2009 Furman Fund Travel Scholarships Presented
The Furman Fund awards first travel scholarships to inspire young physicians and scientists
May 19, 2009 — For the first time, the Heart Rhythm Foundation’s Furman Fund has awarded two scholarships to cardiologists-in-training who are interested in pursuing electrophysiology research.
Left to right, Michael Barber, MD, chair of the Furman Travel Scholarship review committee, Cevher Ozcan, MD and Anita Wokhlu, MD.
The inaugural winners of the Furman Travel Scholarships are Anita Wokhlu, MD, of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, and Cevher Ozcan, MD, of Yale University, New Haven, CT. They received their awards Tuesday evening during the Foundation’s VIP reception at the Liberty Hotel. The scholarship included registration to Heart Rhythm 2009 and travel expenses.
The fund is named for Seymour Furman, MD, FHRS, who was a pioneer in cardiac pacing and electrophysiology. Dr. Furman developed the first transvenous technique for implanting a pacemaker in 1958 and was a founding member of NASPE, now the Heart Rhythm Society. The Furman Fund focuses on preserving the history of cardiac pacing, inspiring clinicians and students to further develop their careers, and educating the clinical and lay community about the field of heart rhythm management and treatment.
“I have a sense of ‘initiation’ and welcoming into the electrophysiology community,” said Dr. Wokhlu after receiving her award. “I also feel galvanized to work harder in what I have decided is a really complex field that will keep me busy forever.” She plans to pursue an academic career that combines an ablation practice with interest in mapping and cellular therapy to treat arrhythmias. Dr. Wokhlu is currently working on two research projects in the laboratory of Douglas L. Packer, MD, FHRS. The first requires the integration of delayed enhancement imaging, strain assessment and voltage mapping of the left ventricle. The second focuses on cell therapy for arrhythmias.
Dr. Ozcan plans to pursue a career as a clinical cardiac electrophysiologist as well as a translational researcher. Dr. Ozcan is working with Raymond Russell, MD, on cutting-edge research focused on cellular metabolism and arrhythmias during ischemia/reperfusion injury aiming to identify the role of mitochondrial uncoupling protein in myopreservation and arrhythmia.
The Furman Fund Travel Scholarship awards were presented by Michael Barber, MD, chair of the Furman Travel Scholarship review committee. Other reviewers include: Leslie Saxon, MD, FHRS; Sanjiv Narayan, MD and Johannes Brachmann, MD, FHRS.
About the Heart Rhythm Foundation
The mission of the Heart Rhythm Foundation is to enhance the prevention and treatment of cardiac rhythm disorders by supporting the research, education and advocacy efforts of the Heart Rhythm Society. Its goal is to promote a culture of giving in service to this mission.
In additon to the above-mentioned travel scholarships, The Furman Fund contains such projects as the Electricity and the Heart website (displaying the history of cardiac rhythm disorders), the Oral History collection (created to provide a look into pacing and electrophysiology) and the Rhythms in Time exhibit which showcases the device collection at the Society's Annual Scientific Sessions.
Those interested in donating to the Furman Fund or providing the Society with relevant devices and research should contact Betsy Bogdansky at (202) 464-3454, bbogdansky@HRSonline.org or Ashleigh Covington at (202) 464-9854, acovington@HRSonline.org for further information. You may support the Foundation by donating online — your contribution will enable the Society to be the primary resource for healthcare professionals and the voice of support for patients with cardiac arrhythmia disorders.