Our Achievement Highlights


Dr. Karina Davidson was awarded a New York State Department of Health program project to investigate novel hospital system interventions for improving 30-day readmissions for patients presenting with heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or myocardial infarction. She was also awarded a National Institute of Health High School Diversity Supplement to aid in the training of a future scientist. She is working closely with leadership from New York Presbyterian to improve patient flow through the Emergency department and to the Medicine units at multiple hospitals. She had 25 peer-reviewed manuscripts published in 2014, and one editorial in JAMA Archives of Internal Medicine. Finally, she submitted a number of grant proposals in 2014 which are still pending: the first is to determine the barriers and facilitators for medical patients for engaging in N-of-1 trials at the point of care, for the better control of their chronic diseases. She was elected President of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, and she was appointed to the United States Preventive Services Task Force and to the editorial board of Clinical Trials. Finally, she was invited to be the Opening Keynote speaker for the United Kingdom Society for Behavioral Medicine.

Dr. Marwah Abdalla completed her Fellowship in Cardiovascular Diseases at NYP-CUMC and joined the Division of Cardiology as junior faculty. She was awarded an independent NIH Investigator Diversity Supplement to study the cardiovascular manifestations of hypertension and its phenotypes, assessed by echocardiography, within African Americans from the Jackson Heart Study. The findings from these proposed studies will provide preliminary data for the development of a career award application. She has also been appointed to the American College of Cardiology Early Career Academic Working Group and the American College of Cardiology International Working Group.

Dr. Carmela Alcántara was selected among 200 applications to participate as an invited scholar in the American Academy of Sleep Medicine Young Investigator Research Forum, and the American Psychosomatic Society Young Investigator Colloquium. In 2014, she also had 11 manuscripts published or accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals including Circulation, American Journal of Public Health, International Journal of Cardiology, and Journal of Psychosomatic Research. Dr. Alcántara was also invited to present her work at five scientific conferences; one of which she was the featured speaker on Latino immigrant health. She also submitted three grant proposals in 2014, including two to the National Institute of Health and another to the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute. Finally, Dr. Alcántara was featured in the “Members Spotlight” section of the Anxiety and Depression Association of America for her work as co-chair of the Multicultural Special Interest Group of the organization. Dr. Alcántara is currently at work on additional manuscripts, and grant applications.

Dr. Matthew Burg was awarded a 4-year VA Merit Review grant to study vascular health in veterans of Operations Iraqi and Enduring Freedom. Further, he had eight manuscripts published or accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals including The Journal of the American Heart Association. He served as Co-Chair of an NIH sponsored meeting, "Stress and Sleep: Integration of Behavioral, Social, Environmental, and Physiological Processes" in May of this year. He submitted four grant proposals in 2014 which are still pending, with each focusing on an aspect of vascular health in civilian and veteran populations. Lastly, he served as manuscript reviewer for several medical journals, and grant reviewer for a member conflict review panel at the Center for Scientific Review.

Dr. Keith Diaz was awarded a NIH/NHLBI Independent Investigator Research Supplement to study the biological mechanisms through which cardiorespiratory fitness and physical activity may buffer the deleterious cardiovascular consequences of negative emotions. Further, he has 11 manuscripts published or accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals including Hypertension, PLoS One, the American Journal of Hypertension, and the Journal of Clinical Hypertension. He also presented is work on the role of healthy lifestyle factors in the prognosis of individuals with treatment-resistant hypertension at the Annual Meeting of the American Heart Association’s Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism and Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention Council. Finally, he submitted an R01 grant application to conduct a randomized controlled factorial-trial designed to elucidate the optimal intervention for breaking up prolonged bouts of sitting.

Dr. Donald Edmondson began recruitment on his recently awarded 5-year NIH/NHLBI R01 to study the influence of emergency department (ED) factors on the development of PTSD symptoms and risk for recurrent cardiovascular events in acute coronary syndrome patients. He had 11 manuscripts published or accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals, including JAMA Internal Medicine, and his research was featured in media outlets such as CNN. He submitted a number of grant proposals in 2014 which are still pending. They focus on scientific questions ranging from the influence of stressful ED factors on cardiovascular risk in ED physicians to an investigation of unconscious cognitive influences on medication non-adherence. In April, he was awarded the Neal E. Miller Young Investigator award by the Academy for Behavioral Medicine Research. Finally, he accepted an invitation to join the Social Psychology, Personality, and Interpersonal Processes (SPIP) NIH study section.

