CardioNerds Academy

CardioNerds Academy

CardioNerds Academy

Welcome to the Cardionerds Academy! 

The CardioNerds Academy was founded to further the democratization of cardiovascular education and to create digital content for asynchronous medical education with the overarching mission of marrying content creation with personal and professional development. The Academy harnesses the entire CardioNerds network and platform to facilitate mentorship, networking, and collaborative efforts at the national and international level.

CardioNerds Fellows are an exceptional group of individuals dedicated to medical education who were selected through a competitive application process. CardioNerds academy fellows are divided into 4 equal “Houses of Cards” that are named after cardiology legends, Vivian Thomas, Helen Taussig, Edith Jones, and Willem Einthoven.

During the fellowship year, CardioNerds Academy Fellows will: 

✔️Create high-quality asynchronous digital medical education content including podcasts, #tweetorials, infographics, blogs, and more! 
✔️Have access to the larger CardioNerds network including Ambassadors from Honor Roll programs, guests, collaborators, and more!

CardioNerds Chief Fellows will lead The Academy:

✔️Mentor and oversee content creation & capstone projects of CardioNerds Fellows 
✔️Learn and teach best practices for digital medical education for asynchronous learning   
✔️Have access to the larger CardioNerds network including Ambassadors from Honor Roll programs, guests, collaborators, and more!

Now accepting Applications for the 2022 class!

If you’re a current internal medicine resident, interested in the intersection between medical education, cardiovascular disease and digital media, consider applying to the CardioNerds Academy using this link. The deadline for this application is October 15th 2021. 

CardioNerds Academy Fellows

Dr. Devesh Rai

Dr. Devesh Rai

Rochester General Hospital

Devesh @DeveshRaiMD is a Cardiovascular Disease Fellow at Rochester General Hospital. He was awarded as the best PGY3 of the year for his clinical acumen and peer teaching abilities and was chief resident. During residency, he has received travel and research grants and involved in multiple prospective studies. He is interested in pursuing a career in imaging, prevention, and #MedEd. He is involved in gender-based disparities and outcomes. Over the weekends, he is hiking with his wife @RitambharaMD and exploring western NY. 
Dr. Jessie Holtzman

Dr. Jessie Holtzman

University of California, San Francisco

Dr. Jessie Holtzman (@jholtzman3) is an internal medicine resident at the University of California, San Francisco. She received her medical degree from Harvard Medical School, before which she had the time of her life as a Fulbright Scholar doing research in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She ultimately hopes to pursue a career that combines clinical cardiology with an emphasis on women’s cardiovascular health, medical education, and policy making. In her spare time, Jessie loves kayaking on the San Francisco bay, as well as reading about medical device regulation and novel payment models.
Dr. Juliette Power

Dr. Julie Power

University of Minnesota

Julie Power @JuliettePower44 is a cardiology fellow at the University of Minnesota. She completed medical school at Drexel University in Philadelphia followed by residency training at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh where she also served a Chief Resident. In addition to a continued involvement in medical education, Julie plans to pursue additional training in interventional cardiology after her general cardiology fellowship. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, including exploring Minnesota with her boyfriend, Steve.
Dr. Patrick Zakka

Dr. Patrick Zakka

Emory University

Patrick Zakka is a cardiology fellow at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He completed his internal medicine residency and chief resident year at Emory in Atlanta, and his medical school at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. He completed two additional years of research there in cardiac electrophysiology. He is passionate about research, particularly in the field of stereotactic ablation of arrhythmias, and medical education especially in the expanding world of social media. In his free time, Patrick enjoys playing and watching basketball, and eating all kinds of foods.
Dr. Luis Calderon - CardioNerds

Dr. Luis Calderon

MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute

Luis Calderon is an internal medicine hospitalist at MedStar Washington Hospital Center Heart and Vascular Institute, practicing with the Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant program. Prior to his career in medicine, he was an ICU nurse while active duty in the US Navy. He later received his medical degree at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and completed his residency at Georgetown University Hospital. His current interests lay with medical informatics, point of care ultrasound, and medical education. When not nerding professionally, he enjoys binging Netflix with his wife and two cats, board games, hiking, and Big East basketball (HOYA SAXA!).
Dr. Dinu Balanescu

