Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Fellowship
Established in 2005, the one-year, ACGME-accredited Advanced Heart Failure and Heart Transplant program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital is overseen by Jonathan D. Rich, MD.
Offering two fellowship positions annually, we follow a standard GME academic calendar (July 1 through June 30) and we participate in the ERAS application process. Our fellows’ 12 months of training are devoted to inpatient and outpatient clinical experiences, caring for heart failure and heart transplant patients who benefit from a multidisciplinary team of cardiologists, surgeons, nurses, pharmacists, psychologists, social workers and dietitians. In addition to acquiring the necessary clinical skills and expertise, a heavy emphasis and commitment is placed on both education and research in order to ensure we are training and equipping our fellows to be the future leaders of academic heart failure.
The Medicare-approved heart transplant program has a one-year survival rate among the best in the country at 96 percent and it is ranked among the top 20 programs nationally and number one in Illinois, performing approximately 30 to 35 transplants yearly.
Our center currently implants more than 60 durable ventricular assist devices every year and takes part in some of the most novel clinical trials in the field. A Blue Distinction Center for Transplants and an Optum Health Center of Excellence, Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Medicare Destination Therapy Ventricular Assist Device Program has been awarded a Certificate of Distinction from The Joint Commission as a result of our ventricular assist device procedures volume, patient care, exceptional level of expertise among specialists and excellent outcomes.
With over 3,000 outpatient heart failure clinic visits annually, the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute’s Center for Heart Failure has also achieved a lower 30-day mortality rate for hospitalized heart failure patients than the U.S. national average.
A robust educational curriculum is provided to our fellows during their year of advanced training. In addition to daily, one-on-one bedside teaching by expert HF faculty (inpatient and outpatient), as well as in the cardiac catheterization laboratory, several educational initiatives serve to supplement the clinical experience:
- A dedicated lecture series, provided by our esteemed faculty, occurs weekly and is tailored to the educational needs of the advanced HF fellow.
- A regular pathology conference to review select cases involving findings during endomyocardial biopsy in both the transplant and native heart.
- A monthly, multidisciplinary advanced imaging conference, with an emphasis on key findings on cardiac MRI in patients with cardiomyopathy of varying etiologies
- Opportunities to formally present interesting, complex clinical cases
- Lead and participate in HF-specific journal clubs.
A variety of research opportunities are available to the advanced fellow during his or her year of training. From the outset of the year, fellows are provided with dedicated, “protected” research time which continues throughout the year in order to maximize opportunities for research productivity. Most fellows will present their research at a major scientific meeting, often leading to a published manuscript and support to attend a scientific meeting is provided.
By the end of the first month of the academic year, a mentor (or mentors) is identified and a research project is initiated. At the end of the year, the fellow will present his/her progress during HF grand rounds. The breadth of research opportunities at Northwestern is wide ranging, reflective of the extensive faculty expertise and plentiful resources at the fellow’s disposal including a multitude of highly enriched databases and many active, ongoing clinical trials. See individual faculty profiles (below) for further information regarding specific faculty research interests.
Our fellows gain significant exposure to and achieve competency in the following areas:
- Outpatient heart failure management including use of standard and novel pharmacological, electrical and surgical therapies
- Rotation through our world-class outpatient HFpEF and Pulmonary Hypertension clinics, respectively
- Advanced inpatient heart failure management using invasive hemodynamic monitoring, tailored therapy with vasodilators, and use of inotropic agents
- Rapid assessment and management of patients in cardiogenic and/or mixed-shock as the point person on our formal Cardiogenic Shock Team service
- Management of patients with percutaneous mechanical circulatory support (including intra-aortic balloon counter pulsation, Tandem Heart, Impella 2.5L, CP, and 5.0L, Impella RP), and durable mechanical circulatory support with HeartMate II, Heartmate 3, and HVAD devices.
