Home » Uncategorized » Duke Heart Pulse — October 8, 2023

Duke Heart Pulse — October 8, 2023

Highlights of the week:

Celebrating Bob Lefkowitz

The two-day symposium, “Celebrating Scientific Discoveries that Advance Human Health,” held to honor Duke cardiologist and Nobel Prize winner Robert J. Lefkowitz’s 50 years at Duke, was held on campus this week — and was a resounding success. More than 1000 people attended events that spanned Sunday evening dinner, the public scientific sessions on Monday and early Tuesday in Page Auditorium, and alumni sessions on Tuesday afternoon.

The scientific sessions on Monday featured presentations from several Nobel laureates, as well as a panel with University President Vincent E. Price, PhD; Mary E. Klotman, MD, executive vice president for health affairs and dean of the Duke University School of Medicine; former Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski; and Lefkowitz.

Shown here are photos from across the entirety of the event, including several from the Gala that not only celebrated Bob’s 50 years at Duke but his 80th birthday as well. The gala was held in the President’s Ballroom at the Washington Duke Inn.

Special guests included dozens of Lefkowitz’s trainees who came from far and near; on Tuesday, special sessions geared just for those alumni were held in the Trent Semans Center. Members of the Lefkowitz family were in attendance throughout, as well as numerous close friends and colleagues he has known throughout his life.

In a message to his former and current trainees after the event, Lefkowitz wrote, “Wow, what an incredible few days we just shared. I want to thank everybody who took the time to join in and especially those of you who came from long distances to help me celebrate these two very special landmarks in my life. Never have the words been truer than when I say, “I couldn’t have done it without you.”

A big shout-out to Howard Rockman, MD, and Maria Price Rapoza, PhD of the Duke 

 Cardiovascular Research Center for their leadership, vision, and drive for this special event.

Post-event compliments rolled in afterward, including the following:

“For myself, I can say this was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and an amazing tribute from the broader scientific community on behalf of Dr. Lefkowitz of Duke University or the ‘Duke of Lefkowitz,’ as he was dubbed at the Gala.” Maria Price Rapoza, executive director, Duke CVRC

I loved being on the panel with Bob, Mary & Vince. I thought it went really well. Bob was terrific! It was an honor to be a part of his Birthday Celebration!”Coach K

The happiest of birthdays to you, Dr. Lefkowitz! Congratulations on an incredible career milestone – and thank you for all you have done to advance science in ways that have helped countless patients and fellow researchers. You’ve been living the Duke values all along, encouraging others as a colleague, mentor, and friend!


It’s Heart Walk Weekend!

The Triangle Heart Walk is taking place this morning at PNC Arena in Raleigh. Thank you to all who are joining us in support of the American Heart Association (AHA). We’ll have fundraising results and photos from the event coming up over the next couple of weekends.

Leading up to the event, the AHA mascot visited several Duke locations to get our teams jazzed up for the main event!  

The mascot was seen at Duke Regional on Sept. 12, and again this week at Duke University Hospital. Also shown here are members of 2F2G sporting t-shirts they sold to help raise money for the AHA. The team also held a silent auction that raised $630 for the Walk. 

Hat tip to Renee Potts of the AHA and her daughter, who played the mascot, for the photos; ditto to Jamie Hilton, for the photo of her amazing 2F2G team! Special thanks to Jason Stokes for helping guide the mascot through several of our units. We know it helped spread joy and awareness throughout DUH.

Great job 2F2G! We are proud of you, and all of our Heart Walk teams, for fundraising efforts this year. Thank you!


Califf Receives NAM Lienhard Award

Congratulations to Duke alum Rob Califf, MD! The National Academy of Medicine (NAM) announced late last month that Califf is the recipient of the 2023 Gustav O. Lienhard Award for Advancement of Health Care, for his instrumental role in leading clinical trials and health outcomes research and his ability to translate research into advances in science, evidence-based medicine, and improved public health.

The award, a medal that recognizes Califf’s achievements, is being presented today at the NAM’s annual meeting. Califf is the founding director of the Duke Clinical Research Institute and is the current commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Follow this link to read the full announcement.

Congratulations, Rob!


O’Connor Receives HFSA Leadership Award

Congratulations to cardiologist Christopher O’Connor, MD, former co-chair of Duke Heart Center and current president of the Inova Fairfax Heart and Vascular Institute. O’Connor received the Heart Failure Society of America’s 2023 Distinguished Leadership Award! This award celebrates a leader in education and mentorship within the field of heart failure.

The award was presented yesterday during the HFSA’s Annual Scientific Meeting taking place Oct. 6-9 in Cleveland, OH.

Well-deserved, Chris! We’ll have more coverage from HFSA in next weekend’s Pulse.


SCSE Conference Held

Duke Cardiac Diagnostic Unit was represented at the South Carolina Society of Echocardiography’s 2nd Annual Conference last Saturday, September 30th at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center in Columbia, SC.

Conference attendees consisted of cardiovascular sonographers, students, physicians, and educators. Lectures were given by Fawaz Alenezi, MD who presented The Clinical Applications of Echo Strain Imaging, and cardiac sonographer Sarah Hatton who presented on Pulmonary Hypertension and the Role of Echocardiography.

