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April 17, 2020
ABC’s COVID-19 FAQ Watch Available Now

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19): Perspectives from ABC Members

Facebook Live: COVID-19 and the Heart with Dr. Icilma Fergus Rowe

Black Health Matters hosted a Facebook Live session featuring ABC Past President Icilma Fergus Rowe, MD. Check out her Facebook Live Q&A, where she discussed COVID-19 and the heart!

OP-ED | A Game Plan to Help the Most Vulnerable
Lisa A. Cooper, MD, a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at Johns Hopkins University and Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Equity, co-authors a piece about policies that need to be put in place in order to help vulnerable populations - those who are most at risk for serious illness and for passing the virus on to others - and how that will slow and eventually stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Coronavirus And Health Equity - Again This (Too) Is Predictable!
Read the blog post from Dean Kevin B. Sneed, PharmD where he addresses the emerging health equity concerns in communities significantly affected by Covid-19, and illustrates why the data is necessary for ensuring that each and every individual must be provided the opportunity to maintain reasonably good health in order to have the capability to pursue life, liberty, and happiness in this great United States of America.

From AIDS to COVID-19: A Lesson For the Present
Gladys Palacio Velarde, MD, cardiologist at the University of Florida Jacksonville in Jacksonville, FL, explores the lessons she learned in her “clinical year” as a medical student at Bellevue Hospital in New York City during the HIV and AIDS outbreak and what those lessons can teach us about today’s COVID-19 pandemic.

OP-MED | How COVID-19 Could Change Health Care
Mary Elizabeth Anne Branch, MD, a cardiology fellow at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital, offers some solutions to current health disparities, now in the spotlight, and explains why she thinks health care should consider moving non urgent care back to the community, including having providers (any health provider) going to the people for visits and/or utilizing telehealth to improve follow-up, which can potentially address some disparities. She also advocates for changing community infrastructures to improve community health.

The Coronavirus Cost That No One Can Count
Chiduzie Madubata, MD, writes about the potential for increased anxiety from the rapid change in how we are living during the coronavirus outbreak, and why this needs to be acknowledged as healthcare providers learn more about how to care for patients who present with symptoms suggestive of COVID-19.

Items of Interest

PODCAST | Episode #70: Your Heart Health During COVID-19
In observance of Minority Health Awareness Month and Stress Awareness Month, Dr. Pernessa C. Seele interviews podcast guests Dr. LaPrincess Brewer and Clarence Jones, M.Ed, to discuss how the coronavirus can impact the functionality of the heart. The show also chats about the controversial drug Hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for COVID-19. Mr. Jones offers a fresh view of the health of African American men during the times of COVID-19.
KDKA Radio Interviews Dr. Michelle Albert about COVID-19 and Health Disparities in the African American community
Michelle A. Albert, MD, ABC President and Professor of Medicine, Associate Dean of Admissions, UCSF School of Medicine, joins Lynne Hayes-Freeland to talk about COVID-19 and the growing disparity in the African American community.
Black People are Dying From COVID-19 at Higher Rates Because Racism is a Preexisting Condition
Mother Jones' reporter Edwin Rios spoke to Camara Phyllis Jones, MD, MPH, PhD, about how the coronavirus has pulled the cover off the preexisting condition of American racism. The coronavirus pandemic is no “great equalizer,” says epidemiologist Camara Jones.
Interdisciplinary Tulane Team Competes in Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Design Challenge
A team of Tulane University students from the School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and the School of Medicine was accepted into the international John Hopkins Center for Bioengineering and Design COVID-19 Design Challenge, one of only 200 teams. David Mushatt, MD, MPH, and Keith Ferdinand, MD, of the School of Medicine helped guide the group as they worked on their solution.
For Black Americans Living Through a Pandemic, the Stakes Are Frighteningly High
Healthy Women interviews ABC Past President Icilima Fergus, MD, about the additional challenges Black Americans are facing during this pandemic.
PODCAST | Café Episode 32 - Coronavirus COVID 19
Dave Montgomery, MD, talks about lesser known aspects of the Coronavirus with Molecular Virologist, Dr. Yancey Hrobowski. Then, Board certified Pediatrician, Dr. Allison Foster, returns to give insight on COVID-19 in children.

HHS Begins Immediate Delivery of Initial $30 Billion of CARES Act Provider Relief Funding
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) began the delivery of the initial $30 billion in relief funding to providers in support of the national response to COVID-19 as part of the distribution of the $100 billion provider relief fund provided for in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act recently passed by Congress and signed by President Trump. The $100 billion of funding will be used to support healthcare-related expenses or lost revenue attributable to coronavirus and to ensure uninsured Americans can get the testing and treatment they need without receiving a surprise bill from a provider. The initial $30 billion in immediate relief funds were delivered to providers on April 10, 2020 via direct deposit.