Dr. Ian Kronish was awarded a 4-year NIH/NHLBI R01 to study why PTSD that ensues following an ACS is associated with non-adherence to cardioprotective medications and to determine whether non-adherence explains the association between ACS-induced PTSD and poor prognosis. He was also the recipient of a one year award from New York-Presbyterian Hospital to study the feasibility of wirelessly telemonitoring adherence to heart failure medications in the month following a heart failure hospitalization as an approach to improving adherence to heart failure medications and reducing heart failure readmissions. Further, he had 10 manuscripts published or accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals including Stroke and JAMA Internal Medicine. Two of his manuscripts were selected as being “newsworthy” at the 2014 meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society, and one on the topic of medication adherence in PTSD patients was featured prominently on the popular web-blog, “The Gupta Guide”. Finally, he submitted a number of grant proposals in 2014 which are still pending review: the first aims to test a new approach to prescribing blood pressure medications in which hypertensive patients first test a series of blood pressure medications before choosing their preferred medication for long-term use (known as an N-of-1 trial); the second involves a partnership with a start-up company in which he will test whether we can provide personalized, empirically-derived advice to patients on how to control their blood pressure using data collected via mobile health devices; the third involves collaborating with the NIH-funded Cardiovascular Inflammation Reduction Trial to determine the effect a potent anti-inflammatory medication called methotrexate on depressive symptoms in patients with coronary heart disease. Finally, he was elected Fellow of the American Heart Association and was invited to join the Program Committee of the American Psychosomatic Society.

Dr. Deepa Kumaraiah began the research year of her clinical cardiology fellowship in the summer of 2014. She is working on healthcare system redesign at the NYP level. Her work includes project management of the DSRIP (Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment) NY state grant which is over $6 billion dedicated to Medicaid system reform and of the Columbia ACO (accountable care organization) with regards to structure/governance as well as care transitions/care management of the attributable Medicare population. Additionally, she will be working on the NYP CareFirst initiative. Based on her leadership potential, she was chosen as one of two NYP physicians to attend the inaugural Health Management Academy Physician Leadership Program (6 month training program). Finally, she is serving as one of the chief cardiology fellows this academic year.

Dr. Nathalie Moise was selected nationally as a fellow for the AHA seminar on Epidemiology and Prevention in July, 2014. Further, she had three manuscripts published or accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals including “Antihypertensive drug class and adherence: An electronic monitoring study” accepted to the American Journal of Hypertension. One of her articles, “Depression and clinical inertia in patients with uncontrolled hypertension”, published in JAMA Internal Medicine received a great deal of media coverage in outlets such as Reuters Health and MedPage Today. Finally, she submitted a grant proposal in 2014, which is still pending to The NIH Loan Repayment Program to assess US physician acceptability of a guideline to screen for depression post ACS in order to identify barriers and opportunities for implementation.

Dr. James Peacock completed his Master’s of Patient Oriented Research at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. He was active as an Empire Clinical Investigator Program Fellow, launching several initiatives to improve patient flow and hospital operations while a member of NY Presbyterian Hospital’s Care First Initiative. He had three manuscripts published or accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals including the Journal of Human Hypertension. He has now resumed his clinical training as a cardiovascular clinical fellow and has been honored with the Columbia University Internal Medicine Residency Teaching Award.

Dr. Joseph Schwartz had 16 manuscripts published or accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals including the results of a large cluster-randomized clinical trial testing a multifaceted intervention for hypertension in African Americans published in Circulation. The articles by Palatini et al are part of a series of articles utilizing the Ambulatory Blood Pressure (ABP) International Registry, a collection of data from nine studies started by Drs. Thomas Pickering, Paolo Verdecchia, and Schwartz. The review of “masked hypertension” by Peacock et al sets the background for several empirical articles presenting results from our program project that will appear in the next year. The articles by Lee et al and Muthukumar et al review the body of work emanating from Dr. Schwartz’ collaboration with Dr. Suthanthiran’s group at Weill Cornell Medical College. Dr. Schwartz is a co-I of a new NIA grant (PI: A Stone) to evaluate the effect of age on individuals’ responses to self-report questionnaires. He is also the co-PI or co-I of several grant proposals submitted in 2014 which are pending review. One of these is designed to study environmental factors in hospital emergency departments (ED) that contribute to psychological stress and cardiovascular risk in ED physicians. This was the 10th consecutive year that Dr. Schwartz served on the faculty of the two-week NHLBI/OBSSR Summer Institute on Randomized Behavioral Clinical Trials. Finally, he was elected to serve on the executive council of ABMR and the board of directors of the Eastern Chapter of the American Society of Hypertension.

