Salernitana - January 2019

Dr. Chris Longenecker is a University Hospitals cardiologist whose primary interest is addressing the cardiovascular health needs of people living with HIV.

Christopher Longnecker, MD Christopher Longenecker, MD

He is the recent recipient of a career development award from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) for his career plan and project, “Pericardial Fat, Inflammation, and Structural Heart Disease in HIV.”

This award is in its final year. Dr. Longenecker’s research career is progressing, and he is currently the principal investigator of an NHLBI U01-funded project titled “A Nurse-Led Intervention to Extend the HIV Treatment Cascade for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention (EXTRA-CVD).”

This implementation science project involves the systematic incorporation of cardiovascular prevention practices into HIV care. It has been known for a couple of decades that people living with HIV are at higher risk for heart disease and stroke – the reasons are complex and are related to various risk factors, the use of antiretroviral drugs, and most likely the chronic inflammation associated with the disease.

Dr. Longenecker first became interested in HIV care as a first-year medical student at The Ohio State University School of Medicine in 2003, when he traveled to Swaziland and witnessed the devastating public health impact of HIV on that country. At the time, in some antenatal clinics in Swaziland, 40% of women were HIV positive. After returning to OSU, Dr. Longenecker developed a special interest in cardiovascular physiology. While attending an educational session which discussed early work on the relationship between HIV and heart disease, he realized two of the interests he is most passionate about could be successfully combined into a clinical and research career.

Dr. Longenecker chose to join UH because of the strength of its cardiology and infectious disease training programs, and because of UH’s strong ties to Uganda.  The Division of Infectious Diseases has had research and educational collaborations with Mulago Hospital and Markerere University in Uganda for more than 30 years. The Uganda connection allowed Dr. Longenecker to continue to pursue his interest in addressing cardiovascular care for patients with HIV in low-resource environments.

Chris believes that through effective health care delivery, cardiovascular prevention among patients with HIV can be as effective, or more effective, than among the population as a whole. He is continuing to devote his career to developing and implementing highly-effective prevention strategies such as comprehensive, multidisciplinary, cardiovascular risk reduction efforts in ambulatory settings.

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