Dr. Dinu-Valentin Balanescu

Beaumont Hospital

Dr. Dinu Balanescu is an internal medicine resident at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan. Born and raised in the vibrant city of Bucharest in Romania, he completed medical school at the Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy. In medical school, he served as Vice President for External Relations at the Scientific Organization of Medical Students (SOMS) and founded and chaired the SOMS Cardiovascular department within the same organization. Prior to starting residency in Michigan, he spent 9 months at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, working extensively with faculty on Cardio-Oncology research. His clinical and research focus is on endovascular therapies, particularly in cancer patients, as well as immunotherapy-induced cardiomyopathies and cardiovascular technology for imaging and therapeutics. A self-proclaimed techie and audiophile, he’ll insist that you need to overclock your CPU and to get better speakers to listen to your favorite music.
Dr. Najah Khan

Dr. Najah Khan

Houston Methodist Hospital

Dr. Najah Khan is an internal medicine resident at Houston Methodist Hospital in Houston, TX. She completed her medical school training at Texas A&M College of Medicine in Bryan, TX. Najah’s clinical and research interests include cardiovascular education, social media for medical education, preventative cardiology, women’s health, and cardiovascular imaging. She is passionate about improving medical education and continues to work with medical students and clinical preceptors/coordinators at Houston Methodist. She enjoys board games, petting cats, trying new gadgets, and writing poetry/puns (#Najahkhardia).
Dr. Ahmed Ghoneem

Dr. Ahmed Ghoneem

Lahey Hospital & Medical Center

Ahmed Ghoneem is an internal medicine resident at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington, Massachusetts. He received his medical degree from Alexandria University in Egypt, where he also completed a 4-year cardiology residency and one year as a junior faculty member. In 2018, he joined the Cardiovascular Imaging Research Center at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston as a clinical research fellow up until he started his residency last July. His interests include cardiac PET imaging, mechanical circulatory support and interventional cardiology, with a special passion for structural interventions. Outside the hospital, he is quite the movie buff ; a huge fan of Quentin Tarantino and “everything Batman”.
Dr. Isadora Sande Mathias

Dr. Isadora Sande Mathias

Cleveland Clinic

Isadora “Isa” Sande Mathias is an internal medicine resident at the Cleveland Clinic, and rising cardiology fellow at the Houston Methodist Hospital. She was born and raised in the diverse city of Salvador de Bahia, Brazil, where she completed her medical school in 2017. Isa has always been upbeat, outgoing, making friends everywhere, and thus interested in connecting with people from different backgrounds and cultures, and that combined with a strong passion for cardiology and education attracted her to CardioNerds. In her free time, she likes to cook and try new restaurants, run, hike and practice yoga outdoors, and spend time with her cat Caju.
Dr. Teodora Donisan

Dr. Teodora Donisan

Beaumont Hospital

Teodora Donisan @TDonisan is an internal medicine resident at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan. She completed medical school at the Carol Davila University of Medicine and Pharmacy, in her home country of Romania. After medical school, she worked as cardiology resident in Bucharest for 2 years, followed by a research rotation in interventional cardio-oncology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Teo is passionate about medical education and loves the rush of the cardiac intensive care unit. She is interested in pursuing an academic career in interventional cardiology. She dreams of photographing wildlife in all National Parks in the United States.
Dr. Madiha Khan - Cardionerds

Dr. Madiha Khan

Houston Methodist Hospital

Madiha Khan (@MadihaKhanDO) is an Internal medicine Chief Resident at Houston Methodist Hospital. Madiha is passionate about medical education and plans to pursue a fellowship in Cardiology. She has special interests in preventative cardiology and health care disparities. Like a true Nerd, Madiha spends her days playing FIFA. She also loves trying new local Houston food and writing funny-but-helpful reviews for them.
Dr. Omid Amidi - CardioNerds

Dr. Omid Amidi

University of California, Los Angeles

Omid Amidi (OAmidi MD) is a cardiology fellow at University of California, Los Angeles. He completed medical school at SUNY Downstate College of Medicine and went on to complete his internal medicine residency at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. Omid is an active writer, with a focus on narrative medicine. He was part of the AHA Early Career Blogger Program in 2018-2019. His research interests include cardio-oncology with a focus on chemotherapy induced cardiotoxicity and coronary disease.
Dr. Hussain Khalid - CardioNerds

Dr. Hussain Khalid

University of Florida Health

Hussain Khalid @HussainMKCards is a cardiology fellow at University of Florida Health. He completed his medical school at University of Florida College of Medicine and residency at University Hospitals/Case Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio. He is passionate about medical education and plans to pursue a career in general cardiology with an emphasis on advanced imaging. His current research interests include TTE/TEE correlates of success for structural interventions.

