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Women as One congratulates the 5 winners and 5 semi-finalists of the inaugural Escalator Awards.
2020 Escalator Award Winners
Click on an image below to read the bio of each winner.
2020 Escalator Awards Semi-Finalists
Click on an image below to read the bio of each winner.
Khadijah Breathett, MD, MS
University of Arizona | United States
Specialty: Heart Failure, Transplantation
Khadijah Breathett, MD, MS, FACC, FAHA is Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson, Division of Cardiology, and advanced heart failure & transplant cardiologist. Dr. Breathett is a graduate of the University of Michigan Medical School with distinction in service. She completed training in internal medicine at Duke University Medical Center, and cardiology and advanced heart failure/transplant subspecialty fellowship at Ohio State University. She completed a postdoctoral research fellowship funded by the National Institute of Health and the American Heart Association while obtaining a Master of Science in Clinical Science at the University of Colorado.
Dr. Breathett is board certified in internal medicine, cardiology, and advanced heart failure and transplant cardiology. She has developed pilot trials, outcomes studies, observational population studies, and community interventions focused on reducing racial and gender disparities in cardiovascular disease. Dr. Breathett is a National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) K01 funded primary investigator for work to address allocation of advanced therapies in racial/ethnic minorities.
Dr. Breathett’s research has been published in high impact journals including Circulation: Heart Failure, JACC: Heart Failure, and The American Journal of Medicine. Her works have received press acknowledgment in Reuters, MedPage Today, and Business Insider among others. She has been recognized as a National Minority Quality Forum 40 Under 40 Leaders in Minority Health, Heart Failure Society of America Emerging Leader, and selected for the American Heart Association Research Leader’s Academy. Dr. Breathett is passionate about reducing racial/ethnic and gender disparities in heart failure.
Dr. Blanche Cupido is a consultant adult cardiologist practicing general, imaging and interventional cardiology and has a special interest in congenital heart disease, cardiac imaging and valvular heart disease, in Cape Town, South Africa.
She graduated from the University of Cape Town in 2001 and after completing her internship and community service, she embarked on her physician and subsequent cardiology training, which she completed in 2013. In 2016, she spent a year doing a post-graduate fellowship in Adult Congenital Heart Disease in Leeds, UK. In 2017, she also completed a certificate in advanced heart failure management from the University of Zurich and the European Cardiac Academy.
She returned to Groote Schuur Hospital , Cape Town to establish a dedicated Adult Congenital Heart Disease unit and currently works at Groote Schuur Hospital and UCT Private Academic Hospital as the Head of Echocardiography and the Clinical Lead for Adult Congenital Heart Disease. Apart from running these clinical services, she is involved in the training of cardiology fellows, as well as research. Her long-term goal is to improve the current training opportunities for cardiology fellows in South Africa and eventually to the rest of Africa. Furthermore, she wishes to establish an increased competence in the field of Adult Congenital Heart Disease in Africa.
She is currently the President elect for SA Heart (the National Cardiac Society of South Africa) as well as the Deputy Ambassador for the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) Global Affairs Committee in Africa.
Nicola Ryan is a Consultant Interventional Cardiologist in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. She received her medical degree from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (2008), followed by Internal Medicine (2011) and Cardiology training (2015) through the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland. Thereafter, she completed a prestigious Interventional Cardiology and research fellowship in Hospital Clínico San Carlos, Madrid (2017).
Dr. Ryan’s interests are primarily in the role of intra-coronary physiology and imaging, which she routinely applies in her clinical practice as well as in the clinical interventional research she leads in Aberdeen. She engages as a reviewer for several high impact journals. Dr. Ryan is a member of the EuroPCR Scientific Committee and the PCR NextGen group, as well as a member of the European Society of Cardiology fellowship committee.
Rashmee Shah, MD, MS is a cardiologist and data scientist whose research program focuses on applied biomedical informatics methods and artificial intelligence (AI) approaches to answer clinically important questions. Using large, complex clinical datasets like electronic medical records (EMR) for outcomes research is a daunting challenge. Beyond predicting outcomes, Dr. Shah’s research (including two NIH awards as Principal Investigator) seeks to understand relationships between clinical variables and outcomes in the context of atrial fibrillation (AF).
