Kevin and Elaine Kauffman Distinguished Chair in Cardiology
It is well known that cardiovascular disease is prevalent, costly and results in substantial disability and death. Indeed, one in three American adults has one or more types of cardiovascular disease (CVD). It is the leading cause of death, claiming as many lives each year as cancer, respiratory diseases and accidents combined and cost Americans and the U.S. health care system nearly $100 billion dollars yearly. These statistics are true regardless of gender or ethnicity, although it is abundantly clear that the most vulnerable groups are at the greatest risk. Thus, CVD represents the major cause of disability and death within the Denver Health population and is a major focus for the institution.
The Division of Cardiology provides a wide range of both in-patient and out-patient services. These include interventional coronary and peripheral artery procedures, electrophysiology procedures such as ablation of arrhythmias, assessment of cardiac function and risk through imaging and stress testing, and cardiac rehabilitation. It is also a critical part of the mission of the Cardiology Division to excel in research endeavors. Indeed the research that occurs within the division covers a broad spectrum, from those focused on the cellular level of cardiovascular diseases to investigations of biological and psychosocial risk factors for development of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and investigations of care delivery methods to improve the quality of life and health outcomes for the patients we care for with manifest CVD.
RESEARCH ACTIVITIES IN THE CARDIOLOGY DIVISION
The research efforts of the division can be conveniently divided into clinical-translational and basic-translational investigations. Although both have, at their core, a patient-centric approach, the former work is quite proximate to the care of patients with cardiovascular disease while the latter is more pre-clinical in nature. The diverse set of investigators and their efforts include projects which are both funded and unfunded. As with all research efforts in medicine today, those projects that are considered innovative but “high risk-high yield” are unlikely to receive support through the usual mechanisms and yet represent exactly the kind of efforts that are most likely to lead to new and novel approaches to disease processes.
Many more opportunities exist for clinical research to improve our ability to prevent CVD and improve quality of life, functional status and health outcomes for those who have disease. The lack of adequate funding is a substantial barrier to maintaining high level research efforts. With dedicated funding for research, Cardiology could undertake further clinical studies that would lead to better treatments and help patients recover from acute cardiovascular events, gain control of their disease process and return to work and a good quality of life. Additional research activities that could enhance the ability of our Division to provide the highest quality patient-centered care for Denver Health patients include:
The implementation of a widespread screening program for pre-clinical atherosclerotic disease in the Community Health System (CHS).
The development of population-based disease registries.
The strengthening of our understanding of how we can help patients and their families successfully manage their chronic disease.
The investigation into how healthcare delivery can be changed to overcome unique barriers faced by our patient population.
The Kevin and Elaine Kauffman Distinguished Chair in Cardiology is an invaluable resource and will provide dedicated funds for investigations that would ultimately make a substantial difference in the lives of Denver Health patients. Moreover an endowment would allow our section to maintain its prominence in the hospital as an effective and productive group of physician-scientists, improving our ability to retain the talented group that exists currently as well as recruit additional innovative thinkers in an environment that is highly competitive in the academic medicine marketplace.