CardioNerds Academy Interns

Dr. Gurleen Kaur - Cardionerds

Gurleen Kaur

Albany Medical College

Gurleen (@Gurleen_Kaur96) is a 4th year medical student at Albany Medical College in NY. She went to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and was part of the physician-scientist program. In medical school, she has been actively involved in Cardiology research and is passionate about cardiovascular prevention and Cardio-Obstetrics. She is a member of the ACC Medical Student Leadership Group and serves on the Editorial Committee for the medical student perspective page. She will be pursuing residency in internal medicine and envisions a future career that combines clinical Cardiology and medical education. In her free time, Gurleen enjoys traveling, trying out new restaurants, eating ice cream, and baking.
Pace Wetstein

Pace Wetstein

Stevenson University Premed Cohort

Pace (“Pacey) Wetstein, known by some as Cardiologist@Heart, is a passionate premed student, and recently graduated from Stevenson University in Baltimore, MD. He is fortunate to have taken part in cardiology research in Johns Hopkins, intern in University of Maryland PICU and Shock Trauma, and receive mentoring from physicians in several fields. While diligently studying for the MCAT, he maintains a strong passion for cardiology and medicine at-large. Pacey is also a lifeguarding and basic life support instructor for the American Red Cross, and an amateur radio operator as a volunteer for RACES (Radio Amateur Communications Emergency Service). As a hobby, Pacey enjoys taking nature walks and singing. Joining the CardioNerds team is going to be a tremendously amazing experience!
Leticia Pretti Pimenta - CardioNerds

Dr. Leticia Helms

Federal University of Minas Gerais

Leticia Helms @PrettiPimentaMD is a Brazilian physician who completed medical school at the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Leticia is currently applying for internal medicine residency in the United States. She is also the US National coordinator for the COVID 19 Critical Care Consortium and the Scientific Committee Coordinator for the International ECMONetwork. She loves playing sports and traveling to different countries.
Maryam Barkhordarian - CardioNerds

Dr. Maryam Barkhordarian

Shiraz University of Medical Sciences

Maryam Barkhordarian is a research observer at UT health San Antonio. Upon obtaining her medical degree from Shiraz University in Iran, she moved to the United States to continue her career in internal medicine and cardiology. She is passionate about medical education and is currently working with the Wikidoc team at Harvard University to prepare a medical source for students and residents. She is also interested in cardioimaging and interventional cardiology. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, watching movies, and spending time with family.
Christian Faaborg-Andersen

Christian Faaborg-Andersen

Emory University School of Medicine

Christian (@c_andersen_1) is a fourth-year medical student at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. He attended college at Georgetown University, followed by two years at the National Institutes of Health where he worked as a research fellow. As a medical student, Christian developed an interest in Global Health and Preventative Cardiology, and has been actively involved in both fields, clinically and through his research. He is a member of the ACC Medical Student Leadership Group and serves on the Editorial Committee for the Medical Student Perspectives Page. Next year, Christian will be pursuing residency in Internal Medicine. He dreams of one day crafting a career that combines clinical Cardiology, global health, and medical education. In his free time, Christian enjoys relaxing with friends, playing volleyball, and fly fishing on the Chattahoochee River. He also loves traveling and hopes to incorporate many international experiences into his practice as a physician in the future. 
Adriana Mares

Adriana Mares

Texas Tech University Health Sciences

Adriana C. Mares (@AdrianaCMares) is a student at the University of Texas at El Paso/Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. Inspired by her current research and encouraged by mentors, she is motivated to pursue a career in academic cardiology and interventional cardiology.

Her research interests include all aspects of of structural and congenital heart disease, pharmacologic strategies of pulmonary hypertension, integration of precision medicine into cardiovascular care, and the application of artificial intelligence in cardiac imaging.
In conjunction with her studies, Adriana is Founder and President of the Institute of Cardiology at El Paso (ICEP), lead ambassador of the NIH All of Us Research Program, and committee member of her local American Heart Association chapter and pulmonary hypertension support group (El Paso PHighters Support Group). Most recently, Adriana has been elected to the ACC’s Inaugural Medical Student Leadership Group and serves on its Editorial Board.

Outside of medicine, Adriana enjoys playing polo, poetry, creative writing, traveling, hiking with her poodle, and most of all, spending time with her family.

