South Asians are underrepresented in studies of cardiovascular health, yet they face greater risks of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure.
To bring this community’s health to the forefront, the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women campaign in Boston launched a webinar series called A Conversation From the Heart. The conversations are moderated by Dr. Ami Bhatt, the director of outpatient cardiology at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor at Harvard Medical School.
The next webinar will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m. It will feature a conversation with Dr. Kaavya Paruchuri, a cardiologist at the Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Center within the Division of Cardiology at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Dr. Paruchuri’s clinical interests include general cardiology, cardiovascular prevention and cardiovascular rehabilitation. Her academic goals focus on utilizing genomic and digital biomarkers to improve cardiovascular disease risk prediction and prevention. To this end, she has been involved in several studies examining smartphone applications, wearable monitors and comprehensive disease management platforms.
She is involved with cardiovascular genomics research within several different biobanks including the Mass General Brigham Biobank, UK Biobank and the Million Veteran Project. Additionally, she serves as a telemedicine innovator within the MGH Division of Cardiology to optimize virtual care delivery protocols and improve patient care.
August Webinar with Dr. Nilay Shah
The August webinar featured Dr. Nilay Shah, an assistant professor of cardiology and preventive medicine, and practicing general and preventive cardiologist in the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern University. Dr. Shah’s research focuses on identifying disparities in and adapting interventions to prevent cardiovascular diseases in South Asian populations, with particular attention to earlier-life cardiovascular disease prevention.
June Webinar with Dr. Darshan Doshi
The tenth webinar in the From the Heart series was held on June 1 and featured Dr. Darshan Doshi, an interventional cardiologist at the Massachusetts General Hospital who specializes in complex and high-risk coronary interventions. He discussed percutaneous coronary intervention and coronary artery disease in South Asians.
May Webinar on India’s COVID-19 Crisis
The ninth webinar in the From the Heart series was held on May 4 and focused on India’s coronavirus crisis. A panel of physicians discussed the deadly second wave of coronavirus infections currently devastating India. The panel featured Dr. Rajesh Tim Gandhi, Dr. Ankur Kalra, Dr. Ajay Kirtane, Dr. Neil Maniar, Dr. Madhav and Ratna Swaminathan and Dr. Ritu Thamman.
April Webinar with Dr. Roosha Parikh
The eighth webinar in the From the Heart series was held on April 6 and featured a conversation with Dr. Roosha Parikh, an advanced imaging cardiologist at St Francis Hospital and Heart Center in Roslyn, New York. Dr. Parikh specializes in advanced echocardiography, cardiac CT, cardiac MRI and nuclear cardiology. She is passionate about cost effective testing, quality improvement and helping chose the right testing modality for the right patient.
She has received several academic and research awards during her training including a Women in Cardiology Trainee award for excellence from the American Heart Association and a Young Investigator Award from the American Association of Cardiologists of Indian Origin for her research on aortic stenosis.
She is also a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and social media ambassador for the Society of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance. You can connect with her on Twitter (@rooshaparikh), Instagram (@rooshap) and LinkedIn (roosha-parikh).
March Webinar with Dr. Kevin S. Shah
The seventh webinar in the From the Heart series was held on March 2 and featured a conversation with with Dr. Kevin S. Shah, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Utah and a heart failure and transplant cardiologist. His presentation was titled “Hypertension in South Asians: Recognizing and Managing High Blood Pressure.”
Dr. Shah’s research interests include disparities in cardiovascular health and the interaction between COVID-19 and the cardiovascular system. Early in his career, he has served in leadership roles including as the AHA/ACC Writing Committee Co-Chair on Key Terms and Definitions for Race and Ethnic Categorization in Cardiovascular Clinical Research and on the HFSA Publications and Scientific Statements Committee.
Additionally, he has won awards including House Officer of the Year and William W. Parmley Young Author Achievement Award from the Journal of American College of Cardiology. He was also a co-author on the 2018 American Heart Association Scientific Statement: Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease in South Asians in the United States.
February Webinar with Dr. Amit V. Khera and Dr. Aniruddh Patel
The sixth webinar in the From the Heart Series was held on Feb. 2 and featured a conversation with Dr. Amit V. Khera and Dr. Aniruddh Patel. Their presentation was titled “Why do South Asians suffer from cardiovascular disease at such high rates — genetics or the jalebi?”
Dr. Khera is a cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital, associate director of the Precision Medicine Unit in the MGH Center for Genomic Medicine, and associate director of the Cardiovascular Disease Initiative and Merkin Institute Fellow at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, and assistant professor at Harvard Medical School.
He has developed expertise in epidemiology, clinical medicine and human genetics. Among his scientific contributions, he pioneered use of a new approach to quantify genetic risk (‘genome-wide polygenic scores’) for common diseases, developed biomarkers that provide new biologic insights, and analyzed large-scale gene sequencing data to highlight key pathways driving risk for cardiometabolic disease.
