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Foundation puts its money into heart health

Even before the plane taking him to his fellowship interview landed‚ Santiago Garcia‚ M.D.‚ knew that he wanted to continue his cardiology training at the University of Minnesota.

Cardiology fellow Santiago Garcia, M.D.

At an American Heart Association meeting in 2004‚ Garcia had attended a session on the most influential clinical trials in cardiovascular medicine.

“I remember that two out of the 10 most influential clinical trials came from this University‚” he says. “For any trainee interested in clinical cardiology and medical research‚ the cardiology fellowship program at the University of Minnesota offers a unique opportunity to be trained by the best in the field.”

And thanks to generous support from the Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation and other sources that fund their training program‚ Santiago and other research fellows can continue to learn from the University’s—and the world’s—best. They are taught to attack cardiovascular disease from several angles‚ to treat disease‚ detect heart problems earlier‚ and ultimately prevent heart damage from occurring in the first place.

That 360-degree approach to heart disease made a lot of sense to the Andersen Foundation board of directors‚ says president Jerold Wulf‚ especially the prevention aspect.

“When we first heard about it‚ there really wasn’t a lot of information on individual health habits and physical [factors] that might have an impact on heart disease‚” Wulf says. “It seemed like something that really needed to be done. It was a brilliant plan‚ in our opinion.”

So they stepped up to help turn the plan into reality. From 2000 to 2006‚ the foundation had given a total of $2.25 million to the Friends of Cardiology Fund‚ which supports fellow education as well as research and patient care in the Division of Cardiology.

In June‚ the Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation pledged another $1.25 million to fund heart disease prevention programs‚ including research initiatives and training for cardiology fellows studying disease prevention.

Additionally‚ the foundation has committed $2 million to fund the Fred C. and Katherine B. Andersen Foundation Chair in Adult Clinical Cardiology‚ which will be used to recruit an internationally recognized leader in that field.

“The Andersen Foundation’s ongoing support will lead us to new discoveries that will improve the quality of life for patients with heart disease and revolutionize our strategies to prevent it‚” says cardiology division chief Daniel J. Garry, M.D., Ph.D. “It will have a worldwide impact on patient care.”

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