Prof Elizabeth Ofili: First female president of the Association of Black Cardiologists

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Elizabeth Ofili (MD, MPH, FACC) a distinguished abusite, is a Nigerian-American physician and cardiology researcher. She is the first female president of the Association of Black Cardiologists. She is also the Director and Principal Investigator of the Clinical Research Centre at Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) in Atlanta, Georgia. And a professor of medicine and Chief of Cardiology at MSM.

She is a national and internationally recognized clinician-scientist with a particular focus on cardiovascular disparities and women’s health.

Prof Dr. Elizabeth Ofili
Dr. Elizabeth Ofili

Birth and education

Professor Elizabeth Ofili was born in 1956 and raised in Nigeria. After completing medical school at the great Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Kaduna State, she moved to the United States in 1982 and began her studies in public health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. She received her Master of Public Health degree in 1983.

Career and research

Prof Elizabeth Ofili began her career with research at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa and continued her cardiology research while a professor at Washington University in St. Louis. In 1994, she became an associate professor at Morehouse School of Medicine and was promoted to full professor in 1999.

Her research focuses on heart disease in the African-American population, dyslipidemia, hypertension, coronary artery disease, heart failure, and echocardiography; her work in the African American Heart Failure Trial substantially changed guidelines on heart failure treatment for African-Americans. She has also conducted research with NASA on the effects of microgravity on vasculature. She is acclaimed for her studies of myocardial blood flow.

Awards, Grants, and achievements

Elizabeth Ofili has received numerous federal and private grants for studies on cardiac functioning and heart diseases in African-Americans. She also successfully sought and received extensive funding for the development and expansion of MSM’s current research infrastructure. She has also conducted research for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Space Medicine and Life Sciences Research Center.

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Her NASA studies focus on vascular responses in salt-sensitive and salt-resistant individuals, and on the effects of microgravity on the vascular system.
Prof. Elizabeth Ofili is widely acknowledged for her expertise in the field of echocardiography (using sound waves to study the heart and how it functions). She received the Young Investigator Research Award from the American Society of Echocardiography and Mallinckrodt Cardiology in 1993 for her echo studies of myocardial blood flow.

In 2000 she became the first woman to serve as president of the Association of Black Cardiologists. In 1997 she was cited by Heart and Soul magazine as one of the US’s top twenty-five black female doctors and was also recognized as one of America’s leading physicians by Black Enterprise magazine.

She has fifty awards to her credit, including the National Institutes of Health’s 1999 Centre of Clinical Research Excellence Award, the Nanette K. Wenger Award for Health Policy in 2001, the Dr Daniel Savage Scientific Award from the Association of Black Cardiologists, and Physician of the Year in 2001 by the US Congressional Health Advisory Board.

Prof. Elisabeth Ofili served on the Board of Trustees of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates and the Pfizer Women’s Health Initiative. She has trained over fifty post-doctoral fellows and faculty, and over thirty undergraduate students and high school seniors.

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The Centre for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently approved the warfarin study of which she is the National Principal Investigator. It is the first large-scale randomized clinical trial to evaluate gene identification ability to predict patient response and improve safety when dosing warfarin, the world’s leading anti-blood-clotting drug.

She serves on the Board of Directors of (a Life Sciences company) and on the Cardiovascular Board of the American Board of Internal Medicine. Prof. Elizabeth Ofili has delivered over four hundred scientific presentations and published over one hundred scientific papers on hypertension, dyslipidemia, heart failure and coronary artery disease appearing in publications such as the Journal of American Medication Association, the New England Journal of Medicine, Circulation, and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Over the past twenty-two years, she has led the growth of the clinical research infrastructure and training programs at Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) with awards totaling over $150 million, including serving as the founding director of the U54 center of clinical research excellence, the community physicians network, the U54 RCMI Center of Excellence for Clinical and Translational Research and the R25 clinical research education and career development program.

Prof. Elizabeth Ofili’s Personal Life

She is married to Dr. Chamberlain Obialo, Chief of Nephrology at Morehouse School of Medicine. The couple has four children.

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Honors and awards

  • Young Investigator Research Award, American Society of Echocardiography and Mallinckrodt Cardiology (1993)
  • Top 25 Black Female Doctors, Heart and Soul (1997)
  • Center of Clinical Research Excellence Award, National Institutes of Health (1999)
  • President, Association of Black Cardiologists (2000-2002)
  • Nannette K. Wenger Award for Health Policy, National Institutes of Health (2001)
  • Council of Dean Fellow, Association of American Medical Colleges (2007)
  • Elected Member, Association of University Cardiologists (2013)
  • Board of Trustees, Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates
  • Board of Trustees, Pfizer Women’s Health Initiative
  • Daniel Savage Memorial Science Award, Association of Black Cardiologists
  • Board of Directors, National Space Biomedical Research Institute
  • Advisory Board, National Clinical Center

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