Heart Matters – September 2022

Global Health Spotlight: Zainab Mahmoud, MD, MS


Zainab Mahmoud, MD, MS is passionate about helping reduce the number of women who die in or around the time of childbirth. Nigeria and other countries with a high rate of maternal deaths, including the United States where maternal mortality rates are rising, may be able to benefit from her research. She hopes to leverage her relationship with the Global Health Center to build more partnerships and expand her research networks.

Mahmoud’s current project, “Implementation and evaluation of diagnosis, treatment, and control of hypertensive disorders of pregnancy in Nigeria”, is funded by an American College of Cardiology, Association of Black Cardiologists, Merck Foundation fellowship. Her research seeks to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality in Nigeria by adapting, implementing, and evaluating evidence-based strategies used in the U.S., such as home blood pressure monitoring and post-partum risk assessments, in collaboration with the University of Abuja and University of Abuja Teaching Hospital.

“Our long-term objective is to implement a feasible and acceptable evidence-based cardio-obstetrics service, which can serve as a model to reduce maternal morbidity and mortality across Nigeria and other countries with high maternal mortality rates,” said Mahmoud.

Mahmoud first encountered the Global Health Center team, Victor Dávila Román, MD, director, and Jacaranda van Rheenen, PhD, manager, when she mentored students in the Global Health Mentoring program. Since then, she also met and collaborated with new Global Health Center co-Director, Mark Huffman, MD, MPH and other researchers working in global health. “These have become some of the most impactful connections in shaping my career,” she said. “Global health research would be impossible without these mentorships and collaborations.“

Mahmoud says others who have global health-related interests or research should consider engaging with the center, “There is a lot to learn and many incredible people to meet.”

Way to Shine!

Dear Cardiac Rehab Team at Barnes West County: All of you have been incredible….not just with me! I have observed over 30 sessions how well you work together as nurses, exercise physiologists, dietitians, and administrators. The staff worked great with patients in every age category. You are all outstanding. Thank you very much! I have learned so much and you have all made a big difference by gently (and firmly!) tugging and pushing me back to being in good shape. Having been in healthcare administration for 45 years, it is easy to recognize outstanding patient care.

Other Way to Shine’s this month were for Malinda Allen, Emily Golightly, Karen Sneed, Barb Stehman, Lana Crawford, Tammy Arango, Tonya Becker, Katherine Ramsay, Dr. Jain’s Staff, Dr. Hartupee’s Nursing Staff, Donna Fuehne, EP Nurses, and Devin Wicks.

If you catch someone in the act of shining , contact or send in an email to bolhafner@wustl.edu.

Faculty and Staff Updates


Welcome to our newest fellow, Michelle Lim, MD!

Dr. Lim joined the division August 1st as Neidorff Aortopathy and Master Clinician Fellow. She previously worked as a cardiologist in Sydney, Australia and will be with us through June 2023.

Welcome also to Billing Schedule Associate I Emily Shaver, who started  September 6.

Farewell to Assistant Professor of medicine Jose Alvarez-Cardona, MD, and Administrative Coordinator Chasity Lewis. We wish them the best in their future endeavors!

Congratulations to Lisa Ford, who was promoted to Nurse Manager as of September 1.

Growing Families!

Congratulations to Assistant Professor of Medicine Dr. Prashanth Thakker and his family! Baby Rihaan Thakker was born on 8/12/22. Big brothers Ayaan and Kian were so excited to get to meet him in the hospital. Mom and baby are both home and doing well!
Congratulations to Anne Buechler, NP from WEC and her husband who welcomed a baby boy named John Michael “Jack” at the end of August!

About the Washington University Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Clinic

An interview with Mark Huffman, MD, MPH

Tell us about the Washington University Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Clinic.
The Washington University Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Clinic seeks to provide holistic and integrated preventive services for patients and their referring providers.

Who is the physician(s) involved with the clinic and what location is the clinic held?

There are numerous faculty who are highly active in providing cardiovascular disease preventive services (Drs. Andy Kates, Anita Bhandiwad, Justin Sadhu, Gmerice Hammond), including those with areas of expertise, such as hypertension management (Dr. Angela Brown), sports cardiology (Dr. Mustafa Husaini), and genetics (Dr. Nathan Stitzel). In January 2022, Dr. Mark Huffman joined the faculty as a preventive cardiologist to further expand preventive services. In 2023, Dr. Zainab Mahmoud will return to St. Louis for her cardio-obstetrics practice, including care that emphasizes long-term cardiovascular disease prevention in women.

