2024 Heart Health Faculty Expert List – USC News and Events

2024 Heart Health Faculty Expert List – USC News and Events

February is American Heart Month. The University of South Carolina is home to many faculty members who are available to offer their expertise in cardiac care and research. To coordinate an interview, contact the staff member listed with each expert entry.

Rural heart health

Gaynell Magwood is a nurse scientist who works and advocates extensively with the communities and health systems of medically underserved areas of South Carolina. Magwood’s team is funded as a center to address cardiovascular stroke disparities. Her work addresses racial, ethnic, and rural disparities through community-engaged health equity research. She collaborates with researchers and clinicians at regional, national and international levels, such as in leadership roles on the Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing Council. Her work for the American Heart Association includes mentoring other cardiovascular stroke researchers.

News contact: Nicole Meares, [email protected], 803-777-9147.

Women’s heart health

Jewel Scott is a cardiovascular health researcher who studies the development of health over time. As a College of Nursing assistant professor in biobehavioral health and nursing science, her focus is stress and adversity on cardiovascular health and factors that promote well-being, particularly among adolescent and young women of color. “Risk factors such as pregnancy complications, chronic stress, and depressive symptoms are important considerations to optimize the heart health of young black women,” says Scott. Her research is based on her clinical practice experience in community health centers with uninsured and underinsured individuals in urban and rural settings.

News contact: Nicole Meares, [email protected], 803-777-9147.

Heart disease and health disparities

Dawn Wilson-King, professor of psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences, leads a research program on developing innovative ways to promote cardiovascular health in underserved populations. Her research includes promoting healthy diet and physical activity for minority youth and their families and developing effective childhood obesity prevention programs. Wilson-King leads a National Institutes of Health-funded project called Families Getting Better Together (FIT) for weight loss targeting African-American teens and their parents who are at high risk for diabetes and related chronic diseases with them.

News contact: Bryan Gentry, [email protected], 434-333-0057.

Heart intervention

Dr. Jesse Jorgensen is board certified in interventional cardiology and cardiovascular disease. His focus is performing cardiovascular interventions that open blockages in the arteries of the heart and the peripheral arteries of the legs and kidneys. His special interests include complex structural heart interventions to close holes and fix problematic valves, as well as transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) minimally invasive approaches to performing cardiac catheterization and cardiac stents. This leads to faster recovery after surgery than traditional open heart surgery and shorter hospital stays.

News contact: Kendall Givens-Little, [email protected], 864-455-8209.

New treatments for heart failure

Dr. Frank Spinale researches new treatment options that can be brought back into practice for the leading causes of heart failure, which is the leading cause of death and disability in South Carolina. He works to advance our understanding and potential treatment in the field of cardiovascular remodeling, which addresses changes in the heart after injury. He helped lead a new generation of heart failure drugs with clinical development work for Entresto. Spinale leads a research team studying a type of heart failure that is on the rise where the heart pumps normally but is too stiff to fill properly, called heart failure with preserved ejection fraction.

News contact: Emily Miles, [email protected], 803-727-0471.

Cardiovascular disease

Dr. Clinton Webb can talk about the causes of stress-induced cardiovascular disease and the search for treatments. His research aims to provide new treatment targets for lowering blood pressure that originates in the nervous system due to stress. High blood pressure and the damage to blood vessels it causes that leads to cardiovascular disease is a huge emotional and financial burden for patients with chronically high blood pressure. Other research has focused on the central role of inflammation and the vascular aspects of erectile and clitoral dysfunction, which are themselves predictors of cardiovascular disease. He is director of the Columbia School of Medicine’s Cardiovascular Translational Research Center and Institute for Cardiovascular Research.

News contact: Emily Miles, [email protected], 803-727-0471.

Colin Evans studies how blood vessels respond when they are blocked or injured and then examines whether these responses can be used to treat inflammatory vascular diseases. In the Evans Laboratory at USC’s Columbia School of Medicine, vascular responses to how blood clots in an artery or vein (known as thrombosis) are looked at for ways to improve treatments for inflammatory vascular diseases, including acute respiratory distress syndrome . Using clinically relevant disease models and gene editing and drug delivery techniques, the Evans Laboratory focuses on two discrete but related disease areas: thrombus formation and resolution, and inflammatory lung injury and repair.

News contact: Gregory Hardy, [email protected], 352-362-7052.

Camilla Ferreira Wenceslau is an associate professor of biomedical engineering and principal investigator of the Laboratory of Vascular Biology at the USC School of Medicine in Columbia. Her lab’s goal is to understand vascular function in cardiovascular disease, and she studies vascular-immune network-related functions in hypertension, metabolic syndrome, aging, sepsis, and drug abuse. Specifically, Wenceslau and her team study the role of immunoreceptors, the mechanics of blood vessels and the dynamics of blood flow. She is also an associate professor in the department of cell biology and anatomy through the Columbia School of Medicine Cardiovascular Translational Research Center.

News contact: Gregory Hardy, [email protected], 352-362-7052.

Jingkai Wei is an assistant professor of epidemiology and biostatistics whose main area of ​​research is in the links between cardiovascular disease and aging and cognitive decline. He is particularly interested in how lifestyle choices of physical activity and diet affect those chronic disease outcomes, along with the psychosocial issues of depression and vascular risk factors such as hypertension and subclinical atherosclerosis.

News contact: Gregory Hardy, [email protected], 352-362-7052.

Banner image provided by Freepik.

Why does it matter?

  • Heart disease was the leading cause of death in South Carolina in 2020, according to the KS Department of Health and Environmental Control.
  • For African-American women, heart disease was the leading cause of death in South Carolina in 2020, when 1,401 died.
  • Heart disease accounted for 75,886 hospitalizations in South Carolina during 2020, with total hospitalization charges of more than $6.8 billion.
  • Approximately 6.7 million Americans over the age of 20 have heart failure, and the prevalence is expected to increase to 8.5 million Americans by 2030, according to the Journal of Cardiac Failure.

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