Why African-Americans May be Especially Vulnerable to COVID-19
COVID-19 was called the great equalizer. Nobody was immune; anybody could succumb. But the virus’ spread across the United States is exposing racial fault lines, with early data showing that African-Americans are more likely to die from the disease than white Americans. Here are three reasons why African-Americans may be especially vulnerable to the new coronavirus.

GUIDANCE UPDATE | HHS Statements on Authorizing Licensed Pharmacists to Order and Administer COVID-19 Tests
The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health issued new guidance under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness Act authorizing licensed pharmacists to order and administer COVID-19 tests that have been authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“When you're in the middle of a crisis like we are now, it ultimately shines a very bright light on some of the real weaknesses and foibles in our society. Health disparities have always existed for the African American community. As Dr. Birx said correctly, it's not that they're getting infected more often; it's that when they do get infected, their underlying medical conditions - the diabetes, the hypertension, the obesity, the asthma - those are the kind of things that wind them up in the ICU and ultimately give them a higher death rate."

- Anthony S. Fauci, MD -
Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease

Featured Articles by Members
ABC Members: We welcome your published research submissions and articles for inclusion in future issues of Clinical Updates and Insights. Email Rachel Williams at and please attach file or include links to the original published work and/or abstract.

VIEWPOINT | COVID-19 and African Americans
Clyde W. Yancy, MD, MSc
This viewpoint discusses the long history of racial inequities that cause black populations in US cities to bear a disproportionate burden of COVID-19 illness and mortality and calls for a renewed commitment to eliminating disparities that have been made so starkly visible by the pandemic.


Failing Another National Stress Test on Health Disparities

Precision Cardio-Oncology: A Systems-Based Perspective on Cardiotoxicity of Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors and Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors
Co-authored by Sherry-Ann Brown (with Jordan C. Ray & Joerg Herrmann)
Cancer therapies have been evolving from conventional chemotherapeutics to targeted agents. This has fulfilled the hope of greater efficacy but unfortunately not of greater safety. In fact, a broad spectrum of toxicities can be seen with targeted therapies, including cardiovascular toxicities. Among these, cardiomyopathy and heart failure have received greatest attention, given their profound implications for continuation of cancer therapies and cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Prediction of risk has always posed a challenge and even more so with the newer targeted agents. The merits of accurate risk prediction, however, are very evident, e.g. facilitating treatment decisions even before the first dose is given. This is important for agents with a long half life and high potential to induce life-threatening cardiac complications, such as myocarditis with immune checkpoint inhibitors. An opportunity to address these needs in the field of cardio-oncology is provided by the expanding repertoire of “-omics'' and other tools in precision medicine and their integration in a systems biology approach. This may allow for new insights into pathomechanisms and the creation of more precise and cost-effective risk prediction tools with the ultimate goals of improved therapy decisions and prevention of cardiovascular complications. Herein, we explore this topic as a future approach to translating the complexity of cardio-oncology to the reality of patient care .
Precision Cardio-Oncology: a Systems-Based Perspective on Cardiotoxicity of Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors and Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors
CLICK through Dr. Brown’s TWEETORIAL for highlights from the above published paper.

Unfavorable Perceived Neighborhood Environment Associates With Less Routine Healthcare Utilization: Data From the Dallas Heart Study
Co-authored by Tiffany M. Powell-Wiley (Joniqua N. Ceasar, Colby Ayers, Marcus R. Andrews, Sophie E. Claudel, Kosuke Tamura, Sandeep Das, James de Lemos, and Ian J. Neeland)
Neighborhood environment perception (NEP) has been associated with health outcomes. However, little is known about how NEP relates to routine healthcare utilization. This study investigated the relationship between NEP and independent subfactors with healthcare utilization behavior, as measured by self-reported (1) usual source of healthcare and (2) time since last routine healthcare check-up. We used cross-sectional data from the Dallas Heart Study, which features a diverse, probability-based sample of Dallas County residents ages 18 to 65. We used logistic regression modeling to examine the association of self-reported NEP and routine healthcare utilization. NEP was assessed via a questionnaire exploring residents’ neighborhood perceptions, including violence, the physical environment, and social cohesion. Routine healthcare utilization was assessed via self-reported responses regarding usual source of care and time since last routine healthcare check-up.

