Recently, DocWire News announced a partnership with CardioNerds – a highly-engaging podcast and educational platform focused on, above all, democratizing cardiovascular education. We sat down with Amit Goyal, MD, and Daniel Ambinder, MD, Co-Founders of CardioNerds, who discussed the genesis of the platform, its mission, future plans, and of course, the partnership with DocWire – a collaboration which stands to enhance both brands. See what the CardioNerds had to say.

DocWire News: Who are the CardioNerds?

Dr. Amit Goyal: The CardioNerds is something that Dan and I started a couple of years ago, but it’s really turned into, I think, a movement driven by a mission and it’s all about the people. So the CardioNerds is a community, it’s a species, it’s a people that do work around a defined mission. And I think Dan, you want to talk a little bit about how we got started?

Dr. Daniel Ambinder: Yeah. Absolutely Rob and it’s great to be here. We definitely owe some of the origins to CardioNerds to one of our mentors, Dr. Reza Manesh who is one of the co-founders of Clinical Problem Solvers, a fantastic internal medicine podcast. And he and his partner had started and had a great amount of success and he basically thought of us and basically got us together and got us thinking about starting a podcast, but it took a little bit of moving and shaking and finally, we actually did move forward with that. We ended up putting out an episode that was a trial run, aortic stenosis. It really took off and people really enjoyed it and we knew we were onto something.

What is the mission of the CardioNerds?

Dr. Daniel Ambinder: Rob, thanks for asking that. After we got started and we started producing episodes, we realized that in order to have a platform that grows, it has to have a mission because a mission is what’s going to be guiding every decision that we make going forward and that’s actually something that we got from our mentor, Dr. Sanjay Desai who was our internal medicine program director at Hopkins where Amit and I met. And we thought a lot about it and we realized that ultimately we want to democratize cardiovascular education. And that actually means many things and we broaden that out to encompass several key features of democratization of cardiovascular education. And that includes the following, we want to create and disseminate education. We want to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion because if people don’t feel comfortable at the table, then that’s not really democratization of cardiovascular education at all.

We want to foster wellness and humanity. We really want people to be happy with their jobs, their vocation, and their careers that they’ve really chosen to pursue passionately. We want to provide mentorship and sponsorship and we really want to invigorate a love of cardiovascular science and medicine. And those are the foundations of what we mean when we want to democratize cardiovascular education.

Dr. Amit Goyal: Yeah and that mission has been so useful to have because as we grew beyond a podcast into other areas, like what we call the CardioNerds Academy to really develop and foster a science around the creation of digital education in other fields and platforms, clinical trials group, medical journalism and we’ll talk a little bit more about that in terms of our collaboration with DocWire News. The mission really was what anchored us into what defines us and how we wanted to create each of these new programs. But another part I think is very unique to CardioNerds and really important part of our blueprint is that everything we do is communal. We talk about ourselves as a communal platform. We have a lot of people, I wish I could name them for you, but we have a lot of people who make CardioNerds what it is. The community has involved so far as guests, as speakers, but also as part of academy members and fellows and ambassadors and journalists.

Across the CardioNerds umbrella we’ve had over 200 faculty, over 300 trainees. We regularly collaborate with over 50 fellowship programs, more than six professional societies. We collaborate with industry, we collaborate with DocWire News. It’s a microscopic community operating at a macro level and is reflective of all of the individuals that make it all happen.

Talk about your recent partnership with us (DocWire News) – what the partnership entails, and why you chose us.

Yeah. So this has been a really exciting aspect of CardioNerds and DocWire News is a news outlet and CardioNerds, we hadn’t been involved in news, but the creation of news, if you step back, really speaks to the ethos of CardioNerds, which is to democratize cardiovascular education. And so we thought this would be a terrific opportunity to create a new branch that we call the CardioNerds medical journalism program and we invited, via a competitive application, to everyone within the CardioNerds umbrella, the academy and ambassadors, all trainees to students, residents, and cardiovascular fellows to apply for these positions. We came up with a terrific crew of CardioNerds correspondence led by executive correspondent Dr. Jessie Holtzman who is now, or soon will be, chief resident at UCSF future cardiology fellow. And together this incredible team reviews the latest and greatest in cardiovascular science and figures out how to distill it in a way that is widely applicable and can be disseminated for the masses.

And so, that not only, again, anchors us back to our mission to democratize cardiovascular education, but it’s also an opportunity for us as educators to learn what does as an immersive experience in medical journalism do for graduate medical trainees interest in a given field, their sense of mastery, their engagement with scientific literature. And so, again, Dr. Jessie Holtzman is leading a project to actually study those questions, which she will be presenting at the Society for General Internal Medicine in 2022 and then we’ll proceed to creating a manuscript thereafter. So, this outlet, this partnership with DocWire News rather allows us just, again, another opportunity to really hammer in the pillars of our mission, but then also a really cool way of studying innovations around graduate medical education. Dan, do you have anything to add with that?

Dr. Daniel Ambinder: Yes and I would just say that just watching this project grow, Amit and I basically review all of the articles that are put together by our amazing correspondence and just watching them grow as writers, critical thinkers, and synthesizers of the data that is coming out at big meetings, but also on the regular basis and then pulling out content that will be applicable to many practitioners has been just a wonderful journey to see and the writing has gotten greater and greater and it’s just been very refreshing. And it personally has kept me more up-to-date in my own readings and my own understanding of the current data. So it’s just been a phenomenal project, a lot of excitement, and the correspondence are always bringing us more ideas that they’d like to write about. This is something that has been just really a nice addition to the CardioNerds platform and such a great collaboration.

