Media Contacts

Julie Kiefer

Associate Director, Science Communications, University of Utah Health
Phone: 801-587-1293

Jul 20, 2020 10:00 AM

Rashmee Shah, MD, MS, an assistant professor in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at University of Utah Health, is among 17 physician-scientists in the country who have been awarded a three-year $495,000 Clinical Scientist Development Award from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (DDCF). This award funds physician-scientists in the early stages of their careers by helping them transition into independent researchers and protecting 75% of their professional time toward clinical research.

“We are thrilled to announce our support of these physician scientists and their important medical research at a crucial stage in their careers,” said Betsy Myers, program director for medical research at DDCF. “The insights they bring to clinical research from their direct interactions with patients are indispensable to the field. We look forward to seeing both how their careers develop over the long term and their research contributes to improvements in human health.”

A panel of distinguished medical experts selected Shah as a recipient from a pool of 208 total applicants for her project, “Artificial Intelligence to Explore the Role of Blood Pressure in Outcomes among Patients with Atrial Fibrillation” which aims to explore if artificial intelligence can be used to discover blood pressure “fingerprints” among patients with atrial fibrillation (AF).

Shah explains that these blood pressure “fingerprints” may help predict adverse outcomes, such as hospitalization or death, among AF patients.

“This project will be the first of its kinds to apply dynamic time warping and artificial intelligence technology to understand the role of blood pressure and AF outcomes in the context of a patient’s medical history,” Shah said. “My project predicts that incorporating blood pressure fingerprints, together with other clinical variables, into an artificial intelligence network will precisely forecast if an AF patient will have a poor outcome compared to single blood pressure measurements.”

AF is an irregular heartbeat that can lead to blood clots, stroke, and heart failure, and is a major public health concern, with over 12 million US adults projected to have the disease by 2030. Shah hopes that her research will help some patients avoid the cost, toxicity, and risk associated with currently available AF drugs and treatments.

“This is among one of the most prestigious awards for early-career physician-scientists, and both our division and University of Utah Health are proud to have Dr. Shah as one of this year’s distinguished recipients,” said James Fang, MD, a professor of Internal Medicine and Chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine. “We look forward to watching her career flourish as an independent researcher.”

Shah joins other faculty in the Department of Internal Medicine who have received this prestigious award, including Stavros Drakos, MD (2013) and Adam Spivak, MD (2016). 

In addition to her work as a physician-scientist, Shah serves on the editorial board of Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality of Care and Outcomes. She is a recipient of the inaugural Escalator Award from Women as One and grant support from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. A major professional goal includes increasing the presence of women in leadership roles in cardiovascular medicine, and has supported this goal by through speaking engagements and editorials published in JAMA Cardiology.

-Written by Mandy Skonhovd

Research News