ACC.20/WCC Scientific Session Highlights

ACC/WCC Virtual: ePoster 1167-228 - Rivaroxaban versus warfarin for treatment and prevention of recurrence of venous thromboembolism in African American patients: A retrospective cohort analysis
ACC/WCC Virtual: TWILIGHT Findings Hold Strong in Diabetes, Complex PCI
Patients with diabetes are often the exception to the rule, but new findings suggest they derive the same benefits as other high-risk patients from ticagrelor monotherapy after percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI). Discontinuing aspirin after 3 months on a background of ticagrelor (Brilinta, Brilique; AstraZeneca) reduced clinically relevant bleeding but also resulted in numerically fewer ischemic complications than taking both agents for 1 year in the TWILIGHT-DM study.
ACC/WCC VIRTUAL: Evolocumab Lowers LDL-C in HIV-Positive Persons
In study results announced at ACC.20/WCC, held virtually this year due to the coronovirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, evolocumab (Repatha, Amgen), a human monoclonal antibody and proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) inhibitor, was shown to have produced positive results in persons living with HIV in the EvolocumaB Effect on LDL-C LowerIng in SubJEcts with Human Immunodeficiency ViRus and INcreased Cardiovascular RisK (BEIJERINCK) study. It reduced their levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C). These individuals have a risk of cardiovascular disease that is almost twice that of HIV-negative individuals.
ACC/WCC VIRTUAL: Homozygous FH Falls to Praluent, Novel Agent
In separate trials, two monoclonal antibodies - alirocumab (Praluent, Regeneron) AND investigational agent evinacumab (Regeneron) - each lowered low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in people with a particularly refractory form of familial hypercholesterolemia (FH), researchers reported at the virtual meeting of the American College of Cardiology (ACC). The drugs -- one already on the market, the other still in clinical trials -- appeared effective against homozygous FH, in which patients have two defective copies of the LDL receptor gene. The condition responds even less well to current therapies than heterozygous FH.
ACC/WCC Virtual: Twice-yearly Inclisiran Injections Halve LDL-Cholesterol Levels
The safety and durability of the LDL-cholesterol (LDL-C)-lowering effects of inclisiran (Novartis), a small interfering RNA that inhibits the synthesis of PCSK9 in the liver, have now been confirmed in three phase III clinical trials. The ORION-10 and ORION-11 trials show that inclisiran therapy administered every 6 months reduces LDL-C levels by 50% in patients with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease who had elevated LDL-C levels despite receiving maximally tolerated statin therapy. A similar LDL-C-lowering effect with inclisiran was seen in the ORION-9 trial in patients with familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH).
ACC/WCC VIRTUAL: Medtronic Onyx ONE Clear Study of One-Month Dual-Antiplatelet Therapy in High Bleeding Risk Stent Patients Beats Performance Goal
Medtronic plc announced positive results of the Onyx ONE Clear Study that evaluated Resolute Onyx DES in high bleeding risk (HBR) patients with one-month dual antiplatelet therapy (DAPT) in the United States and Japan. The study met its primary endpoint of cardiac death or myocardial infarction by beating a performance goal derived from contemporary one-month DAPT trials at one-year post-procedure. Results from the study were shared virtually at the American College of Cardiology together with the World Congress of Cardiology Scientific Sessions (ACC.20/WCC).
ACC/WCC VIRTUAL: MyoKardia's Mavacamten Reduces Heart Stress Signs in Targeted Biomarker Study
MyoKardia has delivered new cardiac biomarker data showing its late-phase mavacamten compound can help improve signs of heart stress and injury in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Known as HCM, the inherited disorder causes the muscle walls of the heart to thicken, potentially to the point where they can obstruct blood flow. Mavacamten, a myosin inhibitor, works to reduce the excess number of cellular motors that engage with every heartbeat. By cutting back the strength of each ventricular contraction, the pulse rate can remain the same while the heart has an easier time pumping and refilling with blood.
ACC/WCC VIRTUAL: Esperion's Nexletol Busts Cholesterol Levels Regardless of Statin, Ezitimibe Therapy
Esperion notched major back-to-back FDA wins in February with its cholesterol-busting duo Nexletol and Nexlizet. Now, with physicians largely unfamiliar with the drugs, the company is hoping new clinical data will help build confidence as both prepare to hit the market. In multiple phase 3 trials, Esperion's Nexletol significantly lowered (PDF) levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein in patients with abnormally high triglyceride levels whether they were actively taking standard-of-care statins or not, according to a pooled data analysis presented at the American College of Cardiology scientific sessions.

