In this special Lifetime Achievement Award Spotlight, we asked this year's recipient John C. Burnett, Jr., MD, to share career highlights, opinions on the future of heart failure care, and his professional advice on entering a career in the field of heart failure.
Please share with us some “highlights” from your distinguished academic career that have significantly impacted the field of heart failure.
Three highlights from career I think have impact the field of heart failure (HF). First, the development of the atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) assay in 1986 to establish the increase in ANP in HF laying the foundation for natriuretic peptides as biomarkers for HF. Second, our work in 1993 combining neprilysin inhibition with antagonizing angiotensin II in a model of HF foreshadowed the development of ARNi’s. Third, our development of designer natriuretic peptides as novel peptide therapeutics is also laying the foundation for an innovative drug therapy for HF.
In your opinion, what are important next steps in research to improve heart failure care?
Next steps must focus on HF prevention and novel strategies including novel drugs to intervene early. Steps also should be directed at identifying special populations at high risk for HF. Lastly, we need to better understand the mechanisms of HF to prevent its progression.
Over the years, you have served in many key and critical roles within the Heart Failure Society of America. What do you consider to be some of the pivotal activities that you have led within our Society?
Two are most important to me. The first is mentoring young physicians and scientists in HF research and promoting support within the HFSA to support career development. Second, is my Chairing the Publications Committee and enhancing the importance and quality of the Journal of Cardiac Failure within the Society.
What do you think are new opportunities to grow the Heart Failure Society of America that will enhance its role as a leader amongst professional societies engaged in heart failure education, research, advocacy, etc.?
I think engaging more our communities in HF awareness and prevention should be a high priority. Much like other societies in the area of cancer and multiple sclerosis. Vital too is that we should make every effort to promote HF research at the national and local levels establishing the premier role for this disease.
What advice do you have for early career professionals who are entering the field?
Heart failure is diverse in many ways in its etiology, progression and therapies. Develop a special expertise in some realm of HF research, education and practice. Most importantly do what excites you and that you enjoy doing.
About the HFSA Lifetime Achievement Award
The HFSA Lifetime Achievement Award is presented by the Executive Council of the HFSA. The purpose of this award is to recognize a lifetime body of work by an individual who has made a significant and sustained contributions to the field of heart failure. The 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award has been made possible with the generous support of Cytokinetic