MSCR Student & Sports Cardiologist Assists Atlanta Sports Teams; Focused on Sports Medicine-related Research

Atlanta Hawks legend, Dominique Wilkins with Jonathan Kim, MD

Jonathan Kim, MD, assistant professor of medicine, Division of Cardiology, Emory University School of Medicine, adjunct professor, Division of Applied Physiology, Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), and Georgia CTSA Master of Science in Clinical Research (MSCR) student, serves as the head team cardiologist for the Atlanta Falcons, most recently seen at the 2017 Super Bowl. Kim joined the Emory faculty in 2014 as part of the Emory Clinical Cardiovascular Research Institute and Emory Healthcare at Emory-Saint Joseph’s Hospital as the first-ever sports cardiologist.

Kim also works with the Atlanta Hawks and college athletes from the Georgia Tech and Emory. He is the team cardiologist for Georgia Tech Sport Medicine and the medical director for the annual Peachtree Road Race. One critically important task is to identify the small number of athletes at risk for sudden cardiac arrest. While this instance is rare, exercise can increase risk of precipitating a cardiac arrest. He helps identify these athletes, and ensures that those incorrectly identified as having cardiac disease do not undergo unnecessary testing and stress. Kim keeps the players safe and healthy throughout the seasons, and is committed to maintaining their health and wellness on their pursuit to victory. He dedicates his practice to managing cardiovascular disease while also improving their preventative care, integrating services and treatment options to help athletes stay active in sports if possible. Certain cardiac treatments or medications, while standard for the general population, may have side effects that limit athletic performance or even preclude athletics if utilized. Kim’s recognition that athletes are different than the general population lends him a better cardiac perspective.

Read "Emory physicians care for Atlanta Falcons on their journey to the Super Bowl"

Kim is principal investigator of an NIH K23 mentored patient-oriented research career development award which supports his research training and research-related activities focused on issues relevant to sports cardiology and exercise physiology. His Master of Science in Clinical Research (MSCR) thesis research project is entitled, “Sub-Clinical Vascular Dysfunction in American-Style Football Players: Temporal Trends, Mechanisms, and Effects on Ventriculo-Arterial Coupling.” This project focuses on evaluating blood pressure changes in football players. His research activities have also focused on analyzing exercise-induced cardiovascular remodeling, pre-participation in electrocardiogram (ECG) screening of collegiate athletes, cardiac arrests in marathon and half-marathons (which went on to be published in the New England Journal of Medicine), and hypertension in isometric sporting disciplines.

The Emory MSCR degree program, from the Laney Graduate School at Emory University, provides didactic and mentored clinical and translational research training. The degree is designed for participants at Emory University and Georgia Tech who hold a doctorate or equivalent degree (such as physicians and PhD-level scientists) or predoctoral trainees (medical students or PhD students) enrolled in a dual degree program (MD/MSCR and PhD/MSCR tracks) and have demonstrated a commitment to a career in clinical investigation.

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The Georgia CTSA is a statewide partnership between Emory, Morehouse School of Medicine, Georgia Tech, University of Georgia and is one of a national consortium striving to improve the way biomedical research is conducted across the country. The consortium, funded through the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences as one of the National Institutes of Health’s Clinical and Translational Science Awards, shares a common vision to translate laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients, engage communities in clinical research efforts, and train the next generation of clinical investigators.

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