Dr. Jonathan Shaffer was selected as a fellow for the 40th Annual American Heart Association 10-Day Seminar on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology. Further, he had 11 manuscripts published or accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals, one which received international media coverage. He submitted multiple grant proposals in 2014, including two R01 applications that are still under review: contributed as mentor, consultant, and co-investigator to multiple other grant applications; and was named Associate Director of a grant from the Association of Subspeciality Professors. In addition, Dr. Shaffer completed the first phase of his K23 research project; was invited to present at the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research; and was accepted to the Early Career Reviewer Program at the Center for Scientific Review.

Dr. Daichi Shimbo was appointed to Associate Professor of Medicine. He published 21 manuscripts in medical journals. Dr. Shimbo was awarded two National Institute of Health Diversity Supplements to aid in the training of independent investigators Marwah Abdalla and Keith Diaz. Dr. Shimbo was also invited to give several talks on blood pressure and hypertension at both the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research and the American Society of Hypertension annual meetings. Finally, he submitted a Midcareer Investigator Award to investigate the behavioral, psychosocial and biological processes in the pathogenesis of human hypertension, as well as train the next generation of scientists in hypertension.

Dr. Lauren Wasson continues to be supported by a 2-year NIH T32 grant as well as a newly awarded American Medical Association Seed Grant for her research on PTSD and sedative pharmacokinetics in extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) patients. This year, she had two first-author publications in peer-reviewed journals. Her work has expanded to include hospital program development and evaluation in the area of patient flow.

Dr. William Whang had seven manuscripts published or accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals. Also, three case reports involving catheter ablation were published, one of which was accompanied by an editorial in the journal Heart Rhythm. Additionally, Dr. Whang submitted two grant proposals in 2014, which are pending review. He was chosen to participate in the 2014 Leadership and Management Institute for Leaders in Academic Medicine and Health Sciences, held by the Office of Academic Affairs.

Dr. Siqin Ye hwas awarded a 5-year NIH/NHLBI K23 award to study health information preference in patients considering statin therapy. He has published five manuscripts in peer-reviewed journals, including an editorial in Circulation. He has also been selected as a member of American College of Cardiology’s Health Informatics Taskforce, and is serving as a member of New York Presbyterian Hospital’s Tripartite Request Assessment Committee, to review and prioritize hospital data requests for operations and research.



Drs. Karina Davidson & Matthew Burg were awarded from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute an R01 grant entitled, "Ecological Link of Psychosocial Stress to Exercise: Personalized Pathways." Dr. Davidson also presented a keynote lecture to the German Association for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, in Berlin, Germany, as well as a webinar for NIH on Integrating Economic Analysis into NIH Funded Research. Finally, she was the first Alexander H. Glassman Memorial Lecturer for the New York Psychiatric Institute.

Dr. Donald Edmondson completed the second year of his NIH mentored career development (K) award to investigate posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in acute coronary syndrome (ACS) patients. Aside from completing a Masters of Public Health at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, in the 2012 calendar year, he had 18 manuscripts published or accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals including Archives of Internal Medicine (now JAMA Internal Medicine), European Heart Journal, American Journal of Public Health, and American Journal of Cardiology. One of his articles, a meta-analysis of the prevalence of ACS-induced PTSD and its association with recurrent ACS and mortality published in PLoS ONE, received a great deal of media coverage in outlets such as The New York Times, ABC News with Diane Sawyer, and JAMA. His most recent work has focused on modifiable aspects of emergency department care for ACS that may influence subsequent development of PTSD, and on potential mechanisms by which ACS-induced PTSD confers risk for subsequent ACS and mortality. Finally, he submitted two R01 grant proposals in 2012 which are still pending: the first to investigate the effect of emergency department crowding on psychological and physiological prognosis in ACS patients, and the second to estimate the prevalence of stroke-induced PTSD in a large national sample of stroke survivors and determine whether stroke-induced PTSD is associated with stroke recurrence, ACS, or mortality.

Dr. William Whang published a first-author paper in Journal of the American Heart Association, about global psychological distress and atrial fibrillation in the Women’s Health Study, and was lead author on the paper describing the design of the CODIACS randomized trial of depression treatment (Contemporary Clinical Trials). In spring 2012, he served on the cardiac electrophysiology peer review committee for the American Heart Association.

