Dr. Nancy Sweitzer to Co-Direct UArizona Health Sciences Clinical Translational Sciences Graduate Program

The University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center director will co-lead the innovative program with Dr. Ronald Hammer to match students with faculty mentors to train in research design and methodology, biostatistics and responsible conduct of research relevant to human health and disease.

TUCSON, Ariz. – Nancy Sweitzer, MD, PhD, director of the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center, has been appointed co-director of the UArizona Health Sciences Graduate Program in Clinical Translational Sciences.

Dr. Sweitzer, who also holds appointments as professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Cardiology in the College of Medicine – Tucson, will co-lead the program with Ronald Hammer, PhD, the CTS program co-director in Phoenix. Dr. Hammer also is professor of basic medical sciences, pharmacology and psychiatry, chair of the UArizona Graduate Council and director of the Graduate Training Office at the College of Medicine – Phoenix.

The CTS program, which enrolled its first students in 2015, offers training in translational biomedical research to post-baccalaureate students and to early-career clinicians who wish to become physician-scientists. As the first UArizona Health Sciences-administered graduate program, CTS operates across the health sciences colleges, matching students who have a range of translational research interests with faculty mentors to receive foundational training in research design and methodology, biostatistics and responsible conduct of research relevant to human health and disease.

Nancy Sweitzer, MD, PhD“Dr. Sweitzer’s training and experience in both clinical and basic sciences make her uniquely qualified to co-lead the Clinical Translational Sciences Graduate Program,” said Michael Dake, MD, senior vice president, UArizona Health Sciences, and a professor of medical imaging, medicine and surgery. "Through programs at the Sarver Heart Center, such as the Cardiology Fellow Research Pathways and Investigator Awards, she mentors many early-career physician scientists and instills a passion for academic medicine and life-long learning.”

“It is exciting to serve with Dr. Hammer to continue to grow the Clinical Translational Sciences graduate program on our campuses,” Dr. Sweitzer said. “I see the program as a strategic resource for students seeking to apply critical principles of discovery and rigorous hypothesis testing as we move scientific endeavors from pre-clinical to clinical environments. I also see it as an essential bridge for faculty and a way to strengthen bonds between the strong pre-clinical sciences at the University of Arizona and our clinical faculty.”

Dr. Sweitzer has served as editor-in-chief of the journal Circulation: Heart Failure, since 2017. In this capacity, she engages cardiovascular trainees at all levels in the rigors of scholarly publication and review.

Board-certified in advanced heart failure and transplant cardiology, Dr. Sweitzer is a clinical researcher specializing in heart failure, mechanical circulatory support and heart transplant patient care. She is recognized for her leadership and experience in clinical trials, with extensive research on the physiology of heart failure with preserved systolic function, a disease that disproportionately affects older women.

She holds leadership posts in a number of national professional societies, including serving as current president of the Association of Professors of Cardiology. She also has served as a member of numerous National Institutes of Health committees and serves on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Advisory Panel on Mechanical Circulatory Support Devices.

Dr. Sweitzer has led many NIH-sponsored studies as well as studies supported by industry and academic sponsors. She has a particular interest in early phase clinical research that translates basic science discovery to the clinical arena. In addition, she has served for five years as faculty in the Eureka Institute for Translational Medicine’s International Certificate Course in Translational Medicine.

Dr. Sweitzer joined the UArizona faculty in 2014 to become director of the Sarver Heart Center. She received both her medical degree and doctorate in physiology in 1993 from the University of Wisconsin in Madison. Following her medical training, she completed her internship and residency in internal medicine, and fellowships in cardiology, heart failure and cardiac transplantation at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital, where she remained as an instructor in medicine from 1999-2001. From then until 2014, Dr. Sweitzer returned to Madison to serve on the faculty at the University of Wisconsin.

About the Sarver Heart Center
The University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center's 160 members include faculty from cardiology, cardiothoracic surgery, pediatric cardiology, neurology, vascular surgery, radiology, endocrinology, emergency medicine, nursing, pharmacy and basic sciences. The UArizona Sarver Heart Center emphasizes a highly collaborative research environment, fostering innovative translational or "bench-to-bedside" research; dedicated to innovating lifesaving patient care. If you would like to give permission for Sarver Heart Center to contact you about heart research studies, please complete a Cardiology Research Registry Information Form. The academic mission of the Sarver Heart Center encompasses four fellowship programs in cardiovascular disease, interventional cardiology, advanced heart failure and transplant cardiology, and electrophysiology. For more information: heart.arizona.edu (Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube).

About the University of Arizona Health Sciences
The University of Arizona Health Sciences is the statewide leader in biomedical research and health professions training. UArizona Health Sciences includes the Colleges of Medicine (Tucson and Phoenix), Nursing, Pharmacy, and the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, with main campus locations in Tucson and the Phoenix Biomedical Campus in downtown Phoenix. From these vantage points, Health Sciences reaches across the state of Arizona, the greater Southwest and around the world to provide next-generation education, research and outreach. A major economic engine, Health Sciences employs nearly 5,000 people, has approximately 4,000 students and 900 faculty members, and garners $200 million in research grants and contracts annually. For more information: uahs.arizona.edu (Follow us: Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | LinkedIn | Instagram).