2019 Early Career Investigator Awardees

Name: Utibe R. Essien, MD, MPH

Institution: University of Pittsburgh

“Atrial fibrillation is a common condition and leading cause of stroke. Despite evidence supporting anticoagulation for stroke risk reduction in AFib, disparities remain in the use of such therapy. GWTG-AFib offers an opportunity to examine anticoagulation prescribing during hospitalizations to inform strategies to reduce disparities in AFib management and outcomes.”

Utibe R. Essien, MD, MPH is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh and a health services researcher at the VA Pittsburgh Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion. Dr. Essien received his medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and his MPH from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He completed internal medicine residency and was an NIH T32 postdoctoral research fellow at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Dr. Essien's research focuses on racial and ethnic disparities in the uptake and diffusion of novel therapeutics and technologies in the management of chronic cardiovascular diseases. Dr. Essien is also the Co-Director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Career Education and Enhancement for Healthcare Research Diversity (CEED) medical student scholars program and was a 2019 National Minority Quality Forum 40 under 40 Leaders in Minority Health awardee.


Name: Tyler P. Rasmussen, MD, PhD

Institution: University of Iowa

"We are often confronted with deficiencies in how we deliver care to patients suffering an in-hospital cardiac arrest. The GWTG-Resuscitation research has the potential to identify under- and over-performing hospitals in regard to resuscitation outcomes, and could eventually lead to improvements in how the medical communities resuscitate patients."

Tyler P.  Rasmussen, MD, PhD is a first-year cardiovascular medicine fellow at the University of Iowa. He received his medical degree from the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine and completed his PhD work in Molecular Physiology and Biophysics at the same institution. He was awarded an NHLBI F30 during his graduate training. He completed his internal medicine residency at the University of Iowa. Dr. Rasmussen is focused on developing a multimodality research profile to investigate in-hospital cardiac arrest with a particular interest in cardiac arrest complicating acute myocardial infarction. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife, Erin, chasing around his 3 boys, running, and hiking the Colorado Front Range with his black lab Remy.

Name: Raed Joundi, MD, DPhil, FRCPC (Neurology)

Institution: University of Calgary

“Basilar artery occlusion (BAO) represents 1-4% of all ischemic strokes but is associated with a very high mortality and morbidity, and our understanding of treatment and patient outcomes is limited.  Our project will study trends and outcomes in BAO with emphasis on endovascular thrombectomy, in a large, real-world contemporary dataset.”

Raed Joundi, MD, DPhil, FRCPC is currently pursuing an academic stroke fellowship at the University of Calgary with concurrent master’s degree in clinical epidemiology under the supervision of Dr. Eric E. Smith. His neurology residency was completed at the University of Toronto in 2019, where he was co-chief resident and received research and teaching awards.  His research during residency focused on studying outcomes in people with dysphagia and feeding tube placement after acute stroke using the Ontario Stroke Registry under the supervision of Dr. Moira Kapral which resulted in international presentations and publications in Stroke and Neurology. Prior to residency, Dr. Joundi completed his MD at Queen’s University and DPhil in neurophysiology at the University of Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship.  After fellowship, he hopes to continue as a clinician-scientist with the goal of conducting large observational studies and clinical trials to help prevent stroke and improve the lives of those with stroke. He is excited for the opportunity to use the Get With The Guidelines®- Stroke database to study trends and outcomes in the use of endovascular thrombectomy for patients with basilar artery occlusion.

Name: Hong Seok Lee, M.D.

Institution: Mayo Clinic, Arizona

“Previously, most of heart failure readmission research was focused on the number of re-admissions within certain period, however, my research focused on the interval. It will help us to reclassify the high-risk group and moreover, will provide characteristics according to heart failure types”

Hong Seok Lee, M.D. is currently in fellowship at Mayo Clinic in Arizona. During his years in medical school, residency in New York medical college, cardiology fellowship at UCR and echocardiogram fellowship at Mayo Clinic, he encountered many patients in difficult circumstances which were beyond remedy and seeing that, it was lamentable. In fact, during his training years, he found heart failure management would be both challenging yet very rewarding since heart failure patients had a high readmission rate, which has been a big public health problem. He would like to know the national situation for this problem and wishes to contribute to this long-term goal for every cardiologist and patient care.