Boston, NYC physicians to receive Joseph A. Vita Award at Scientific Sessions

The American Heart Association has recognized two physicians, one from New York City and one from Boston, for their impact on the field of cardiovascular biology and health during the last five years.

Dr. Hooman Kamel, of Weill Cornell Medicine, and Dr. Robert W. Yeh, of Harvard Medical School, were named the 2020 Joseph A. Vita Award recipients at Scientific Sessions 2020. The award is given annually in honor of the late cardiovascular scientist Dr. Joseph A. Vita, a founding editor of Open Access Journal of the American Heart Association.

American Heart Association President Dr. Mitchell S.V. Elkind praised Drs. Kamel and Yeh for advancing the understanding of cardiovascular disease. He singled out Dr. Kamel’s research on atrial dysfunction and atrial fibrillation for shedding light on the causes of unexplained stroke. He praised Dr. Yeh’s work in influencing clinical processes, research procedure and health care policy

“We applaud their efforts that have provided continued advances in cardiovascular care,” said Dr. Elkind

Scientific Sessions will be held virtually from Friday, Nov. 13, to Tuesday, Nov. 17. The annual event showcases the latest in cardiovascular science.

Dr. Kamel is the vice chair for research in the department of neurology and the director of the clinical and translational neuroscience unit in the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City. His research found that people with atrial dysfunction have an increased risk of stroke even in the absence of atrial fibrillation, contributing to the concept of atrial cardiopathy.

Additionally, his study of racial-ethnic differences among those with atrial cardiopathy found that although atrial fibrillation may be less common in Black people, they have greater evidence of other biomarkers for atrial cardiopathy.

In accepting his award, Dr. Kamel credited his mentors for making him “realize clinicians can improve clinical care by helping advance science.”

“Receiving this award will further motivate me to contribute to the American Heart Association’s mission to be a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives, and to live up to Dr. Vita’s standards of scientific excellence,” he said.

Dr. Yeh is director of the Smith Center for Outcomes Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the Katz-Silver Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, both in Boston.

The Vita award recognizes his work in clinical interventional cardiology, risk modeling and cardiovascular health care policy that has influenced clinical care and governmental initiatives to improve patient care.

“The work of my colleagues and I…is driven by the desire to improve how we deliver cardiovascular care, to understand the areas where we do it well and the areas we can improve, and to help identify specific ways to do better,” said Dr. Yeh. “This honor inspires me to continue Dr. Vita’s legacy of scholarship, mentorship and professionalism in cardiovascular research.”

Dr. Kamel receive his undergraduate degree from Harvard University and his medical degree at Columbia University. Dr. Yeh attended Stanford University for his undergraduate studies, and then earned his master’s in health policy from the University of London and a master’s degree in business administration from Oxford University. He completed his medical degree at Harvard Medical School.