Who do you collaborate with outside of cardiology?

The Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Clinic seeks to interact and harness WashU’s wide ranging resources, including other cardiovascular and metabolic specialists, nutritional and genetic counselors, social workers, and pharmacists, among others, for high-quality, team-based patient care.

How are patients referred to the clinic?

Patients and referring providers can schedule an appointment at the Center for Advanced Medicine, South County Center for Advanced Medicine, and the Heart Care Institute in West County.

How will this addition to our current clinical services advance equity?

Expanding access to high-quality cardiovascular disease preventive services is essential for achieving the mission of Washington University School of Medicine, specifically:

“Use our academic excellence and scientific rigor to continually advance and enhance health care in a way that ensures access, compassion, high value, equity and evidence-based care for all people in our community, including those who are underserved and uninsured”

A team-based care model for delivery of cardiovascular disease preventive services is recommended by the Community Preventive Services Task Force as a cost-effective strategy to promote cardiovascular health equity. Team-based care is recommended by the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Control Hypertension and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Best Practices for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Programs.

Would you recommend any articles or a presentation to learn more about this subspecialty?

Smith SC Jr, Bittner V, Gaziano JM, Giacomini JC, Pack QR, Polk DM, Stone NJ, Wang S. COCATS 4 Task Force 2: Training in Preventive Cardiovascular Medicine. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2015 May 5;65(17):1754-62.

Health & Wellness

Enjoy More Fruit

Georgie Menzel, DI and Emma Greenhill, MS, RD, LDN

Fruits are a big part of a balanced diet, but sometimes they can be confusing. Here is some information on what fruits are good for, the various ways fruits are kept and packaged at the store, how to properly store fruits at home, and how to add more fruit to your day.

1. Benefits of Eating the Rainbow

It is important to eat many different colors of fruits because each color has its own specific vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants. Antioxidants help to fight against the effects of free radicals. Red fruits rich in the carotenoid lycopene support heart and blood health. Orange and yellow fruits contain ß-carotene which boosts immunity. Green fruits contain lutein and zeaxanthin which help maintain eye health. Blue and purple fruits containing anthocyanins aid our memory. White fruits contain flavonoids that help to fight against disease. Because of all these great benefits most of us should be eating more than 3 servings of fruit each day.

2. Canned Fruit

Canned fruit can be a good option when your favorite fresh fruits are not in season, but you still want to save money while eating healthy. It is important to remember to be cautious and read labels when choosing canned fruit. Canned fruit can have a lot of added sugar, so it is best to pick brands that state, “in 100% juice”. Avoid canned fruits that sit in syrup because syrup is just added sugar (even light syrup is added sugar).

3. Frozen Fruit

Frozen fruit is also nice to have on hand when fresh fruit is out of season. Frozen fruit is often field-to-frozen, so the fruit is picked at peak ripeness and frozen shortly after. This method creates nutrient-dense fruit (sometimes higher in nutrients than fresh fruit!). Frozen fruit has many uses: it can be defrosted and eaten, added to plain oatmeal or yogurt, or blended into a smoothie. Some people enjoy frozen fruit right out of the freezer and (as long as you have strong teeth) that is okay too!

4. Fresh Fruit

Fresh fruit is the highest fiber option when choosing fruit. Canning and freezing processes can sometimes decrease fiber content slightly. When fruits are in-season they can be very affordable. However, using a mix of canned, fresh, and frozen fruit will save you the most money! And remember any form of fruit is a better option than a processed/snack food.

5. Fruit Storage

Most fruits are stored either on the kitchen counter or in the refrigerator. Apricots, avocados, bananas, kiwifruit, melons, nectarines, peaches/pears/plums, pineapples, and tomatoes are best stored on a countertop prior to cutting/eating. These fruits may need time to ripen once picked. Apples, berries, cherries, cranberries, grapefruit, grapes, lemons/limes, mangoes, and oranges are best stored in the refrigerator.

6. Fruit as a Snack or Dessert

Often times we find ourselves reaching for sweet snacks and desserts. It’s tough to make healthy choices when we crave sweet. But fruits can be a great alternative to dessert when it comes to satisfying a sweet craving. Instead of eating a piece of chocolate cake, you could enjoy a large ripe peach that tastes sweet but has no added sugar. The water content and fiber content of fruits will also help you stay full on less calories.

