The Cardiovascular Disease Training Program

At Augusta University’s health system, we have a cardiovascular disease training program, which started at the onset of specialty training in cardiology in the early 1960s.

Vincent Robinson, MD, FACC FRCP(C), Co-Director of Nuclear Cardiology and Director of Cardiology Fellowship

As the curriculum expanded, training increased from one up to three years at the present time. Currently, there are more than 200 graduates from the cardiovascular disease training program who practice mainly in the Southeast but can be found throughout the entire country.

It is an understatement to say that the cardiovascular disease training program continues to be the “crown jewel” of our academic practice in cardiology. Having talented and motivated young minds working with us as we treat complex clinical cases is the best way to bring the added value of an academic practice in cardiology to our patients. It also provides a boost for research within our division. I will outline some of the achievements over the past two years, which continue to propel our academic practice to greater heights.

In the area of research, the cardiology fellows were authors and co-authors on 16 publications over the last two years. They have presented at national meetings seven times within the past two years. This has interfaced smoothly with increasing publications and funded trials managed by our faculty. At the last faculty awards ceremony, Division of Cardiology faculty garnered the distinguished faculty award for both basic and clinical research. In the last two years, our cardiology fellows have garnered first prize at the annual scientific session of the ACC Georgia Chapter at Lake Oconee. In November 2014, our chief fellow Dr. Lauren Holliday won first prize for her project titled “High Fat Meal Induces Oxidative Stress and Inflammatory Remodeling in Erythrocytes.” In November 2015, Dr. Michael Ibe, first-year cardiology fellow, followed up with first prize for his project titled “Using Thrombolytic Agents to Improve Specificity of the d-Dimer Test for Detection of Intravascular Clots in Patients Suspected of Pulmonary Embolism.”

The cardiology fellows have continued to be exceptional performers academically. In 2012, the graduating fellows were 100 points above the national average for their scores in the ACC In- Training Examination. In 2013, our first-year fellows were 100 points above the national average in the score for the same examination. In the last national ACC in-training examinations of October 2015, the third-year graduating class of four fellows’ average score was 133 points above the national average score for third-year fellows. Two graduating fellows were above the 98th percentile nationally for their scores on the in-training exam. Our cardiology program has gone seven years continuously with a 100 percent pass rate in the ABIM certifying examination in cardiovascular disease.

We recently obtained the services of Dr. Sean Javaheri, former cardiology program coordinator in the Internal Medicine Residency Program at Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center and Madigan Army Medical Center from 2009 to 2015. Javaheri, who is a board-certified interventional cardiologist, has been very effective in reinvigorating our didactic training program in general cardiovascular disease. We hope to offer interventional cardiology subspecialty training within the next two years. This would be in addition to our established electrophysiology training program.

We ask for your support of our fellows as they present at the National ACC in Chicago, Illinois, April 1-3, 2016. Dr. Amudhan Jyothidasan, third-year cardiology fellow is also participating as a member of the Georgia team in the FIT Jeopardy competition. Thank you for your support of cardiovascular disease training at Augusta University.

Our Newest Freestanding Cardiovascular Center

Augusta University Heart and Cardiovascular Services opened a new center on campus June 19, 2015. The 15th Street Cardiovascular Center is located at 937 15th Street in Augusta, Georgia. The center houses general cardiology, interventional cardiology, cardiac rehabilitation and an outpatient echocardiography lab. It offers state-of-the-art cardiac rehabilitation monitoring equipment, on-site cardiology diagnostic testing, a walking track, a conference room and caregiver tables and chairs. There is ample convenient parking and close proximity to hospital-based services.

Cardiac rehabilitation was the first service to join the Cardiovascular Center 15th Street after sharing space and equipment with the Wellness Center on Augusta University’s Health Sciences Campus since August 2007. The new location not only gives the program its own space, but it also resides in the same building as the clinic. This allows patients to schedule upcoming clinic appointments and cardiac rehabilitation sessions during a single visit. The importance of emotional and social support in the rehabilitation process inspired the setup. For instance, the exercise machines encircle the monitoring station from which all patients can be observed, receive education as a group and interact with one another.