- Diagnostic cardiovascular studies including cardiopulmonary exercise testing, right heart catheterization and endomyocardial biopsies
- Evaluation of potential heart transplant candidates, evaluation and management of donors, institution of immunosuppressive protocols for patients immediately post-transplant and management of chronic immunosuppressive therapy as out-patients
- Pathology reviews of endomyocardial biopsies performed; interpretation of antibody testing, cross-matching and principles of rejection
- Evaluation of patients with implantable cardioverter defibrillators, implantable hemodynamic monitors and cardiac resynchronization therapy (including echo-guided optimization)
- Participation in clinical trials including recruitment of patients into studies of novel drugs or devices for heart failure
Diversity and Inclusion
The Department of Medicine at Northwestern University seeks to attract inquisitive, motivated residents and fellows and is committed to providing them with every opportunity for success. The greatest challenges facing the medical field are complex, and addressing them will require a diverse body of physicians and researchers who can work collaboratively. Northwestern offers unparalleled training and research opportunities and encourages fellowship applications from those who seek to become future leaders in the subspecialties of medicine. We are committed to and inspired by a diverse and inclusive work environment that allows each trainee to achieve their personal goals.
For more information on Northwestern’s commitment to diversity please see the following resources:
Requirements and Eligibility
- Completion of ACGME-accredited Cardiovascular Disease fellowship training, as per ABIM guidelines
- Illinois State Medical License
- ABIM board certification or board eligibility
- ECFMG Certficate
We accept applications via ERAS only. In order to be considered for the next Advanced Heart Failure and Transplantation Fellowship Program, candidates must have the following documents available in ERAS by December 31st:
- ERAS Application
- Curriculum Vitae
- Personal Statement (1 Page Max.)
- USMLE Steps I, II and III transcript copy
- ABIM Board Certficate copy
- ECFMG Certificate copy
- One Letter of Recommendation from Cardiovascular Disease Program Director
- Two Letters of Recommendations from Cardiologists familiar with candidate's work
- ACLS/BLS Certification expiration dates
Heart Failure Faculty
Faraz Ahmad, MD, MS, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine, an Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine-Health and Biomedical Informatics, and a faculty member in the Center for Health Information Partnerships in Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine. He graduated from the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine and completed his Internal Medicine Residency at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. He completed his fellowships in cardiovascular medicine and advanced heart failure and transplant cardiology and earned his Master of Science in Health and Biomedical Informatics at Northwestern University.
Dr. Ahmad’s research program is focused on the development of the methods, tools, and technologies to collect, store, analyze, and apply diverse electronic health data—including patient-reported outcomes measures—for improving clinical care, conducting pragmatic clinical trials, and generating real world evidence for patients with heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases. His research in these areas has been supported by multiple organizations, including the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, the Heart Failure Society of America, the National Institutes of Health, and the People-Centered Research Foundation. He serves as the Northwestern Medicine Site Principal Investigator for Chicago Area Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Network (CAPriCORN).
Dr. Hossein Ardehali obtained his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees at Vanderbilt University. He completed his medicine residency and cardiology fellowship training at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. He is currently a Professor of Medicine- Cardiology, and Pharmacology at Northwestern University, and is the Director of the Medical Scientist Training Program. He also serves as the Director of the Center for Molecular Cardiology at Northwestern University.
Dr. Ardehali has received several awards, including the AHA BCVS Young Investigator Award, the Jeremiah Stamler Distinguished Young Investigator Award, and the Schweppe Foundation Award. He is a member and Secretary-Treasurer of the American Society for Clinical Investigation, and serves on numerous AHA committees, including the AHA Council Operations Committee and is the chair of the AHA BCVS communication/Membership committee.
His research focuses on the role of mitochondria and metabolism in cardiovascular disease, with a focus on the role of mitochondrial iron in this process. He has published manuscripts in several journals including Cell Metabolism, Journal of Clinical Investigation, PNAS, and EMBO Molecular Medicine.
Kambiz Ghafourian, MD is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine and a staff cardiologist in the Center for Heart Failure of Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute.
He earned his MD from Tehran University of Medical Sciences. Dr. Ghafourian completed his training in Internal Medicine followed by a fellowship in cardiovascular disease at Washington Hospital Center/Georgetown University. He also completed a fellowship in advanced heart failure and cardiac transplantation at Cedars Sinai Medical Center before joining the faculty at Northwestern University.
Elizabeth McNally is the Director for the Center for Genetic Medicine at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine and the Elizabeth J. Ward Professor of Genetic Medicine. Dr. McNally trained in Internal Medicine and Cardiovascular Medicine at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital with postdoctoral training in Genetics at Children’s Hospital/Howard Hughes Medical Institute in Boston. Dr. McNally directs the Cardiovascular Genetics Program at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, which specializes in providing integrated cardiovascular and genetic evaluation for those with cardiomyopathies and other inherited CV disorders.