Fruit Salad with Lemon-Mint Yogurt Dressing


Created by the American Heart Association, this quick and easy recipe could be enjoyed at breakfast, lunch, or dinner and as a side, snack, or dessert!

Serves: 4     •    Prep Time: 10-15 minutes     •     Total Time: 10-15 minutes



  • ½ cup fat-free vanilla yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. chopped, fresh mint (optional)
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • ½ tsp. grated lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice


  • ½ cup cantaloupe balls
  • ½ cup blackberries
  • ½ cup raspberries
  • 4 sprigs fresh mint (optional)
  • ½ cup fresh or canned pineapple chunks, packed in their own juice, drained (fresh preferred)


1. In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients.

2. In a medium bowl, gently stir together the salad ingredients except the mint, being careful to not crush the berries. Spoon onto small plates. Drizzle with the dressing. Garnish with the mint sprigs.

Variations – Don’t like mint? Leave it out! Lemon-Vanilla Yogurt Dressing will still be delicious!

References – Recipe courtesy of heart.org

Do you have BJC Cigna? Remember that you have annual coverage to meet with me, Emma Greenhill, a Heart Care Institute dietitian. Call 314-996-8165 for more insurance information or to schedule an appointment.

Meet Your Colleague


Megan Hangyal

Ultrasound Sonographer

Fun Facts About Megan

How long in the division: 2 years

Family: Jimmy and I have been married for 3 years. We have a
2 year old son-Logan, a 4-month-old daughter-Haley, and a
Great Dane- Beau.

Hobby: Relaxing and spending time with family.

Favorite Food: Pizza, Pasta, French fries, ICE CREAM!

Nickname: Meg

Bucket List: Travel!

Sign up for an annual health screening

Benefit-eligible faculty, staff, postdoctoral appointees, and clinical fellows have three options to get screened: schedule an on-campus screening, visit your primary care doctor or book an appointment at a LabCorp near you. Participants receive a $50 Visa gift card (one per calendar year) upon screening completion. Get started now. Note: you will be asked to enter your WUSTL key and email through Health Advocate, our screening vendor.

Upcoming screening events include:

  • Siteman South County | Sept. 9, 8 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
  • Mid Campus Center (MCC) | Sept. 15, 9 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
  • Eric P. Newman Education Center (EPNEC) | Sept. 20, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.

View the full schedule and make an appointment.

Reduce stress with the Move into Mindfulness program

The Mind-Body Stress Reduction (MBSR) program consists of two 7-week courses – the basics and beyond the basics – that meet once per week to teach practical coping skills to manage stress.

Mindfulness – the basics is the first half of the MBSR series. Participants gain mindfulness skills and explore the body-centered practice of mindfulness. Virtual classes meet from 12-1 p.m. on Tuesdays, Sept. 6 – Oct. 18. Register here.

Mindfulness – beyond the basics is the second half of the MBSR series. Participants learn to direct mindfulness skills toward stressors. Virtual classes meet from 12-1 p.m. on Wednesdays, Sept. 7 – Oct. 19. Register here.

View all mindfulness offerings, including on-demand practices.

IT Alert: A New Way to Hack Your Account

Our readers might not yet be aware of a new tactic malicious actors use to trick you out of your username, password, and 2nd factor. I heard a recent story that illustrates the threat. In brief, a Senior Vice President at a major international bank had approved over 80 2FA push requests from Russia (when he wasn’t in Russia nor trying to log in). He justified this behavior because he had been told to tap “approve” when prompted and that no one had told him /not/ to approve requests when he wasn’t actively logging in!

You may laugh, but this is a fairly common problem. I’ve heard of users who pushed “approve” when they were grocery shopping and another situation where a manager had all his employees set his phone for their verifications, and he would approve all of them when they came to him.

It is vitally important to understand that you should ONLY approve DUO pushes when YOU are logging in.

Keep up to date with IT news at the Office of Information Security blog

Follow the Cardiovascular Division on Twitter!

Check out the brand-new Twitter for the Cardiovascular Division, @WashUCardiology! We will be sharing division accomplishments, announcements, news, events, and more. If you have a story about the cardiovascular division that you think deserves a social media spotlight, email bolhafner@wustl.edu.

Photo Directories

Washington University School of Medicine Cardiovascular Division

Follow Us on Twitter: @WashUCardiology