty members in all DEI efforts. The fellowship has invested in fellow ideas and projects around equity as noted below in Fellow Pilot Awards section

Additionally, our fellows have been engaged in community outreach programs and local community-based blood pressure screening programs.

Global Cardiology at Mass General 

There are numerous opportunities for global work during advanced cardiovascular training years, and the Mass General Center for Global Health offers a multitude of experiences for trainees including clinical work, research and innovation, education, and humanitarian work and access numerous global partnerships.

Dr. Njambi Mathenge recently completed the Fogarty Global Cardiology Fellowship during her fourth year of cardiovascular training and developed a critical initiative in Kenya to mobile resources to local rural hospitals, better connect these hospitals with larger referral centers, and expedite STEMI care for many in Kenya. She is leading an educational initiative entitled AfricaSTEMI to bring cardiologists together in Kenya around improving STEMI care.

Dr. Leon Ptasek’s global work in Rwanda includes on site and remote educating and mentoring local cardiologist in principles in electrophysiology. Additional faculty opportunities exist for fellows to travel to Aswan, Egypt through a partnership with our cardiac surgery program and Aswan Heart Centre.

Fellows will soon have the opportunity to participate in mission work in Milot, Haiti’s at Hopital Sacre Coeur cardiovascular clinic with Dr. Carl Turissini

Fellow Pilot Awards 

Our program is committed to investing in our fellows’ innovative ideas. This past year through philanthropic award to the fellowship, our program was able to award several fellows’ innovative project ideas.