Hirsh Elhence

Hirsh Elhence

Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California

Hirsh is an MS3 at USC in Los Angeles. He hopes to pursue a residency in internal medicine and he is intrigued by a career in cardiology. Specifically, he is interested in heart failure and interventional cardiology. To be honest though, he hasn’t had enough exposure to really know. Additionally, he is interested in teaching because it’s a great way to learn.
Shivani Reddy

Shivani Reddy

Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine

Shivani Reddy (@ShivaniReddy_1) is a 2nd year medical student at Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine (WMed). Prior to medical school, Shivani attended UC Davis and obtained a Bachelor of Science in Cell Biology. As a medical student, Shivani has been actively involved in health literacy initiatives as well as leadership in different organizations at her school, such as Cardiology Interest Group and Internal Medicine Interest Group. She also serves as one of the ACC Medical Student Leadership Group Ambassadors.

CardioNerds Academy Chief Fellows

Dr. Evelyn Song - CardioNerds

Dr. Evelyn Song

Johns Hopkins Hospital

Evelyn is a third year Internal Medicine resident at Johns Hopkins. She majored in Biology at MIT and went to medical school at Penn State. She will be a Heart Failure Hospitalist at UCSF next year and plans to pursue a career in Cardiology. She is interested in Advanced Heart Failure and Cardio-Oncology. When Evelyn is not in the hospital, you can find her playing with her two dogs, trying out new restaurants and recipes, and traveling.
Colin Blumenthal, MD - CardioNerds

Dr. Colin Blumenthal

Johns Hopkins Hospital

Dr. Colin Blumenthal is a third year internal medicine resident at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. He went to The Ohio State University and got a BS and MS in Electrical and Computer Engineering before going to medical school at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland Ohio. After residency, Colin will be moving to Philadelphia to start as a cardiology fellow at the University of Pennsylvania and hopes to pursue a career in Electrophysiology. In his free time, Colin spends most of his time with his wife, young son, and their dog. He loves ice cream and enjoys nature and wildlife photography.
Rick Ferraro, MD - CardioNerds

Dr. Rick Ferraro

Johns Hopkins Hospital

Dr. Rick Ferraro is midwest raised, spent two years as a Teach For America Corps member teaching science in Milwaukee before heading to medical school at Weill Cornell Medicine in NYC. Current senior resident at the Osler Medical Residency program and will begin cardiology fellowship at Johns Hopkins Hospital in 2021. Completed intern year under the incredible leadership of Dr. Amit Goyal. Interested in cardiovascular prevention and imaging

Tommy Das, MD - CardioNerds

Dr. Tommy Das

Johns Hopkins Hospital

Dr. Tommy Das (@ThomasMDas) is a Cardiovascular Medicine fellow at the Cleveland Clinic. He is a native of Houston, TX, and received his MD from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School. He completed his training in Internal Medicine at the Johns Hopkins Hospital Osler Medical Training Program, where he was part of the inaugural medical education pathway. As the grateful recipient of thoughtful and impactful mentorship throughout his career, Tommy is excited to pay it forward by working with an amazing team of educators and clinicians through the CardioNerds Academy Fellowship. His passions range widely from interventional cardiology, medical education in the digital world, folk music, the parks of Northeast Ohio, and pecan pie.

Eunice Dugan, MD

Dr. Eunice Dugan

Johns Hopkins Hospital

Dr. Eunice Dugan is a third year internal medicine resident at Johns Hopkins. She majored in Vocal Performance and Biology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and went to medical school at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Eunice plans to purse a career in Critical Care Cardiology with research interests in intensive care unit outcomes. She is passionate about clinical teaching and innovations in cardiology medical education. Outside of the hospital, Eunice enjoys hikes with her husband and two dogs, listening to choral music, playing volleyball, and planning her next travel adventure. 


Learn about our CardioNerd HeroEs

The Vivien Thomas Fund at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

Vivien Theodore Thomas (1910-1985) was an African-American laboratory technician and instructor of surgery at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore. He was born as the grandson of a slave in Lousiana, working as a carpenter and subsequently as a laboratory technician after the great depression and the loss of his savings derailed his plans to become a doctor. In his role as a laboratory technician, he overcame challenging personal circumstances to become an innovator in paediatric cardiac surgery, despite having no formal college education. He played an important role in assisting Alfred Blalock and Helen Taussig in the development of the ‘Blalock-Taussig’ shunt, a procedure used to improve the survival of children with cyanotic congenital heart defects. He also contributed to major breakthroughs in research covering a spectrum of disorders such as traumatic shock, coarctation of the aorta and transposition of the great arteries. He acted as a teacher and mentor to a generation of surgical residents and technicians who went on to become leaders in their field across the USA. A television film based on his life was premiered by HBO in 2004 titled ‘Something the Lord made’.

