University Hospitals Cardiologist Dr. Sadeer Al-Kindi Recognized for Impactful Research

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Presented with Young Investigator Award from the American College of Cardiology

Sadeer Al-Kindi, MD, received the American College of Cardiology’s (ACC) prestigious Young Investigator Award at the ACC’s annual meeting recently held in New Orleans. The bulk of Dr. Al-Kindi’s research focuses on how environmental and socioeconomic factors impact heart health.

Dr. Al-Kindi is a cardiologist at University Hospitals Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute, Co-Director of the Center for Integrated and Novel Approaches in Vascular Metabolic Disease at UH (CINEMA), and Professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.
“It’s a great honor to receive this award recognizing the important work accomplished with my colleagues at UH,” said Dr. Al-Kindi. “We want to shine a light on issues surrounding health disparities in order to address and improve the health of our community as a whole.”

During the ACC meeting, Dr. Al-Kindi gave the presentation “Neighborhood Environmental Exposome, Coronary Artery Calcium Score and Cardiovascular Events” detailing UH’s No-Cost Community Calcium Scoring Assessment for Cardiovascular Risk Stratification (CLARIFY).
“The ACC bestowed this award, given the unusual significance of this work that centers around the disproportionate impact of non-conventional factors, including social and environmental factors, on cardiovascular health,” said Sanjay Rajagopalan, MD, Chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine and Chief Academic and Scientific Officer of UH Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute; and Herman K. Hellerstein, MD, Chair in Cardiovascular Research. “In order to understand the links between a complex myriad of internal and external exposures or the ‘exposome’ on health, one needs to use sophisticated machine learning approaches, given that many exposures have unexpected and non-linear influences on each other. Dr. Al-Kindi is equipped to do this and does it successfully.”

Although it provides information about a patient’s chance of experiencing a heart attack in the future, coronary artery calcium (CAC) scoring is not generally covered by insurance and can cost hundreds of dollars. The CLARIFY program at UH facilitates “no charge” CAC scoring to any patient with a physician’s order and has screened more than 100,000 people to date, empowering them with crucial information to make decisions about their health.

In his ACC presentation that led to the award, Dr. Al-Kindi and colleagues linked 155 census-tract level environmental and socioeconomic features (obtained from various sources) in 44,251 patients undergoing CAC scoring in CLARIFY. Using machine learning approaches, Dr. Al-Kindi identified three novel macroscopic socio-environmental clusters (SENCs). While there were no major demographic, clinical or calcium score differences between the three SENCs, there were substantial differences in the risk propensity for cardiovascular events after adjusting for demographic and clinical factors, including CAC scores.

“Dr. Al-Kindi’s work has provided an early glimpse into the power of systems and data science approaches that combine clinical, demographics and environmental risk factors at scale, to predict health and identify populations at risk for future complications,” said Daniel Simon, MD, a cardiologist and President, Academic & External Affairs and Chief Scientific Officer at UH.
“Just like the field of precision medicine, the field of precision health delivery will require an understanding of health at both a microscale and macroscale, using a combination of data sources. This includes both static and dynamic personal biometric information, interposed with regional or local geographic information systems linked with socioenvironmental information, to adequately assess the exposome.
“UH values this type of systems-level thinking exemplified in Dr. Al-Kindi’s research and will continue to support it as the most likely approach to successfully transform health care for all members of our community,” said Dr. Simon who holds the Ernie and Patti Novak Distinguished Chair in Health Care Leadership, and is Professor of Medicine and Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine.

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