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CMRU Recognized by Area Nonprofit for Team Excellence

Cardiometabolic Research Unit Provides Health Screenings to Vulnerable Population

four people standing infront of a crowded room, one holding a framed certificate
From left, UGM Volunteer Coordinator Tonya Johnson, UGM CEO Bruce J. Butler, Neil Keshvani, M.D., and Daniel Ayodel, M.B.S.

The Cardiometabolic Research Unit, under the direction of Thomas J. Wang, M.D., Professor and Chair of Internal Medicine, and Ambarish Pandey, M.D., M.S.C.S., Associate Professor in the Division of Cardiology, recently received the Team Excellence in Community Engagement Award from the Union Gospel Mission (UGM) Dallas, a full-service shelter for the unhoused, in recognition of a community engagement project the team initiated at UGM Dallas Calvert Place Men’s Shelter.

In October 2023, members of the laboratory conducted comprehensive cardiovascular health screenings, education, and nutritional guidance to over 200 individuals at Calvert Place. The shelter serves adult homeless men and veterans ages 18 and older. Staff members work to address the diverse and sometimes critical needs of each person they serve by providing hot meals, a comfortable bed, clothing, a warm shower, health and mental health clinics, and daily spiritual services. 

“Our entire laboratory collaborated in planning and executing this project,” says Michael Mitakidis, M.D., an Instructor in the Division of Cardiology and CMRU Administrator. “Dr. Neil Keshvani, a Cardiology fellow and postdoctoral researcher in the lab, assumed the medical leadership role, ensuring that cardiovascular risk assessments were meticulously defined and administered. During the patient education session, he emphasized cardiovascular risk and self-care. Following this, Daniel Ayodele, our Clinical Research Coordinator, orchestrated a comprehensive health-screening maze in the shelter’s hall, with CMRU's team members carefully recording screening results for the cardiovascular risk report as residents moved through various stations. At the final station, residents engaged in discussions about their screening findings with our clinicians.”

As a sign of the event’s success, the CMRU has been invited to return and continue this community service.

“The CMRU has become a trusted partner, vital in addressing the medical well-being of residents on our campuses,” says Bruce J. Butler, Chief Executive Officer of UGM Dallas. “We recognize and acknowledge their efforts to inspire, educate, encourage, and uplift our community and help shield our most vulnerable people.”

Other colleagues who contributed to the success of the event included Katie Frederick, Manager of Business Affairs, Michaela Carrington, M.S., an Instructor in the School of Health Professions, and Alexis Bosquez, B.S., a student in the School of Health Professions.

Dr. Wang holds the Donald W. Seldin Distinguished Chair in Internal Medicine.

To learn more about the Cardiometabolic Research Unit, visit the CMRU lab site.