The generous support provided by the Society of Cardiovascular Anesthesiologists (SCA) has enabled me to perform cutting edge research and generate novel data for future grant proposals that would not have been possible otherwise. These data and publications have enabled me to submit more detailed proposals for extramural funding from the American Heart Association, the National Institute on Health, and from private funding institutions. This would not have been possible without the generous funding provided by the SCA. Public funding is not keeping pace with the advances in cardiovascular surgery. The absence of continuous advancement in medicine breeds stagnation–progress requires research. Currently studies that can improve patient quality of life often go unfunded in large part because of continuing reductions in research funding from the National Institutes of Health and other sources.

While major corporations have long recognized the importance of continuing to fund proprietary research, we need more investigation that is not driven by profitable product development or constrained by decreasing government sponsorship. With members who are preeminent experts in the field, the SCA and the SCA Foundation have the privilege to understand and the obligation to focus on unmet major clinical needs.
Basic science research provides the foundation for clinical advances. Without results from the laboratory, clinicians must resort to intuition or trial and error for patient protocol development. Difficulty in obtaining financial support for basic science research often derives from the perception that immediate application in the clinical setting is not possible. In contrast, funding visionaries know that much of the basic science research that underlies clinical practice today had no practical application when it was performed.

The SCA grant helped me in several ways. First, it was certainly helpful to obtain funding during my cardiothoracic fellowship at Duke. As I did a 2-year fellowship, my research year benefited from the extra support provided by the SCA. Second, when I returned home to Munich, Germany, it was good to be able to show that I already had successfully obtained some funding from external sources before I successfully submitted an internal grant to the University in Munich. Third, obtaining funding from other sources (such as industry) is facilitated by having a track record of funding. Finally, I was able to serve as a mentor for another SCA starter grant recipientSuch advances as the ligation of patent ductus arteriosis (PDA), resection of coarctation, and artificial valves were preceded by extensive investigation and lab research

The SCA in combination with the SCA Foundation have the vision and leadership to fund research founded on the quest for knowledge. Some of this research is basic science research where the application to improved patient care is deferred, while other SCA Foundation-funded projects are clinical projects that can be transferred to patient care immediately upon completion.

Back to Top