Dr. Shah’s group developed a machine learning algorithm that processes clinical notes and identifies AF patients with 93% sensitivity and 89% specificity, as well as a classifier to extract critical features (e.g. CHA2DS2-VASc score). Building upon these successes, Dr. Shah is preparing a NIH proposal to leverage these computable phenotypes for prediction and discovery, using Bayesian networks, an ‘explainable’ AI method. Specifically, Dr. Shah and associates will design a model to predict and understand AF therapy failures, using 5 million longitudinal blood pressure and heart rate measures curated from the EMR. In the future, Dr. Shah plans to build on these models with additional biomarker data to move closer to precision medicine. Dr. Shah’s work also focuses on comparing the effectiveness of rate versus rhythm control and anticoagulation strategies among cancer patients with AF, using our AI-based methods in support of subsequent pragmatic clinical trials.
Dr, Shah’s career goals are to become (1) a leading expert in the field of big data science and cardiovascular disease; (2) a successful mentor for junior researchers; and (3) to create technologies that equitably reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease amongst all patients.
Specialty: Echocardiography, General Cardiology, Heart Failure, Imaging
Dr. Van Spall completed a Doctor of Medicine degree and postgraduate clinical training at the University of Toronto. She earned a Master of Public Health degree at Harvard University. She is a full-time cardiologist, with a clinical focus in Heart Failure and Echocardiography in the Department of Medicine at McMaster University.
Dr. Van Spall is a scientist who leads clinical trials in Heart Failure at the Population Health Research Institute. She has garnered more than $4.0 million in research funding, including peer- reviewed grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and Ontario’s Ministry of Health and Long Term care. She has won several research awards, is an invited international speaker, and has presented her research at Late Breaking Clinical Trial sessions at the European Society of Cardiology and American Heart Association conferences. Her work is published in high-impact medical journals, including JAMA, Lancet, Circulation, and Annals of Internal Medicine.
Dr. Van Spall has a track record in mentorship and is passionate about sponsoring women in Cardiology. She has used her roles as researcher and media correspondent to highlight the
gender-based disparities in Medicine. She is committed to fostering the career growth of women as principal investigators of cardiovascular clinical trials and as leaders of academic medical institutions. She has chaired scientific conferences, maintaining a focus on scientific excellence and gender equity of co-chairs and speakers. She plans to work with Women as One platform to develop a formal mentorship and networking program for women who wish to pursue a research career in Cardiology.
Dr. Lauren Baldassarre is a cardiologist with a focus on cardiac imaging and cardio-oncology, including the cardiovascular care of women with breast cancer. She received her medical degree from Georgetown University and completed her residency at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell. Due to her interest in cardiovascular disease in women and prevention, she focused her training within cardiac imaging, realizing the opportunity the field held for prevention, diagnosis and management of cardiac disease. With this focus, she completed her cardiology training at Washington Hospital Center/Georgetown University. As cardio-oncology tied together her interests nicely, she then pursued additional training at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She is currently Assistant Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine and Radiology & Biomedical Imaging at the Yale School of Medicine, where she holds the title of Cardiac MR/CT Cardiology Director and Cardio-Oncology Director.
Dr. Baldassarre has a clinical and research focus of advanced cardiac imaging techniques for detection of cardio-toxicity from cancer therapeutics. Her aspiration is to support and protect patients’ hearts while they are receiving cancer therapies, with a goal to get them through their treatment without developing new or worsened cardiovascular disease. Her current research investigates the use of cardiac MRI for detection of cardio-toxicity from immunotherapy, including a cohort of breast cancer patients.She also recently founded and chairs the Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic ResonanceCardio-Oncology Special Interest Group, which focuses on education, research, and advocacy for the advancement and utilization of cardiac MRI in the field.
Dr. Allison B. Hall, MD, FRCPC is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine at Memorial University of Newfoundland and is an Interventional Cardiologist with Eastern Health and Cardiology Consultants in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. In 2019 she completed dedicated training at the Minneapolis Heart Institute in Complex Coronary Intervention (CTO/CHIP).
Dr. Hall has authored or co-authored 20 manuscripts and has been a panelist and award-winning speaker. She is passionate about complex, indicated, coronary intervention and the care of high-risk patients. In 2019, she returned to practice in her home province, which has the highest rate of cardiovascular disease in Canada and is faced with systemic challenges. Here, as the province’s first practicing female Interventional Cardiologist, she will put her skillset to use, aiming to help progress the Complex PCI Program. She also hopes to formalize a local approach to the care of patients in cardiogenic shock that works within the constraints of the system and she recently joined the hospital’s ECLS committee.
