Meet the 2011 Furman Fund Travel Scholarship Awardees
Third annual Furman Fund travel scholarships inspire young physicians and scientists
May 25, 2011 — The Heart Rhythm Foundation's The Furman Fund awarded three travel scholarships to cardiologists-in-training and an allied health professional interested in pursuing electrophysiology research: Daniel B. Kramer, MD; Rachel ter Bekke, MD; and Tracey J. Littlefield, RN, BSN. The three received their awards on Tuesday, May 3, 2011 during the Foundation's Heart Rhythm 2011 VIP reception at the St Regis Hotel in San Francisco, CA. The scholarship includes free registration to the Heart Rhythm Society's 32nd Annual Scientific Sessions and payment of travel expenses.
From left, Rachel ter Bekke, MD; Heart Rhythm Society President Bruce Wilkoff, MD, FHRS, CCDS; Daniel Kramer, MD; Michael H. Barber, MD, Ph.D., FHRS and Tracey Littlefield, RN, BSN.
In response to the volume of outstanding applications for this year's scholarships, Michael J. Barber, MD, Ph.D., chair of the Furman Travel Scholarship review committee, stated that "I would give most of the applicants funds, as they all seem deserving."
Daniel B. Kramer, MD, Fellow of the Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, MA plans to advance his career in cardiac electrophysiology, medical ethics and health care policy. He is currently working with Mark E. Josephson, MD as a third year fellow in Beth Israel's Cardiovascular Fellowship Training Program. He has taken a lead role in a number of research projects and was the lead investigator for an NIH-funded pilot study on the ethical and legal controversies in end-of-life-care for cardiac device patients.
Dr. Kramer says that he expanded his connections to the EP world: "This year's Scientific Sessions included robust debate around quality and appropriateness of clinical care. I heard experts challenge each other on the most difficult questions surrounding device-based therapy and clinical guidelines, health care reform, and the complexities of academic-industry relationships. The Furman Fund helped me make the most of my opportunity to present my own research and interact with experts from around the world."
Rachel ter Bekke, MD, Cardiology Fellow of Maastricht University Medical Center of Maastricht, The Netherlands, has been sponsored by Hein Wellens, MD, and will be entering a clinical electrophysiology fellowship starting in October. Bekke began her Ph.D. research project in April under the supervision of Dr. P. Volders, MD, Ph.D., where she will be investigating adrenergic-induced arrhythmogenesis in susceptible human hearts and the role of spontaneous sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium release in the generation of ventricular aftercontractions, early afterdepolarizations and tachyarrhythmia.
Tracey J. Littlefield, RN, BSN, of the Brigham and Woman's Hospital of Boston, MA was sponsored for the Furman Travel Scholarship by William Stevenson, MD, FHRS.
Ms. Littlefield said, "I am honored to have been chosen as a Furman Travel Scholarship recipient allowing me to attend HRS 2011. Having worked in an active, high-volume lab I truly appreciate the wealth of knowledge available at the HRS sessions. The unique blend of core curriculum and research advances available at these sessions are a staple in education and training of the EP community," said Ms Littlefield. "As a recipient of the Furman Travel Scholarship I have not only set a positive example for my peers but other allied health professionals as well. I hope to encourage other allied health professionals with an inquisitive mind to get involved in the vast opportunities the Heart Rhythm Society can offer. Education and experience is what motivates and encourages me to make positive changes in the lives of my patients, coworkers and employers. With the superb reputation of your society and its symposiums, I am honored to have attended. Thanks to your generous support I was able to present an accepted abstract, attend multiple poster and oral presentations, support co-workers and network with others in the field."
Stevenson states, "Littlefield has been an outstanding EP nurse for the past seven years. She is expert in the care and monitoring of patients during EP studies, administration of conscious sedation, performing programmed electrical stimulation, and running the EP laboratory recording system. She has expanded her focus on clinical teaching and is intent on broadening her skills, expanding her education and clinical investigation." Nurse Littlefield hopes to gain a more detailed perspective and innovative insight into current and future research potential with a plan on extending that potential to coworkers of future departmental projects.
The Furman Travel Scholarship 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 inspiring clinicians and students to further develop their careers, educating the clinical and lay community about the field of heart rhythm management and treatment and preserving the history of cardiac pacing. Kramer, Bekke and Littlefield are all worthy of this travel scholarship as they plan on focusing their careers in academic cardiology.
The Furman Fund Travel Scholarship awards were presented by Dr. Barber. Other application reviewers include: Ania C. Garlitski, MD, FHRS; Stephen C. Vlay, MD, FHRS, CCDS; Peter Kowey, MD, FHRS; and Sanjiv M. Narayan, MD, Ph.D., FHRS. St. Jude Medical provided an unrestricted educational grant in part to the Furman Fund to support this worthy endeavor.