We LOVE to LEARN how our ABC Members are making a difference! Please Share. Giving a keynote speech? Presenting at a Grand Round? Receiving an Award? Interviewed by the Press? Published in a journal? Presenter or Panelist at a Conference? Graduating? Email Rachel Williams at or please tag or DM us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram with links/details, so we can spotlight your excellence in our newsletter!

Healthy People 2020 Health Disparities Data Widget
The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP), National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and the Office of Minority Health (OMH) are pleased to announce the release of a new data search function. The Health Disparities widget is a new way for you to access this health disparities information. The new widget provides an easy way to find health disparities data related to the Healthy People 2020 objectives for the Leading Health Indicators (LHIs).


Congratulations! to the following ABC Members who can now add the
ACC Fellow designation to their professional credentials.

Sherry-Ann Brown, MD, PhD, FACC
Onyedika J. Ilonze, MD, FACC
Cheryl B. Pegus, MD, MPH, FACC

Congratulations to Donald Lynch, Jr., MD, on receiving notice of award from NIH/NHLBI for his project "Platelets and Hemostatic Factors as Facilitators of the Inflammatory Response Following Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement. (K23HL151872)"

President Barack Obama Joins Mike Bloomberg to Address More Than 300 Cities at Fourth Virtual Convening to Support Local Coronavirus Response
Participants from more than 300 cities around the world, including mayors, local leaders, and members of response teams joined Bloomberg Philanthropies’ fourth virtual COVID-19 Local Response Initiative convening today, where President Barack Obama and Michael Bloomberg addressed the mayors on the challenges associated with the pandemic.

PARTNER UPDATE | Bristol Myers Squibb Expands Patient Support Programs to Help Newly Uninsured Patients in the U.S
Bristol Myers Squibb (NYSE: BMY) recently announced an expansion of its existing patient support programs to help eligible unemployed patients in the U.S. who have lost their health insurance due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The expanded program offers access to any branded Bristol Myers Squibb medicine for free, including some of its most widely prescribed products, as well as those prescribed via telehealth services.

The Cardiovascular Digital Health Journal will be published
every other month beginning in July 2020.

Million Hearts® announces a NEW Hospitals & Health Systems Recognition Program that will spotlight clinical entities committed to reducing the impact of heart attacks and strokes. Learn how you can apply below. The first round of applications is due April 30, 2020.


Job Opening | Assistant/Associate Professor of Cardiology

The Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology at the Morehouse School of Medicine is seeking a BC/BE interventional cardiologist at the assistant or associate professor level.

This position includes practice in a facility with state of the art invasive/interventional and noninvasive laboratories, the region’s only Level 1 Trauma Center and cardiology fellowship training program. Qualified applicants should possess outstanding clinical and interpersonal skills with commitment to teaching and research. Additional skills in echocardiography, nuclear and peripheral imaging is desirable.

Interested applicants should email or send CV to:

Anekwe Onwuanyi, MD, FACC, FHFSA
Chief, Division of Cardiology
720 Westview Drive, S.W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30310
Phone: (404) 616-8804


Call For Applications: ACCSAP Editor in Chief

ACC's Lifelong Learning Oversight Committee is seeking a qualified candidate to serve as ACCSAP Editor in Chief. ACCSAP is ACC's flagship self-assessment program covering the entire field of adult clinical cardiology. As of 2019, it allows users to meet their ABIM MOC assessment option through the new Collaborative Maintenance Pathway. To ensure consistent leadership and allow for continual improvement of the program, the commitment will be for a total of five years. There will be no extensions to the deadline.

Application Deadline: Friday, April 17 at 11:59 p.m. ET


The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute's PRIDE Summer Institute is now accepting applications! There are nine mentored research training programs offering career advancing opportunities for junior-level faculty and research scientists from diverse backgrounds.
Rolling admission until all positions are filled.
**PRIDE is still recruiting for Summer 2020. We are currently working out how to hold sessions if we are unable to do so onsite due to COVID-19. The programs will carry-on. If you are interested you may still apply.


If you missed this lively and engaging discussion about the epidemiology, clinical, prevention and social aspects of COVID-19 infection in diverse populations from ABC's webcast OR want to review it again, view the archived video.


Upcoming Events

March 26th Message Related to the Upcoming 2020 Conference

NMA continues to monitor the evolving impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. As of April 1st, 2020, NMA Annual Convention and Scientific Assembly remains scheduled for August 1–5 in Atlanta.


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