Cardiovascular Fellows

Third Year

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Jason D’Souza, MD

Medical School: Fr. Muller Medical College, Mangalore, India
Residency: Florida Hospital, Orlando, FL
What attracted you to this program?
One of the many reasons that I chose to train at Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute/UMKC is because of the people here. The faculty are not only exceptional teachers but are also very personable and approachable. The program leadership is young and have the best interest of the fellows in mind. The program curriculum is very well structured. Through the clinical rotations, fellows are exposed to a wide variety of pathologies in sufficient volumes so they can graduate as confident cardiologists.
Areas of interest: Interventional cardiology, structural heart disease, imaging


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Yevgeniy Khariton, MD

Medical School: Six year BA/MD Program, University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Medicine, Kansas City, MO
Residency: Barnes-Jewish Hospital at Washington University Medical Center, Saint Louis, MO
Other training: Masters of Education in the Health Professions Fellow, Johns Hopkins, Baltimore, MD
What attracted you to this program? 
As a function of my dedication to academic medicine, I felt it necessary to pursue a fellowship at a site dedicated to  a unique understanding of cardiovascular outcomes research, clinical trial coordination, and health economics. I also thought it was important to get exposure to world-renown care in clinical cardiology. With the combined T-32 CV Research track at the Mid America Heart Institute, I understood that my combined training would provide me with a sound basis for clinical decision-making. This training also will grant me the rare opportunity to contribute to outcomes research while exploring the impact of clinical day-to-day decision-making on patient outcomes. The medical education department is fully supportive of its fellows, and all aspects of cardiovascular disease are well-represented between the main training center as well as its community affiliate, Truman Medical Center. I encourage all of those interested in the Mid-America Heart Institute to explore its vast historical role in the evolution of cardiology as a profession.

Geographically, Kansas City is equipped with a diversity of opportunities both family-oriented as well as friendly towards young health professionals.  It is a perfect climate for those interested in an environment that provides a 'big city feel' of leisurely opportunities without the daily headache of commonplace issues such as hour-long traffic. And, of course, I am incredibly biased and cannot suggest a better part of the country that offers delicious and authentic BBQ. 
Areas of interest: Heart failure cardiology, patient-related outcomes research, academic curricular development


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Kyle Lehenbauer, MD

Medical School: Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, IL
Residency: Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI
What attracted you to this program?
When considering fellowship training programs for cardiovascular disease, I specifically evaluated programs based on their abilities to help me reach my goals. Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute/UMKC was clearly a perfect fit with an abundance of opportunities for clinical training and research in nearly all areas of cardiology. I was impressed with the accomplishments of the entire faculty here and with the cohesive and supportive relationship between faculty and fellows. I felt a sense of comfort that the Heart Institute/UMKC would help me define, meet, and surpass my career aspirations and identified this program as one in which I could thrive. Finally, as someone who considers themselves a Kansas City native, choosing the Heart Institute/UMKC for fellowship training truly was coming home for me.
Areas of interest: General cardiology, advanced cardiac imaging


Second Year

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Ryan G. Eckert, MD

Medical School: University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Medicine, Kansas City, MO
Residency: University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Medicine, Kansas City, MO
What attracted you to this program?
I was born and raised in Kansas City and have completed all of my medical training, thus far, here at the University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine. The city is growing and filled with fun things to do. Art, music, food, sports (GO CHIEFS AND ROYALS!!!), etc. You name it, we have it, and it just keeps getting better. The city and surrounding suburbs are also family centered and have some of the top-ranked school districts in the country. 

Apart from the city itself, I chose this program specifically because of the collegiality amongst the fellows and faculty. As a medical student and resident, I’ve seen firsthand how the fellows interact with the faculty. The attendings are very approachable and always ready to assist with anything in both the clinical and research settings. 

When I was applying for a cardiology fellowship, this program had everything I was looking for. It offers a “second family” vibe, strong clinical and research training, and a geographical location that provides an excellent quality of life. I know that when complete my training I will be clinically and academically strong in the field of cardiology, while also having an outstanding professional and personal life. 
Areas of interest: Electrophysiology, interventional cardiology


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Chris DeZorzi, MD

Medical School: Creighton University School of Medicine, Omaha, NE
Residency: University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA
What attracted you to this program?
Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute has a unique training opportunity that offers tremendous clinical training combined with years of proven success in research. Beyond the extraordinary training, is a real sense of community among the fellows and the faculty involved with the program. Throughout my medical training I've realized, it's not so much where you are, but the people you are with. The people—both fellows and educators–at the Mid America Heart Institute clearly stood out from all the other programs I interviewed at, and that’s why I’m proud to be here.
Areas of interest: Adult congenital cardiology, advanced cardiac imaging


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Richard A. Mills, MD

Medical School: Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA
Residency: University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX
What attracted you to this program? 
My wife and I were both applying for fellowships and Kansas City was one area which offered excellent training for both of us. The cardiology leadership at my previous program had very high regard for the faculty and training offered at the Mid America Heart Institute. After coming for a visit, I was very impressed by the quality of the clinical training. The Mid America Heart Institute stands out by excelling in elite clinical training while not sacrificing a positive academic culture. I have been pleasantly surprised by the many didactic sessions, as well as the other resources the administration offers. This institution is very strong in clinical outcomes research and fellows are encouraged to participate. I will also say that Dr. Enriquez and the rest of the program leadership have been very supportive and have made me feel very welcome. 
Areas of interest: General Cardiology, interventional and structural cardiology