Dr. Hall is eager to help the Cath Lab access and integrate updated technologies, to increase participation in research registries/initiatives and to play an active role in the education of staff and medical trainees. She is also interested in heart-health public education initiatives for NL. Dr. Hall wishes to liaise with the broader cardiology community and seeks mentorship and opportunities that will help her develop the necessary leadership skills and approaches to realize her ideas.
Ki Park, M.D., M.S., FACC is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine and an Interventional Cardiologist at the University of Florida and Malcom Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville, FL. She received a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and also completed her Internal Medicine Residency, General Cardiology Fellowship and Interventional Cardiology Fellowship at the University of Florida. In addition, she completed a Cardiovascular Cell Therapy Research Network (CCTRN) Fellowship and also earned a master’s degree in Translational Science.
Dr. Park’s interventional skillset includes complex PCI and structural interventions. Clinical and research interests are focused on women’s cardiovascular health specifically the association between pregnancy complications and long-term cardiac risk. In line with these interests, she serves as Director of University of Florida Women’s Cardiovascular Health Services.
Dr. Park has published numerous manuscripts in the field of women’s cardiovascular disease including research on microvascular dysfunction and adverse pregnancy outcomes and long term cardiac risk. She started the first dedicated Women’s Heart Health Clinic at the University of Florida with a focus on postpartum cardiovascular risk modification. In 2010, she received the American Heart Association Women in Cardiology Trainee Award for Excellence.
Amy Sarma MD, MHS is an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical school and a cardiologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. She joined the faculty of the echocardiography lab and Women’s Heart Health program at MGH in 2018, where she plays a central role in the cardiovascular disease and pregnancy program.
Dr. Sarma’s research focuses on sex-differences in cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular disease in pregnancy, and postpartum care delivery for women with hypertensive disorders of pregnancy. She is a co-investigator on a funded study investigating the impact of a digital home blood pressure monitoring program on readmissions after pre-eclamptic pregnancies. In addition, she is co-leading a multi-site effort to develop a prospective echocardiography registry in the Heart Outcomes in Pregnancy (HOPE) Registry, which will be the first prospective registry of cardiovascular disease in pregnancy in the U.S.
Dr. Sarma’s work has been published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, Journal of the American Heart Association, and Circulation. She has been honored by the American Heart Association with the Women In Cardiology Trainee Award for Excellence, is an associate scholar in the Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health program at Harvard, and received the Parker Prize from Yale University School of Medicine. She has also served on the national leadership council of the Women In Cardiology section of the American College of Cardiology and is the current chapter leader for Massachusetts.
Nadia R. Sutton, MD, MPH, FACC, FSCAI is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Section of Interventional Cardiology at the University of Michigan (UM). Dr. Sutton received her Medical Degree from Loyola University of Chicago, where she graduated cum laude, with Honors in Research. She received her Master’s in Public Health from Boston University. She undertook her post-graduate training in Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Medicine, and Interventional Cardiology at the UM and served as Chief Interventional Cardiology Fellow. She also completed research training through a National Institutes of Health training grant. Dr. Sutton’s clinical interest is in percutaneous treatment of coronary artery disease, with a special interest in treating older adults (geriatric cardiology). Dr. Sutton is a physician-scientist researching mechanisms of vascular aging and seeks to identify interventions that promote healthy vascular aging. She has authored or co-authored publications in Journal of Clinical Investigation(JCI), JCI Insight, Journal of Biological Chemistry, JAMA Internal Medicine, JAMA Network Open, Circulation, Circulation: Quality and Outcomes, Circulation: Cardiovascular Interventions, Arteriosclerosis Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology (ATVB), and Journal of the American College of Cardiology (ACC). At the University of Michigan, Dr. Sutton enjoys teaching undergraduates, medical students, residents, cardiology fellows, and interventional cardiology fellows. Dr. Sutton is an active member of the Washtenaw County American Heart Association (AHA) Heart Ball Leadership Committee, the AHA ATVB Women’s Leadership Committee, the ACC National Cardiovascular Data Repository Cath PCI Research & Publications Subcommittee, and serves as an Assistant Editor on the Circulation: Cardiovascular Interventions editorial board.