Since the advent of antibiotics in the early 20th century, cardiovascular disease arose as the leading cause of death worldwide, contributing to approximately 1 in 3 deaths. Louisiana is disproportionately affected by cardiovascular disease, with the fourth highest mortality rate for heart disease and the 9th highest mortality rate for stroke in the United States. Today, over 82 million (roughly > 1 in 3) Americans suffer from one or more forms of cardiovascular disease, including high blood pressure (hypertension), coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, congenital heart defects, and stroke.
The Center of Excellence for Cardiovascular Diseases and Sciences (CCDS) investigators play a major role in the mission of LSU Health Shreveport through training medical and graduate students, conducting clinical trials that enhance local cardiovascular treatments in the region, and developing nationally renowned biomedical research programs with the potential to change the treatment of cardiovascular disease for future generations. CCDS activities are supported by the involvement of 38 faculty members across 14 different departments that bring in nearly $9 million per year in funding to study coronary artery disease, cardiac function, neurovascular disease and stroke, and microvascular (small vessel) function. In addition to our research into the basic mechanisms of cardiovascular disease, the CCDS continues to advance clinical cardiovascular treatment in the Ark-La-Tex through participation in clinical trials and offering cutting-edge treatments. The clinicians within the CCDS participate in over 15 industry-sponsored research studies, making a host of new potential treatments available to LSU Health Shreveport patients.
MALCOLM FEIST CARDIOVASCULAR ENDOWMENT
Upon his death in February 1985, Malcolm Weiller Feist, a Shreveport attorney, donated his estate to the LSU Medical Center in Shreveport for the explicit purpose of supporting “research in cardiovascular diseases.” LSU Health Shreveport created an endowment from the estate. The interest revenue from this endowment, as well as gas and oil revenue from estate property, has been used to fund small research projects, shared major equipment and seed packages for faculty with research programs in the cardiovascular area. As the endowment has grown, some of the interest revenue has been applied toward larger cardiovascular-related projects, such as the creation of an endowed super-chair in medicine for diabetes research with matching funds provided by the Board of Regents. The substantial funds now generated from the Feist endowment provides the Institution with an opportunity to significantly expand cardiovascular research by investing in successful existing research programs and by developing new programs that complement existing strengths and facilitate the recruitment of clinical and basic science faculty with specializations in areas related to cardiovascular disease.
40 high school and undergraduate students recently shared the research projects they have spent eight weeks working on in summer programs held at LSU Health Shreveport.