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NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 14, 2016 — The American Heart Association presented its Research Achievement Award for 2016 to Robert M. Califf, M.D., “for his visionary clinical research leading to paradigm-changing procedures that have directly and significantly improved, in innumerable ways, the management of patients with cardiovascular disease.”

Califf, now Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, received the award, a citation and $2,500 honorarium, during the opening of the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2016 on Sunday, Nov. 13, at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center.  AHA President Steven Houser, Ph.D., of Temple University in Philadelphia, made the presentation.

“Beginning in the mid-1980s, Dr. Califf led a global team of investigators in forming a collaboration to study novel therapeutic approaches for patients with heart disease,” Houser said as he presented the award.  This group carried out 10 multicenter clinical trials that evaluated reperfusion strategies for heart attack. The success of these trials led to a worldwide comparison of the clot-busting drugs streptokinase and tissue plasminogen activator to treat coronary blockages.

Califf was among pioneers creating the Duke University Database for Cardiovascular Disease, which remains the world’s largest and longest-established observational database of cardiovascular patients, Houser said. Using the database, Califf created models to allow clinicians to predict both the presence and severity of coronary artery disease.

“Dr. Califf’s research teams’ and collaborators’ findings have not only made innumerable contributions to our understanding of cardiovascular diseases, including coronary artery disease, heart failure, myocardial infarction and acute coronary syndromes, they have directly and meaningfully impacted the way patients with cardiovascular disease are managed, resulting in practice-changing therapies,” Houser said. He noted that numerous American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology guidelines are based on results of this research.


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