In July 2012, Dr. Jonathan Shaffer finished his postdoctoral training, completed a Master's of Science degree in Biostatistics, and joined the faculty of CBCH as Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine Sciences. That same month, he received a perfect score on an application for a K23 Career Development Award from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. His project, titled "Improving quality of life in outpatients with heart failure: A dose-finding study and randomized controlled trial," will investigate the number of sessions of telephone-delivered Problem-Solving Treatment (PST) needed to produce a clinically meaningful improvement in quality of life for outpatients with heart failure. It will also test whether this number of PST sessions is superior to Time Management in improving exercise capacity. This project may ultimately contribute to improving other cardiac, behavioral, and functional outcomes of patients with heart failure.

Dr. Ellen-ge Denton received a lecture presentation award at the Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology: Quantitative Training for Underrepresented Groups conference in August 2012. She had two new manuscripts accepted for publication, with three manuscripts submitted. She presented at a variety of venues, responding to invitations to lecture at community events, scientific conferences, and international forums. She lectured on Unity in the Body at South Floral Park Women's Conference and Becoming a Scientific Investigator at The Dumont School Career day. She presented original scientific work at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, American Psychosomatic Society in Athens Greece, the Bi-Annual meeting of European Conference on Personality in Trieste, Italy, and the PRIDE scholar conference at the NIH, in Bethesda, Maryland. She was invited to lecture and lead a team of professional adults to the Cambodia Outreach (Phnom Penh, Cambodia). The team trained Cambodian leaders and provided psychoeducation to address childhood trauma. She clinically supervises, graduate students, who provide psychological intervention services to community members in Bedford Stuyvesant New York at Bread & Life Soup Kitchen. Along with local community leaders, Dr. Denton coordinates an annual inner city youth retreat, preparing young people for academic and civil leadership.

Dr. Siqin Ye received a NIH Loan Repayment Grant. He has continued to work with Drs. Davidson and Shimbo, and has published a paper in the Journal of American College of Cardiology on why depressed patients with coronary heart disease have higher risk of recurrent cardiovascular events. His current research focus is on how to determine patient preference for health information during the shared decision making process.

Dr. Keith Diaz, who started working at the Center in July 2012, was awarded an NIH/NHLBI Research Supplement to Promote Diversity in Health-Related Research for his proposal on a study looking at the relationship between blood pressure variability and blood vessel health. Along with colleagues from his previous institution, he also has published work on the role that blood pressure variability plays in the progression of chronic kidney disease and vascular dysfunction. He is currently at work on several manuscripts as well as future grants in the areas of treatment resistant hypertension, lifestyle interventions, and blood pressure variability.



Dr. Karina Davidson was awarded a renewal of her mid-career mentoring award from National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; Midcareer mentoring in Behavioral Cardiology: Depression & Coronary Heart Disease. She also presented a Master lecture at the American Psychosomatic Society, in San Antonio, Texas. Other talks included presentations at American College of Cardiology, Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, European Academy of Liaison Psychiatry, International Congress of Cardiology, European Psychology Society, and the NIH office of Behavioral & Social Science Research. She presented grand rounds at Mount Sinai, Teachers College, CUNY, and Charite Hospital in Germany.

Dr. Daichi Shimbo gave an invited talk at the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research on “Depression and Cardiovascular Disease: Back to the Platelet 5-HT2A Receptor” in Deer Valley, Utah.

Dr. Matthew Burg presented an invited address on his randomized clinical trial, “Reducing Vulnerability to ICD Shock Treated Ventricular Arrhythmias” at the International Conference on Patient Reported Outcomes in Arrhythmia at Tilburg University. He also presented Psychiatry Grand Rounds on “Stress, Anger, and Cardiovascular Disease” at SUNY Stony Brook, and Cardiology Grand Rounds on “Stress, Emotion, and Cardiovascular Disease” at Yale University School of Medicine.

