An Affair of the Heart

MCW’s Cardiovascular Center Celebrates 25-Year Anniversary

Dr. Daisy Sahoo and graduate student Darcy Knaack
Daisy Sahoo, PhD (left), MCW vice chair for research (medicine) and associate professor, confers with graduate student Darcy Knaack regarding how HDL interacts with its receptor to deliver cholesterol to the liver and lower plasma cholesterol levels.

The "human heart" sits under glass on a white draped table. It does not beat. It cannot support life. Instead, it serves to represent the progress made in basic science and clinical research over the past 25 years at the Medical College of Wisconsin Cardiovascular Center (CVC).

This three-dimensional heart is surrounded by 25 distinct "voices" that represent the many scientists, physicians, students, donors, alumni, board members and patients who have contributed to the CVC's mission to improve cardiovascular health in southeast Wisconsin, the state and beyond.

One such voice belongs to Sue Northey, who was diagnosed with constrictive pericarditis, a rare form of heart disease resulting in chronic inflammation of the covering of the organ. "The disease wasn't going to get better; it was going to get worse," says Northey. "Eventually it would take my life."

Her story is just one of thousands among patients who have benefitted from the CVC's research and its resulting evidence-based clinical care.

On August 21, 2017, the CVC – in partnership with Froedtert Hospital – celebrated 25 years of research focusing on the prevention, detection, treatment and cure of the large family of cardiovascular diseases that impact individuals in Wisconsin and across the country.

More than 200 people gathered to honor the CVC, its historical and ongoing impact, and the contributions of many donors, alumni, faculty, staff and founding and current members – including founding CVC director, David Harder, PhD; former director, Allen Cowley, Jr., PhD (both of whom are MCW Distinguished Service Award winners); and current director, Ivor Benjamin, MD. Dr. Benjamin also serves as president-elect of the American Heart Association, and in June 2018 will become its president.

"Our research programs attract some of the nation's most well-respected scientists and physicians who are dedicated to saving lives and transforming MCW into a hub for cardiovascular research and care in the US," Dr. Benjamin remarked at the event.

"Our mission is to improve cardiovascular health in southeast Wisconsin and beyond by pursuing cutting-edge research to drive improved treatments, translating new discoveries into high-quality patient care, training the next generation of cardiovascular scientists, and listening to and working with our community partners to eliminate disparities in cardiovascular health outcomes."

During the past 25 years, research at the CVC has transformed how scientists study cardiovascular disease and how physicians treat heart disease, stroke and other devastating conditions. Because of the outcomes generated by CVC scientists, patients today live longer and experience a higher quality of life.

MCW's Physiology Hypertension Research Team in 1988
MCW's Physiology Hypertension Research Team in 1988. Dr. Allen Cowley, Jr., is at left center and Dr. David Harder is in the back row at the far right.
Dr. Jennifer Strande and Dr. Roseanne Raphael
In 2015, MCW assistant professor of medicine Jennifer Strande, MD, PhD, GME '06, FEL '10 (right), worked in the CVC with then third-year medical student Roseanne Raphael (MD '16).

Sue Northey"I didn't have a lot of time left, so the fact that I'm sitting here 10 years later, living a healthy normal life, is nothing short of a miracle."

 – Sue Northey

 – Maureen Remmel

From the archives

Historical scene of the MCW Cardiovascular Center (CVC)


Historical photo of researchers at work in the MCW Cardiovascular Center (CVC)


Historical photo of equipment and related research at the MCW Cardiovascular Center (CVC)

Medical College of Wisconsin…8701 Watertown Plank Rd., Milwaukee, WI 53226
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