Cardiology 2020: New Frontiers in Cardiology

reprinted from Issue 20, Spring 2015 of Frontiers of Medicine (PDF)

The UCSF Division of Cardiology has launched Cardiology 2020, a bold plan to advance key areas of cardiologyrelated research, patient care and education in the coming decades. "In recent years, we have made remarkable advances in treating coronary disease, and we want to make similar progress in how we prevent and treat other forms of heart disease," says Jeffrey Olgin, MD, chief of the Division of Cardiology. "In partnership with our supporters, our vision is for UCSF to be at the forefront of discovery in these new frontiers in cardiology."

Cardiology 2020 is already off to an exciting start, with the recent commitment of two major gifts:

Robert A. Naify, Jan Vandebos and Alexis Tangier, a race filly that the couple bred and own.

Robert A. Naify has pledged $17 million to establish the Robert A. Naify Center for Atrial Fibrillation Research. Atrial fibrillation is the most common abnormal heart rhythm problem, affecting nearly 3 million Americans. It is a leading cause of stroke, and often produces debilitating symptoms, including shortness of breath, dizziness and fatigue. Yet physicians are unable to predict which patients will develop this condition, and current treatments merely suppress the abnormal rhythm, rather than addressing the underlying causes of atrial fibrillation.

"The Robert A. Naify Center for Atrial Fibrillation Research will bring together a broad range of researchers to discover ways to predict, prevent and cure atrial fibrillation," says Olgin. "UCSF has a long history of excellence in this area, and Mr. Naify's gift will catapult our efforts to develop better treatments for patients."

"We are making this gift in the hopes of helping other heart patients have more productive lives," says Naify. "Jan and I are very proud that the research we are supporting will help patients with atrial fibrillation enjoy better health and improved quality of life. Thanks to Dr. Olgin and his team for their diligence and dedication to the project."

Charles Schwab has pledged $15 million to establish the UCSF Center for Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death. The number one killer in the United States, sudden cardiac death (SCD) is responsible for 425,000 deaths annually — yet many patients have no symptoms until the fatal incident, making prevention difficult. The Center will include the Murray R. Davis Faculty Fund, which will help recruit and support leading researchers, and the Schwab Venture Fund, which will provide seed money for high-risk, high-reward investigations related to SCD.

From left: Murray R. Davis, Virginia Schwab Davis and Charles Schwab. Mr. Schwab recently made a gift in memory of Mr. Davis to establish the UCSF Center for Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death

"Building on our existing expertise and partnerships, the UCSF Center for the Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death will develop better ways to identify patients and populations at high risk, and provide potentially life-saving interventions before tragedy occurs," says Olgin.

Schwab made this gift in memory of his son-in-law, Murray R. Davis, who passed away suddenly in 2012 at the age of 57. Davis was a loving husband to Virginia Schwab Davis, a devoted father to their three sons, and a longtime youth baseball coach who also served as president of the Piedmont Baseball Foundation. "UCSF's work on sudden cardiac death is an important cause to support and I am happy to do so," says Schwab. "I would love it if Murray's memory can help contribute to preventing the tragedy of SCD for others."

"These two gifts are truly transformative," says Olgin. "Their size and structure allow us to do things that we cannot do with ordinary research funds from the National Institutes of Health." These include establishing endowments to support dedicated research time for key faculty members, building shared resources such as a biospecimen bank and a clinical research database, and creating pilot grants to jump-start innovative research projects.

"Cardiology 2020 is our blueprint for the next chapter of discovery, innovation and patient care," says Olgin. "We are thrilled by the outstanding support we have received so far, and look forward to collaborating with many others to improve heart health for our patients at UCSF and around the world."

Vision for the Future of Cardiology

In addition to the Robert A. Naify Center for Atrial Fibrillation Research and the UCSF Center for Prevention of Sudden Cardiac Death, Olgin and his colleagues envision that Cardiology 2020 will help support a number of other areas, such as:

  • Mobile health: UCSF will expand upon its Health eHeart Study, which is enrolling 1 million participants worldwide and leverages mobile technology and “Big Data” approaches to improve understanding of heart disease and develop better treatments.
  • Structural heart disease: As people live longer, increasing numbers are developing valvular disease; surgical advances are also helping children born with heart defects to survive into adulthood, but they require ongoing care. Additional support will allow UCSF investigators to develop less invasive therapies and better treatments.
  • Heart failure: This condition develops when the heart is unable to pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. With additional support, researchers can make pivotal discoveries that will guide better treatments for this widespread condition.
  • Women’s Heart Center: UCSF hopes to better understand how women’s risk of heart disease may differ from men’s, and how to better predict, prevent and treat heart disease – the number one killer of American women.
  • Addressing disparities in cardiovascular disease: UCSF hopes to better understand the biology of adversity and ethnic/ racial disparities in heart disease.
  • Cardiovascular care innovation center: UCSF is committed to pioneering better ways to deliver care, such as reducing the number of preventable heart failure readmissions, and telemedicine visits giving patients across the globe access to a UCSF cardiologist.

For more information about how to support Cardiology 2020, please contact Senior Director of Development Eileen Murphy at, or (415) 502-0746.

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