Dr. McNally’s research is in the genetic mechanisms that lead to heart failure, especially in the setting of reduced systolic function, and also in the setting of neuromuscular disease. Dr. McNally was named a Charles E. Culpeper Medical Scholar and an Established Investigator of the American Heart Association. She has also been recognized for her translational work by the Burroughs Wellcome Foundation and as a recipient a Distinguished Clinical Scientist Award from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. She serves on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, and CURE SMA. She is a past president of ASCI and a member of the Association of American Physicians.
Ike S. Okwuosa, MD is a cardiologist at Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, where he specializes in advanced heart failure and transplant cardiology.
He received his MD from Georgetown University School of Medicine. His internship and residency were both completed at Northwestern University. He went on to The Johns Hopkins Hospital where he completed his general cardiology and advanced heart failure/cardiac transplant fellowships. He is a member of the American College of Cardiology (ACC), Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA), and the American College of Physicians (ACP).
Dr. Okwuosa’s clinical research interests are in heart failure, pregnancy and cardiovascular disease, and chemotherapy induced heart failure and has published works examining the impact of depression in cardiovascular disease and disparities in cardiovascular disease.
Jonathan D. Rich, MD is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. He serves as Medical Director of the Mechanical Circulatory Support Program and as Program Director for the Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Fellowship within Northwestern Medicine’s Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute.
Dr. Rich has broad research interests within the fields of heart failure, transplant, and mechanical circulatory support and is actively involved in leading both single- and multi-center clinical trials. His primary areas of interest in research include studying right ventricular failure from a variety of causes (including pulmonary hypertension and in the LVAD-supported patient) and outcomes research in patients supported by mechanical circulatory support. He is the principal investigator of Northwestern’s robust LVAD database from which many active research projects are ongoing and from which many residents and fellows benefit from research opportunities.
Dr. Rich has published more than 150 research abstracts, manuscripts, reviews and book chapters and he is regularly invited to present his research at national and international meetings. Considered a gifted speaker and teacher, Dr. Rich regularly provide educational lectures around the country at Grand Rounds and for continuing medical education (CME) organizations. He serves on the Board of Directors for the Heart Failure Society of America and is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology, Heart Failure Society of America, and the Pulmonary Vascular Research Institute.
Stuart Rich, M.D., is a Professor of Medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Rich is one of the world’s most recognized experts on pulmonary vascular diseases. For more than three decades he has dedicated his research and clinical efforts to finding better solutions for pulmonary hypertension.
His career began at the University of Illinois where he was principle investigator for the NIH Registry on Primary Pulmonary Hypertension, the first of its kind, and he has been the leader of the largest clinical center in the U.S. for evaluating and treating patients with pulmonary hypertension since 1980. Dr. Rich has conducted pioneering research on the molecular mechanisms, epidemiology, clinical presentation, natural history and treatments of the disease. He has led the development of virtually every new treatment for pulmonary hypertension, as well as the use of therapeutic procedures and devices. His pioneering research has led to a greater understanding of all types of pulmonary hypertension.
Dr. Stuart Rich has been listed among the country’s top 1% of doctors by Castle Connolly Ltd. and Chicago magazine for more than 30 consecutive years. He has published hundreds of clinical articles and book chapters on pulmonary hypertension. He is Co-Founder of the Pulmonary Vascular Research Institute, a global health professional organization that is committed to bringing advances in treating pulmonary vascular diseases to the developing world. In 2014 he received the Heart for Hope Legacy Award from the Pulmonary Hypertension Association, in 2015 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Pulmonary Vascular Research Institute, and in 2016 was designated a “Living Legend” by the American College of Cardiology.
Sanjiv J. Shah, MD is Professor of Medicine, Director of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Clinical Trials Unit, and Director of the T1 Center for Cardiovascular Therapeutics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Shah is also Director of the Heart Failure with Preserved Ejection Fraction (HFpEF) Program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Dr. Shah’s research interests include understanding the epidemiology, mechanisms, and treatment of HFpEF. Dr. Shah started the first dedicated HFpEF clinical program at Northwestern University in 2007, and has been a leading enroller in clinical trials for HFpEF since that time. Dr. Shah’s research interests also include the study of acquired and genetic risk factors for abnormal cardiac mechanics, and novel machine learning techniques for improved classification and therapeutic targeting of heart failure syndromes. Dr. Shah’s research is currently funded by 2 NIH R01 grants and a Strategically Focused Research Network (SFRN) grant from the American Heart Association. Dr. Shah is also a steering committee member for 8 ongoing international heart failure clinical trials, and is principal investigator of 3 of those trials.