Pictured left to right: Sarah Hatton, Fawaz Alenezi, and Hannah Dowdy.

Nicely done, team!


Kudos to Meo!

We received the following note this week from Madhav Swaminathan regarding Eliyah Meo, one of our amazing team nurses.

“Dear Eliyah,

I wanted to thank you and express my gratitude and admiration for what you did last night in the CTICU. When you took a patient’s stuffed animal that was soiled and thoughtfully washed and cleaned it and returned it to that critically ill patient, you displayed an extraordinary act of compassion and kindness that we all think about a lot but seldom see. That wasn’t required, wasn’t part of the care plan, and wasn’t expected during your night shift. And that too for a patient who you likely thought would not be able to appreciate your act of kindness, given his illness. It reflected a level of care and compassion that we all aspire to achieve. Your thoughts were directed towards what was right and what was important to the patient’s overall care and comfort. You may not have considered this an extraordinary act and even doubted whether you should do this seemingly mundane task. But in taking a self-directed step of caring, you did what you were meant to be and do – a caring nurse who lives the values we aspire to as healthcare professionals.

Thank you and keep doing what you do.” — With deepest admiration, Madhav Swaminathan, MD

Solid work in living our values, Eliyah!


Duke Heart Grows by One!

We are thrilled to welcome Sophia to the Duke Heart family! Born Sept. 27, she is the daughter of cardiology fellow, Ivan Nenadic Wood and his wife, Sara

The family is doing well and we know Django is loving his new human!

Congratulations, Ivan and Sara!













Upcoming Events & Opportunities

  • This week, October 6-12, is National Physician Assistant Week.
  • National Hispanic Heritage Month runs through Oct. 15.
  • October is Medical Ultrasound Awareness Month as well as National Pharmacists Month.
  • Masking is strongly recommended throughout all clinical areas during respiratory virus season, from now through early March.


Cardiology Grand Rounds

Oct. 10: Prevention of Heart Failure: Is it a Reality? with Mohammad Shahzeb Khan. 5 p.m. DN 2002 or via Zoom.

Cardiovascular Informational Session

Oct. 11: What can the DCRI do for you? with Sana Al-Khatib and Neha Pagidipati. 5-7 p.m., DMP 2W96 (dinner will be served)

CD Fellows Core Curriculum Conference

Oct. 13: EKG Review with Tom Bashore. Zoom only.


Call for Applications: 2024 Leadership Programs

The Office for Faculty announced this week the call for applications for their 2024 Leadership Programs, including ADVANCE-UP, ALICE, DCLP, and LEADER. Click here to learn more. Applications are due Nov. 3.


DIHI Innovation RFA 2024

The Duke Institute for Health Innovation (DIHI) has announced their next annual Request for Application (RFA) for selecting and implementing innovative solutions in our clinical enterprise. The proposals should address actual and important problems encountered by care providers, patients, and their loved ones, and represent urgent health challenges nationally.

For the 2024 funding cycle, they are specifically interested in the following topic: 

Generative AI & Large Language Models: AI solutions to improve staff and clinician efficiency, patient journey, and outcomes

Please visit the Innovation RFA web page for additional information, to download an info packet, and to see the timeline for 2024 projects. The deadline for submitting applications is November 3, 2023.

All proposals are required to have a DUHS operational lead as a co-sponsor to be accepted for review.

If the DIHI team can be of any assistance to you in the formulation of ideas or connections, please contact Suresh Balu. The DIHI team looks forward to your innovative solutions!


Register Now: 15th Annual Pulmonary Hypertension Symposium

The 15th annual NC Research Triangle Pulmonary Hypertension Symposium will be held on Friday, November 17th at the Durham Convention Center. Faculty directors will be H. James Ford, MD, director of the PH program at UNC, and Terry Fortin, MD, co-director of the Pulmonary Vascular Disease Center at Duke. Registration is now open: https://duke.is/9/7rs5. Please join us!


Have news to share?

If you have news to share with the Pulse readership, please contact Tracey Koepke, director of communications for Duke Heart at tracey.koepke@duke.edu. We would love to hear about your latest accomplishments, professional news, cool happenings, and any events or opportunities that may be of interest to our Duke Heart family. Please call with any questions: 919-681-2868. Feedback on Pulse is welcome and encouraged. Submissions by Noon, on Wednesdays, to be considered for weekend inclusion.


Duke Heart in the News:


September 29: David Harpole

Oncology Nursing News

Neoadjuvant Durvalumab Combination Misses Mark in EGFR+ NSCLC



September 30: Robert Lefkowitz


10 Astounding Facts About Dr. Robert Lefkowitz



October 2: Duke University Medical Center

The People’s Pharmacy

Can You Stay in the Sweet Spot for Your Warfarin Dose?



October 2: David Harpole

The ASCO Post

Perioperative Durvalumab Plus Chemotherapy in Resectable NSCLC



October 4: Kristin Newby


SGLT2 Is Tied to Fewer Post-MI Deaths in T2D





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