What can we look forward to seeing from the CardioNerds in 2022?

Dr. Daniel Ambinder: Rob, we’re so glad you asked that. There’s so many things on the pipeline coming down and things that we’re trying to do to add to the cardiovascular community in terms of innovation and excitement. So one thing that we were very excited to announce earlier this year was the CardioNerds scholarships program, which aims to support projects that satisfy our mission to democratize cardiovascular education by providing mentorship, sponsorship, and funding. And we actually have an application form that is going out. It’s actually live and you can see that on our website, but the deadline for that will be May 15th, 2022. Really excited about what that will bring and the projects that we’ll be able to help develop and cultivate.

Dr. Amit Goyal: Yeah. We’re so excited about the scholarship program and really excited to see what kind of innovation people propose as part of their applications. Another project that is brand new and I think innovative is the CardioNerds clinical trials program. And you might imagine how did a podcast turn into a platform supporting clinical trial enrollment? And again, it goes back to being anchored in that mission and really building a community around all things related to cardiovascular medicine. So, we partnered with the trial leadership for PARAGLIDE-HF, which is a use of RNA in the context of decompensated HFpEF. And what we did was we applied the same things that worked with every other aspect of CardioNerds. We build a community around clinical trial enrollment, but here, instead of pairing content creation with FIT or fellow development, it was pairing equitable trial enrollment with fellow personal and professional development.

We took the sites that were enrolling in the trial that have fellows. We work with their site principal investigators to identify FIT trialists or fellow in training trialists. Now so far we have 18 sites that we’re really proud of. This is all with incredible mentorship from the lead PI doc, Robert Menz. And so far, I would cautiously say that it’s been a great program because everyone really wins from this, right? The trial wins because we get more patients enrolled. The patients win because they’re getting into clinical trials more efficiently, we hope. The fellows certainly win because they get this incredible engagement and backdoor into the conduct of clinical trials, networking with each other and mentorship from the PIs, and the PIs win because they get fellows to train, to teach, to mentor down to. So it’s a great program and we hopefully will be describing the results soon after this trial is completed.

Dr. Daniel Ambinder: Yes. The CardioNerds clinical trials is just something so innovative and kudos for you. This is really your brainchild that with great partners you have brought forth and it’s really been such a successful journey thus far. And another thing that we could talk about for the year of 2022 is the CardioNerds Academy, which is one of our greatest prides of the entire platform. As we said multiple times, CardioNerds has been founded to democratize cardiovascular education. And we do that by creating digital content for asynchronous medical education consumption and this overarching mission of marrying content creation with personal and professional development. And so we launched the CardioNerds Academy last year, which basically harnesses the entire CardioNerds network and platform to facilitate mentorship, networking, and collaborative efforts at the national and international level. And our first year we just actually graduated the class and we brought in our new class and we were just so exceptionally excited about them.

And the CardioNerds Academy is tiered in that we have leadership, Dr. Tommy Das is our program director, Dr. Rick Ferraro is the director of our journal clubs, Dr. Gurleen Kaur is our director of the intern program, which is another subset of the CardioNerds Academy that has just been such a beautiful mission and project. And then Dr. Saman Nematollahi is our director of research. And you could visit our webpage at cardionerds.com/academy to see the entire crew, a group of people that are just so dedicated to this mission and creating such wonderful content for the consumption of the entire medical community at large.

Dr. Amit Goyal: Yeah. So many active projects, but the academy and the people within the academy, they really are the crown jewel of CardioNerds in our eyes and we’re so grateful for the work they do and they make us better. They make the whole platform better. Rob, you’re getting into trouble by asking us this question. There’s so much we’re excited to talk about that’s in the pipeline for 2022. Let me tell you about one more program, which we’re also very excited about. It’s about guidelines. Clinical practice guidelines are months, if not years of effort in synthesizing primary literature in developing guidelines around what we should be doing, how we should be treating patients, how we should be improving the quality of the care that we deliver as individuals and as systems, but the penetration of guidelines takes months and years, if not longer.

So we decided to tackle that. How do we help penetrate the education around guidelines so that way we can all be practicing at our A game? And we are doing this for the first time ever. We call this the decipher the guideline series. We’re doing this with, as a pilot with the 2021 ESC cardiovascular prevention guidelines in a project that’s mentored by Dr. Eugene Yang at Washington University. I’m sorry. Dr. Eugene Yang at the University of Washington. And this is in collaboration with the National Lipid Association, the PCNA, and the ACC prevention section. Essentially we’re going to be taking the guideline and with a team of over 30 trainees and experts who are essentially distilling the guidelines into high impact clinical vignette based question answers using many podcasts that are bite size. So think eight to 15 minute podcasts you can listen to on your way to work that really get at the heart of what’s important in the guidelines that is relevant to your practice.

So far we just rolled the project out. I’m really excited about it. The feedback has been great. We’ll learn from this and we’ll apply to the next guideline and the next guideline and go on from there. So this is just a sample Rob. We’ve got a lot coming your way and are really excited to do all this, but then also very excited for our partnership with DocWire News and Mashup Media because I think this really is, again, it gives both platforms the ability to amplify our missions, which is to really reach everyone we possibly can to improve the knowledge base around the core concepts relevant to the care of patients with cardiovascular illness or at risk of cardiovascular disease.