Dr. Donald Edmondson, who joined our Center as Assistant Professor in January 2011, accepted an NIH mentored career development (K) award to investigate the comparative and cost-effectiveness of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) screening and treatment for acute coronary syndrome (ACS) patients. He was also accepted to and completed the Columbia Summer Research Institute program. Aside from his work toward a Masters of Public Health at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health, in the 2011 calendar year, he had 2 book chapters published and 12 manuscripts published or accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals. Most of his peer-reviewed work focused on either cognitive mechanisms underlying PTSD symptoms or recurrent cardiovascular and mortality risk associated with ACS-induced PTSD. One of those publications, his Journal of Psychiatric Research article showing elevated recurrence and mortality risk associated with ACS-induced PTSD, was featured in the September 19 edition of Journal Watch Psychiatry. He also submitted two R01 grant proposals in 2011 which are still pending: the first to investigate the effect of emergency department crowding on psychological and physiological prognosis in ACS patients, and the second to create a measure of “cardiotoxic” stress to aid in recurrence risk stratification in ACS patients.

Dr. Ian Kronish joined our Center in July of 2011 and soon after began recruitment into his NHLBI-funded MATCH trial. This study tests whether objectively measuring adherence to blood pressure medications with electronic pillboxes can improve the management of uncontrolled hypertension. Another highlight included a manuscript published in the prestigious cardiovascular journal Circulation which showed that certain classes of blood pressure medications (e.g., diuretics and beta-blockers) are strongly associated with lower medication adherence as compared to other antihypertensive drug classes.

Dr. William Whang had two first-authored papers accepted for publication, one on QT interval prolongation in women with depressive symptoms after acute coronary syndrome (Europace), and another on a novel electrocardiographic measure to predict cardiovascular mortality, QRS|T angle (American Journal of Cardiology). In December, he delivered an invited talk for cardiology grand rounds at Mount Sinai Medical Center of Miami, on ‘Depression and heart disease.’ Also in 2011, he received the Lewis Katz Research Prize for junior faculty in cardiology at Columbia, based on his proposal, ‘A New Approach to Identifying the Slow Conduction Zone in Atrial Flutter.’

In November 2011, Dr. Jonathan Shaffer was awarded a two-year Clinical Research Program award from the American Heart Association. His project, titled “Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) Incidence: Depression and Vitamin D Deficiency Risk,” will examine the associations among depressive symptoms, vitamin D, and the risk of developing CHD. This project may ultimately help to inform whether vitamin D deficiency is a feasible public health treatment target for those with depression who are at increased risk of CHD.

Dr. Jonathan Newman, a Cardiovascular Sciences Training grant fellow with our center, published two manuscripts and co-authored two additional in-press papers over the 2010-2011 time period. Additionally, Dr. Newman gave an oral presentation at the 2011 national meeting of the American Heart Association; was selected as a finalist for the Jeremiah Stamler junior investigator award by the American Heart Association - Epidemiology division; and published a letter to the editor in the New England Journal of Medicine. Over this time, Dr. Newman also served as an ad-hoc reviewer for Circulation and Heart, and first-authored twelve in-press book chapters for the Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine. Dr. Newman was the course-director for an electrocardiogram practicum for second and third year medical students. Finally, Dr. Newman was selected to receive a clinical research loan repayment award from the National Institute of Health for his research endeavors with our center.

Dr. Ellen-ge Denton was awarded the PRIDE scholarship during the spring of 2011. This scholarship allows for advanced statistical and methodological education, NIH grant mentorship, and further collaborations within the academic medicine scientific community. Dr. Denton successfully completed the Columbia Summer Research Institute, Summer 2011. She had one new manuscript accepted for publication and three manuscripts submitted for publication. She presented at the American Psychosomatic Society in San Antonio, Texas and has been invited to lecture internationally at ASanctuary Organization for Sexually and Physically Abused Youth, Georgetown, Guyana. She mentored three dissertation students throughout the academic year, projects entitled The Role of School Social Workers Working With Children In Foster Care And The Factors That Impact That Role; African American acculturation and its relationship to subjective well-being in African American Women; and College Women in the 21st Century: A Closer look at Academic, Family, and Work Demands on levels of Burnout. Along with local community leaders, Dr. Denton coordinates an annual inner city youth retreat, preparing young people for academic and civil leadership.

Dr. Siqin Ye, who started working at the Center in June 2011, was selected as one of the recipients for the American College of Cardiology Foundation / Merck Research Fellowship Award for his proposal on a study of medication non-adherence in patients with acute coronary syndromes. Along with Drs. Davidson, Denton, and Wasson, he also published a review on epidemiology and management of depression in women with coronary heart disease. He is currently the Chief Cardiology Fellow for the Columbia University Medical Center Cardiology Fellowship Program, and is also at work on several other manuscripts as well as future grants.