Dr. Shah has published over 250 original papers, abstracts, book chapters, and review articles. His work has been published in high-impact journals including the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, Lancet, Circulation, and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. He is the editor of a textbook entitled, “Cardiovascular Genetics and Genomics in Clinical Practice”, and he is an Associate Editor for JAMA Cardiology. He has also received several teaching awards throughout his career, including the W. Proctor Harvey Teaching Award from the American College of Cardiology and the George Joost MD, teacher-of-the-year award from the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.
Esther Vorovich, MD, MSCE is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in the section of Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine. She joined the faculty after completing her training at the University of Pennsylvania where she completed her medical school, internal medicine and cardiology training as well as her Master of Science in Clinical Epidemiology.
She has published several manuscripts in the fields of biomarkers and risk stratification in heart failure as well the utility of non-invasive echocardiographic measures in advanced heart failure and transplant patients. Recently, she served as a co-author on the first national guidelines detailing competencies and goals for trainees in advanced heart failure and transplant cardiology. Dr. Vorovich’s current research interests are focused on cardiogenic shock and the use of new state of the art technology to decrease morbidity and mortality.
Jane Wilcox, MD is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and the Associate Director of the T1 Center for Cardiovascular Therapeutics at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. In addition to caring for patients with advanced HF/transplants and mechanical assist devices on the inpatient service, Dr. Wilcox is the Director of the Myocardial Recovery Clinic for patients with non-ischemic cardiomyopathy (NICM). She also has expertise in muscular dystrophy associated cardiomyopathy and is an integral member of the multidisciplinary muscular dystrophy association (MDA) clinic at Northwestern.
Dr. Wilcox’s research interests include characterization of the myocardial substrate among NICM patients as it relates to myocardial recovery, novel cardiac imaging in muscular dystrophy, early-phase trials of new therapeutics for genetic cardiomyopathies, and improving patient/caregiver self-management of LVADs. She has published over 30 original papers, abstracts, book chapters, and review articles, and holds a patent for LMNA related cardiomyopathy treatment.
Dr. Wilcox is also actively involved in national organizations such as the Heart Failure Society of America as well as with multiple institution wide efforts including service on the Feinberg Medical School admissions’ committee, and medical student, resident/fellow education.
Clyde W. Yancy, MD, MSc, MACC, MACP, FAHA, FHFSA is Chief of Cardiology at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine, and Associate Director of the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. He holds the Magerstadt Endowed Professor of Medicine Chair and also holds an appointment as Professor of Medical Social Sciences. He concurrently serves as Vice-Dean of Diversity & Inclusion, Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine.
Dr. Yancy is a native of Louisiana and earned a B.S. degree, (Honors), from Southern University; an M.D. degree, (Alpha Omega Alpha), from Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans and an MSc degree from the University of Texas – Dallas School of Business and Management (Beta Gamma Sigma). He completed an internship and residency in Internal Medicine at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas. He completed his fellowship in cardiology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas. He has held professional appointments at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (Assistant Dean for Clinical Affairs, Professor of Medicine, Medical Director- Heart Failure & Heart Transplantation and holder of the Carl Westcott Chair in Cardiovascular Research) and Baylor University Medical Center (Chief of Cardiothoracic Transplantation and Director, Baylor Heart and Vascular Institute).
He is a former president of the American Heart Association and has held several volunteer leadership positions with the American College of Cardiology. He has also served in various positions with the NIH, NHLBI, PCORI and the FDA. He has over 400 peer-reviewed publications, has been named as one of the most highly cited investigators and is a Deputy Editor for JAMA Cardiology. He has received innumerable awards for teaching, mentoring and leadership. In 2016, he was elected to the National Academy of Medicine.
Housestaff training through McGaw Medical Center of Northwestern University provides diverse and challenging clinical experiences and world-class education located in the heart of the beautiful city of Chicago. Learn more via the links to the McGaw website below.
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Jonathan Rich, MD
Program Director - Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Fellowship Program
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