(Soylu et al., 2017)

Soylu E, Athanasiou T, Jarral OA. Vivien Theodore Thomas (1910–1985): An African-American laboratory technician who went on to become an innovator in cardiac surgery. J Med Biogr. 2017;25(2):106-113. doi:10.1177/0967772015601566

Kennedy DM. In search of Vivien Thomas. Texas Hear Inst J. 2005;32(4):477-478.

Ng CT in. J. Vivien Thomas (1910-1985): the backstage pioneer and educator. J Invest Surg. 2014;27(3):131-138. doi:10.3109/08941939.2013.865817

Helen B. Taussig - Wikipedia

Taussig, a pioneering pediatric cardiologist, was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She earned an A.B. from the University of California in 1921 and an M.D. from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 1927. Following graduation, Taussig served as an Archibald Fellow in Medicine at Johns Hopkins and worked at the hospital’s heart station until 1928.

She then interned in pediatrics at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. In 1930, Edwards Park appointed Taussig physician-in-charge of the Harriet Lane Cardiac Clinic.  In 1959, she became the second woman at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine to be appointed full professor.  In 1963, Taussig stepped down as physician-in-charge and became professor emeritus of pediatrics.

Taussig was a leader in the diagnosis and treatment of congenital heart disease. In 1944, along with surgeon Alfred Blalock and surgical technician Vivien Thomas, she developed the surgical procedure commonly known as the “blue baby” operation to correct a debilitating and life-threatening congenital heart defect that exhibited blue skin pigmentation, or cyanosis, in children. In addition to saving thousands of lives, the procedure was a major contribution toward the establishment of open heart surgery. Taussig also helped to avert a thalidomide birth defect crisis in the United States, testifying to the Food and Drug Administration on the terrible effects the drug had caused in Europe.

In 1954, she received the prestigious Lasker Award for her work on the “blue baby” operation. In 1964, Taussig received the Medal of Freedom from President Lyndon Johnson. She was elected president of the American Heart Association in 1965.

Dunn PM. Dr Helen Taussig (1898-1986): Pioneering American paediatric cardiologist. Arch Dis Child Fetal Neonatal Ed. 2008;93(1):2006-2009. doi:10.1136/adc.2006.095398

Taegtmeyer H. Helen taussig. Texas Hear Inst J. 2010;37(2):254.

Robays J Van. Helen B . Taussig (1898-1986 ). Facts, Views Vis OBGYN. 2016;8(3):183-187.

Edith Irby Jones - Wikipedia

Edith Irby entered the University of Arkansas School of Medicine in September 1948, becoming the first African American to desegregate a Southern medical school. Seventy years later, she has become a hidden figure in the history of medical education.The author provides a brief biography of Irby (later Jones) and analyzes the factors that led the University of Arkansas to admit Irby, most notably her scholastic excellence and an innovative legal strategy launched by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to eliminate racial inequalities in graduate and professional education. Irby’s admission prompted intensified efforts by medical civil rights activists to desegregate all U.S. medical schools.The author concludes that the 70th anniversary of Irby’s groundbreaking accomplishment provides an opportunity to acknowledge her significant contribution to the history of medical education and to recognize the continued need to erase persistent racial inequalities in the physician workforce.

Gamble, VN (2013)

Gamble VN. No struggle, no fight, no court battle: The 1948 desegregation of the university of arkansas school of medicine. J Hist Med Allied Sci. 2013;68(3):377-415. doi:10.1093/jhmas/jrs025

Gamble VN. Edith Irby: A Hidden Figure in the History of Medical Education. Acad Med. 2019;94(11):1670-1674. doi:10.1097/ACM.0000000000002772

Bernadine Healy, M.D. | National Institutes of Health (NIH)

Dr. Bernadine Healy was a cardiologist with a diverse career spanning the government, nonprofit organizations, and academia. Dr. Healy was the first female Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), serving from April 1991 to June 1993. She also served as Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy appointed by Ronald Reagan. She was President of both the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross. Dr. Healy was a Professor of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Chair of the Research Institute at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, and Professor of Medicine at Ohio State University.  –

Shalala DE. Retrospective. Bernadine Healy (1944-2011). Science. 2011;333(6051):1836. doi:10.1126/science.1213786

Healy B. Bernadine Healy, M.D. August 4, 1944 – August 6, 2011. 2012;(1):2012.

CardioNerds Academy Structure

Special thanks to our collaborators at the NSMC (Nephrology Social Media Collective)