Within the past year, the Division of Cardiology at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute has cast a wide net, reaching across the globe to expand its roster with talented young physicians. These four new staff members represent five continents among them and bring extensive training from leading institutions around the world.
Girish Dwivedi, MD, PhD, is one of very few cardiologists in Canada with advanced training in several cardiac imaging technologies. These include echocardiography, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) and positron-emission tomography (PET).
Born in India and now a British citizen, Dr. Dwivedi trained in both India and England before coming to the Heart Institute as a clinical fellow in 2011. While here, he received the prestigious Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship and subsequently joined the Division of Cardiology. In England, he had already achieved important findings in clinical imaging research.
In addition to his clinical activities at the Heart Institute, he will continue to conduct research on inflammation as a cause of heart disease, with a particular focus on patients with arthritis and psoriasis. Having these conditions puts individuals at greater risk of heart disease, and systemic inflammation plays a contributing role in all three conditions.
Heart failure is an area of study that the Heart Institute has earmarked for expansion as the number and severity of patients with the condition grow. Ellamae Stadnick, MD, is playing a central role in this effort. With a master’s degree in molecular biology, Dr. Stadnick completed her initial medical training and a fellowship in echocardiography at the University of British Columbia. She followed this with a fellowship in advanced heart failure and transplantation at Stanford University in California before being recruited to the Heart Institute in 2013.
Along with the Heart Institute’s other heart failure experts in cardiology and nursing, Dr. Stadnick has helped establish a new inpatient Heart Failure Service. This initiative is focused on the sickest patients, who may be potential candidates for heart transplant, ventricular assist devices or end-of-life care. In addition, she will be helping to introduce new approaches to heart failure care, increase outreach to family health units in the region and further build the heart failure fellowship program.
Thais Coutinho, MD, is a young physician and researcher already making a name for herself. Certified in internal medicine, cardiology, vascular medicine and echocardiography, Dr. Coutinho has made numerous presentations at national and international meetings and has published several peer-reviewed manuscripts. At the 2013 Canadian Cardiovascular Congress, she presented featured research on the impacts of arterial stiffness.
A native of Brazil, Dr. Coutinho received her medical degree from the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro and continued her training with several years as a fellow at the Mayo Clinic in the United States. She has received a number of honours, including the American Heart Association Young Investigator and Women in Cardiology Awards and the Mayo Clinic Cardiovascular Division Outstanding Achievement Award.
Through her interest in vascular research, Dr. Coutinho is working with the Aortic Clinic to look for ways to better assess the risk of patients who have an aortic aneurysm. In addition, she is one of four Heart Institute investigators working on the Vascular Network Across Canada grant, a $6.4 million award recently funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and other partners.
On his own, interventional cardiologist Aun-Yeong Chong, MD, can lay claim to four continents. The Malaysian-born physician attended medical school at the University of New South Wales in Australia and then obtained extensive postgraduate training and conducted research in England and Canada. He did a fellowship in interventional cardiology at the Heart Institute and was trained and accredited in cardiac CT in England. Interestingly, Dr. Chong and Dr. Dwivedi had overlapping periods of training at the University of Birmingham.
During his Heart Institute fellowship, Dr. Chong greatly impressed the staff with his technical and interpersonal skills. He practiced in England from 2010, until the Heart Institute had the opportunity to recruit him in 2013. Now in Ottawa, he is part of the Institute’s dynamic interventional cardiology group and plans to pursue research into coronary catheterization procedures using the radial artery and the regrowth of vascular tissue following the damage caused by heart attack.