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A crucial foot in the door

Without the Pollin Preventive Cardiology Fellowship, Bill McEvoy's research about a promising biomarker for heart damage wouldn't have been possible
Posted November 1, 2016

For Bill McEvoy, MD, MSH (SPH '15) the Pollin Preventive Cardiology Fellowship represented a path around a formidable obstacle. He realized early in his Hopkins cardiology fellowship that many federally funded research opportunities wouldn't be available to him because he was a native of Ireland, not a U.S. citizen.

"I came here to do high-level research and advance my scholarly credentials, so that was going to be a challenge," McEvoy recalls. But one of his mentors, Roger Blumenthal, MD, A&S '81 — the Kenneth J. Pollin Professor of Cardiology and director of the Ciccarone Center for the Prevention of Heart Disease — had a solution: the Pollin Fellowship.

"He saw it as an opportunity for me to get the time and access to further training that would be critical to my success in the field," McEvoy says. "The Pollin Fellowship was the catalyst I needed to take my research to the next level."

Much of that research has focused on high-sensitivity troponin, a protein that, when detected in the bloodstream, reflects damage to the heart. McEvoy's studies have used that biomarker to test for increased risk of a cardiac event, development of hypertension, and how hypertension therapy impacts the progression of the disease.

"The application of this research is that you can target people who have increasing levels of this protein for more intense interventions that can stave off further development of the disease," McEvoy says. "If it weren't for the connections and skills I gained through the Pollin Fellowship, I wouldn't have been able to do any of this."

To learn more about how you can support preventive cardiology research at the Johns Hopkins Heart and Vascular Institute, please contact Shannon Wollman, director of development.