University of Arizona Health Sciences cardiologist Julia Indik, MD, PhD, was honored with the Laennec Master Clinician Award from the American Heart Association at the group’s virtual 2021 Scientific Sessions in November. The award offers special recognition of an individual’s lifetime achievement in patient care and teaching in cardiology, acknowledging outstanding contributions to both.
Dr. Indik, professor of medicine in the Division of Cardiology, UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson, is director of the Sarver Heart Center’s Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship Program. She also is the Flinn Foundation and American Heart Association Endowed Chair in Electrophysiology and Heart Disease Research.
“As I look over the list of past honorees, I’m overwhelmed,” said Dr. Indik, who specializes in cardiac electrophysiology, a cardiology subspecialty that focuses on heart rhythm disorders. “During the past 20 years, the idea of ‘bedside’ cardiology has changed so much, particularly the way technology is incorporated into patient care and diagnostics,” she said.
The Laennec award has been given annually since 1994. Prior honorees include Frank Marcus, MD, founder of the cardiology division at the College of Medicine – Tucson, a pioneer in the field of cardiac electrophysiology and one of Dr. Indik’s mentors.
In addition to teaching at UArizona Health Sciences, Dr. Indik has served on numerous committees of the American College of Cardiology and Heart Rhythm Society to promote professional education and development of clinical consensus statements and guidelines. She has taught cardiology board certification courses and has written certification tests for the American Board of Internal Medicine.
Dr. Indik’s research has included the study of waveform characteristics of ventricular fibrillation and its relationship to heart failure and myocardial infarction, or heart attack, in the context of resuscitation research with Karl Kern, MD. She also was involved in study of arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia, with Dr. Marcus.
“The Laennec Master Clinician Award is one of the highest honors in cardiology and is awarded only to the most distinguished and brilliant teachers of cardiovascular medicine. Dr. Indik is highly deserving of such recognition for her skills as a physician educator of trainees and peers,” said Nancy Sweitzer, MD, PhD, Sarver Heart Center director and professor of medicine. “It is wonderful illustration of the type of internationally renowned and distinguished faculty we are so lucky to have at the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center and Banner – University Medicine in Tucson.”
Dr. Indik earned her bachelor’s degree in astrophysics from Princeton University and a doctorate in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She came to Tucson in 1986 to work at UArizona’s Steward Observatory and Lunar and Planetary Laboratory as a postdoctoral research associate. In 1991, she changed career directions, enrolling at the College of Medicine – Tucson and completing her medical degree in 1996. She took an extra year to do research in radiation oncology through the college's Medical Student Research Program. It was during her UArizona Health Sciences residency training, which she finished in 1999, that Dr. Indik found her niche in cardiology. She completed her cardiovascular disease fellowship in 2002 and electrophysiology fellowship here in 2003.
A version of this story appeared originally on the UArizona Sarver Heart Center website.