Dr. Patel is is a Massachusetts General Hospital cardiology fellow focused on multi-modal cardiovascular risk prediction. His previous research experience includes training in human genetics with Dr. Sekar Kathiresan, supported by a Sarnoff Cardiovascular Research Foundation fellowship. A key research contribution during this period of training was an analysis of rare variants associated with plasma lipid levels in a population of 130,000 individuals, and targeted sequencing of genes in individuals with extremely high or low lipid levels.
His current research focuses on integrating genetics, biomarkers, and racial/ethnicity into disease prediction, with a particular interests in understanding cardiovascular risk among South Asian individuals.
January Webinar with Dr. Krishna Aragam
The fifth webinar in the From the Heart Series was held on Jan. 5 and featured a conversation with Dr. Krishna Aragam, a cardiologist and cardiovascular geneticist at the Massachusetts General Hospital and a member of the Cardiovascular Disease Initiative at the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT. Dr. Aragam’s presenation — “COVID-19 Prevention, Vaccine, Cardiac Effects and Allergies” — focused on the relationship between COVID-19 and the heart.
Dr. Aragam’s research focuses on understanding the genetic determinants of cardiovascular diseases with an emphasis on coronary artery disease and heart failure. In addition, he investigates the implementation of population genetic data to inform primary and secondary cardiovascular prevention.
Complementing his research efforts, Dr. Aragam is a core faculty member within the MGH Cardiovascular Genetics Program and the MGH Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Center, and directs the clinical management of patients and family members with a confirmed or suspected genetic predisposition to myocardial infarction and/or cardiomyopathy.
December Webinar with Dr. Darshan Mehta
The fourth webinar in the From the Heart series was held on Dec. 1 and featured a conversation with Dr. Darshan Mehta focused on stress management and heart disease.
Dr. Mehta is an assistant professor in medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is also the director of education for the Osher Center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, medical director of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, and interim director for the Office for Well-Being with the Center for Faculty Development at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Dr. Mehta’s educational and research interests include curricular development in complementary and integrative medical therapies, mind/body educational interventions in health professions training and promotion of professionalism in medical trainees.
November Webinar with Dr. Poonam Velagapudi
The third webinar in the From the Heart series was held on Nov. 10 and featured a conversation with Dr. Poonam Velagapudi focused on heart attacks among South Asians.
Dr. Velagapudi is a structural interventional cardiologist, assistant professor of medicine and associate program director for cardiovascular medicine fellowship at the University of Nebraska.
She is a proponent of using social media for fostering education in cardiology and serves as a social media editor for JACC: Cardiovascular Interventions journal and is an early career correspondent for ACC ACCEL Audio. She is also an associate editor for the European Heart Journal – Case Reports journal.
She is also a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, chair of the ACC Early Career Section, past chair of the ACC Fellows in Training Section, and co-chair of the SCAI Educational Committee.
October Webinar with Dr. Namratha Kandula
The second webinar in the From the Heart series was held on Oct. 6 and featured a conversation with Dr. Namratha Kandula. She talked about her research to understand the drivers of cardiovascular disease disparities and cardiovascular health promotion in the South Asian American community
Dr. Kandula is a professor of medicine at Northwestern University, co-director of the Center for Community Health, and a primary care physician. She conducts epidemiologic studies and pragmatic community trials and leads a multisector partnership that is implementing and testing evidence-based interventions to reduce cardiovascular disparities.
The past 50 years have yielded tremendous insights into the pathophysiology, prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease. These breakthroughs are not being equitably disseminated or implemented for vulnerable, high-burden populations. During the Oct. 6 webinar, Dr. Kandula discussed how well-designed and optimally executed dissemination and implementation studies that engage communities from the beginning will be critical for translation of scientific breakthroughs to real world populations.
September Webinar with Dr. Martha Gulati
The first webinar in the From the Heart series was held on September 1 and featured a conversation with Dr. Martha Gulati focused on South Asian women and heart health.
Dr. Gulati is a professor of medicine and the chief of cardiology at the University of Arizona. She is passionate about the study of women and heart disease, as well as about its prevention. As the principal investigator of the St. James Women Take Heart Project, a study examining cardiac risk factors in women, she’s helped to set new standards for women’s fitness levels and heart rate response to exercise in women.
In addition, she is a co-investigator on the Women Ischemic Syndrome Evaluation; she previously served as a co-investigator on the Women’s Health Initiative; she is a member of numerous advisory boards and societies, including the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology; and she has published articles in peer-reviewed publications, such as The New England Journal of Medicine, Circulation and Journal of the American Medical Association.
Her exceptional commitment to this prevalent health issue has also won her numerous awards and distinctions.
For more information about this series, please email Emily.Kessler@heart.org