Government and Regulations

Cardiology Collaboration in Washington, DC



Six teams from 4 medical schools convened in the Washington, DC VAMC (DCVAMC) on Friday, September 12, 2014, at the 2nd Annual Fall Meeting of the Association of VA Heart Providers (AVAHeart) to present their latest research findings and professional experiences in managing an array of cardiovascular diseases. About half the registered attendees were from the DC area, but the scope of the presenters’ reach went far beyond the walls of the Freedom Auditorium.

The presenters all discussed poignant hypotheses for best treating their VA cardiology patients. Peter Kokkinos, PhD, director of the Lifestyle Intervention for Veterans (LIVe) program at the DCVAMC, investigated exercise as an alternative to statins in patients who can’t tolerate statins as well as in those whose atrial stiffness, for example, can be alleviated after just 4 weeks of moderate exercise.

Michael Franz, MD, PhD, is currently engaged in a new VA co-op study assessing quality of life issues surrounding implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) implantation in patients aged > 70 years. The DCVAMC study is the “brainchild” of Steven Singh, MD, and is also being conducted by Hans Moore, MD.

But that is just a piece of the bigger picture this organization has in mind for VA cardiology providers. Since the incorporation of AVAHeart less than 2 years ago, the group has aimed “to improve the care of our nation’s veterans with cardiovascular diseases through provider education and collaboration.”

AVAHeart is led by President Pamela Steele, MD; with Vice President Hans Moore, MD; Vice President Pendleton Alexander, MD; Secretary David Lu, MD; and Treasurer Muriel Kneib, PA-C.

Peripheral discussions during the meeting included how the VA struggles with patient recruitment numbers for vital studies as well as the difficulty in attaining certain technologies for trials.

For information on AVAHeart, its mission, membership, and meetings, visit

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