VCBH Project Leader Sherrie Khadanga, MD received the inaugural Wohlgemuth Fellowship Award in March for her proposed study titled “Remote Smoking Cessation in Hospitalized Cardiac Patients: Bridging the Post-discharge Care Gap.” Dr. Khadanga and her team are proposing to examine new strategies for helping patients hospitalized for an acute coronary event adhere to smoking cessation. The aim of this study is to assess the efficacy of financial incentives and nicotine replacement therapy in promoting smoking abstinence at 3 months. Building on their strong published and preliminary data, we believe that a combined behavioral and pharmacologic smoking cessation intervention started in hospital and continued remotely can bridge the post-hospital care gap and support patients through a critical period in cardiac recovery where risk of smoking relapse is high.
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable death in the U.S. and while smoking rates have declined in the U.S., this has not been observed in cardiac populations. Surprisingly, having a serious cardiac event, such as a myocardial infarction (MI) may not be enough to promote sustained cessation. This has major implications regarding morbidity and mortality as those who fail to quit are much more likely to have a recurrent MI or cardiovascular disease events. Continued smoking is associated with a host of negative outcomes such as impaired fitness, lower quality of life and psychosocial outcomes, and not attending secondary prevention programs such as cardiac rehabilitation.
The University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine Department of Medicine’s Wohlgemuth Cardiology Research Fellowship fosters the research mission of the department by providing funds to support promising investigators and innovative research related to heart disease. The request for proposals was targeted at trainees, early career faculty or later stage faculty newly pursuing research to provide funds for highly meritorious, milestone-driven research that will enhance the awardee’s competitiveness for future extramural funding proposals and research productivity.