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Poghni Peri-Okonny, MD

Medical School: Rush Medical College, Chicago, IL​
Residency: University of Rochester, Rochester, NY
Fellowship: Hypertension Fellowship, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX
What attracted you to this program?
The cardiology program at Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute/UMKC offers the opportunity for great clinical cardiology training and outstanding outcomes research training. There is a rich history of high impact research originating from this institution. All aspects of cardiology are well represented and are quite robust providing great learning opportunities for trainees.  The program leadership emphasizes collegiality and have done a great job of building an inclusive, cooperative culture within the program.
Areas of interest: Cardiovascular outcomes, hypertension, general cardiology


First Year

Stefanie Vamenta, MD

Medical School: University of Mississippi, Jackson, MS
Residency: University of Alabama-Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
What attracted you to this program?
During my interview, the collegiality among the fellows and attendings was evident. This cohesiveness was what drew me to Saint Luke's. The faculty has a genuine, vested interest in the fellows’ education, while at the same time encourages wellness outside of work. In addition, the program is clinically well-rounded and provides fellows with exposure not only to bread-and-butter cardiology cases but also to an array of new advancements in the field.
Areas of interest: General Cardiology, Preventive Cardiology, Advanced Imaging


Anas Noman, MD

Medical School: University of Sana’a, Faculty of Medicine, Sana'a, Yemen
Residency: University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine, Kansas City, MO
What attracted you to this program?
Spending three years as a resident at UMKC, I was given the opportunity to work closely with the different cardiology teams at UMKC/Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute, including attendings, fellows, and nurse practitioners. Everyone here is kind and very dedicated to educating and helping each other. The fellowship program is structured in a way that prepares fellows to succeed when they graduate whether they choose an academic or private setting. The complexity of cases, advanced skills, and use of technology will give us the tools we need regardless of the goals each fellow has. Besides the solid clinical training, the program is one of the few in the country that is known for its outstanding cardiovascular outcomes research. This gives me abundant opportunities to be involved in a vast array of research projects. Most of all, Kansas City is very family-friendly and was a perfect fit for my wife and our kids.
Areas of interest: Interventional cardiology


Vittal Hejjaji, MD

Medical School: Rajarajeswari Medical College and Hospital, Bangalore, India
Residency: Case Western Reserve University/University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, Cleveland, OH
What attracted you to this program? 
My interest in pursuing a career in academic medicine made me seek a program which blends clinical exposure of cardiovascular medicine with strong outcomes research training. I found this combination at Saint Luke’s Hospital. The faculty, (clinical and research), are extremely friendly, approachable and profoundly invested in the fellows’ education. The clinical fellowship covers all fields of cardiovascular medicine with a variety of patient populations at Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute and Truman Medical Center. Excellent camaraderie among the cardiovascular fellows, and their willingness to help one another is a great attraction and was evident during the interview process. The clinical structure provides an adequate amount of autonomy for fellows, along with opportunities for advanced resident/medical student education. This will help prepare us to be successful cardiologists in all areas of practice. The excellent subspecialty training in the ever-growing field of cardiovascular medicine gives me the chance to explore all areas in an unbiased fashion. The opportunity to work alongside a few of the nation’s best cardiologists is a major attraction. I would strongly recommend this program to all applicants who seek a balanced cardiovascular training program.
Areas of interest: Cardiovascular risk factor prevention, public health and implementation science, general clinical cardiology


Ali Malik, MD

Medical School: Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan
Residency: University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada
What attracted you to this program?
The cardiology fellowship at Saint Luke’s/UMKC is one of the very few in the country that offers a comprehensive program. We are world leaders in patient centered outcomes research that helps physicians improve patient care all over the world. The clinical training is vigorous and involves a variety of experiences ranging from basic cardiology cases to state-of-the-art procedures. The faculty is very involved in the fellowship and makes every effort to help the fellows reach their potential.
Areas of interest: Interventional cardiology and research focused on streamlining systems of care as to improve outcomes.


Recent fellowship graduates

2020 graduates

Ata Bajwa, MD – Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology Fellowship, Penn State, Hershey, PA
Travis Gratton, MD – Interventional Cardiology Fellowship, UMKC/Saint Luke's Hospital, Kansas City, MO
Krishna Patel, MD – Advanced Imaging Fellowship, UMKC and Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA
Yashashwi Pokharel, MD – Academic/Clinical Cardiologist, Wake Forrest, NC

2019 graduates 

Adam Fledderman, MD – Academic Cardiologist, UMKC/Mid America Heart Institute, Kansas City, MO
Mohammed Omer, MD – Interventional cardiologist, Mayo Clinic Health system, LaCrosse, WI
Matt Pflederer, MD– Academic/CV Imaging Cardiologist, UAB, Birmingham, AL
Mohammed Qintar, MD – Structural Heart Disease Fellowship, Detroit, MI
Justin Sheehy, MD – Structural Heart Disease Fellowship, Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, Kansas City, MO

2018 graduates

Abdelrahman Aly– General Cardiologist, MedStar, Baltimore, MD
Tim Fendler, MD – Advanced Heart Failure Cardiologist, Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, Kansas City, MO
Anna Grodzinsky– Academic Cardiologist, UMKC/MAHI
Dany Jacob, MD – Interventional Cardiologist, Saint Luke’s Mid America Heart Institute, Kansas City, MO

2017 graduates

Abdul-rahman Abdel-karim, MD – Interventional cardiologist, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, Southaven, MS
Kaushik K. Jain, DO – Advanced Heart Failure, Huntsville Hospital, Huntsville, Alabama
Faraz Kureshi, MD – Cardiologist, Austin Heart, Austin, TX
Rigoberto Ramirez, MD – Clinical cardiac electrophysiologist, KU Medical Center, Kansas City, KS