The Hackensack Meridian Health Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation announces the creation of the Williams Family Heart Research Fund. The fund was established by a donation from Robert “Bobby” J. Williams and his wife, Carol A. Williams in the amount of $550,000 to support research projects at the Heart & Vascular Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center.
“I am grateful for the world-class health care I received from Dr. William Salerno and the entire team at the Heart & Vascular Hospital,” said Robert Williams. “My wife and I want to make a difference and this was the area in which we have a strong connection. The fund we have established will help doctors learn which cardiovascular procedures are more effective in certain patients, in order to establish better outcomes overall.
The first project to be supported will be the development of the Hackensack University Medical Center Heart Rhythm Database led by Grant R. Simons, M.D., chief of Heart Rhythm Services and overseen by Joseph E. Parrillo, M.D., chair, Heart & Vascular Hospital.
“A sophisticated heart rhythm database will provide multiple benefits and opportunities to the medical center and its patients,” said Dr. Joseph Parrillo. “Hackensack University Medical Center will benefit greatly from the ability to examine its real-world experience and determine which techniques are associated with the best outcomes, and with the most efficient use of money and personnel. Such information will be transformative to our physicians and team members to guide a constant process of quality improvement.”
“The Heart Rhythm database is the first-of-its-kind study and will provide many research opportunities,” said Dr. Simons. “The Heart Rhythm Database will be an important source for prospective registry trials, as well as meaningful retrospective studies, which will form the basis for future prospective clinical trials.”
“The fund we’ve established to benefit the Heart & Vascular Hospital really goes toward the greater good,” said Mrs. Williams. “You hear about so many people who have arrhythmias and similar conditions and who have to live with them. With this research, outcomes will be tracked on a long-term basis showing the effectiveness of certain treatments and providing doctors with the most up-to-date information for the best options for their patients.”
A second component to be supported by the fund is the AVID Study led by Dr. Salerno, which will research the cardiovascular impact of amphetamines, mixed salt amphetamines and amphetamine-like drugs after the long-term administration typically prescribed in young adult patients treated for Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
“The dispensing of prescriptions drugs to treat ADHD has increased dramatically in the United States, especially in young women,” said Dr. Salerno. “The study will determine if these drugs are causing subtle, yet unknown changes in the size and shape of the top portion of the heart, which is not studied traditionally as intently as the lower portion of the heart. The atrial area of the heart can be the source of heart rhythm abnormalities.”
In 2013, Mr. and Mrs. Williams donated $50,000 towards the creation of the Wilcha Family Conference Room in the Heart & Vascular Hospital, which has proved to be of enormous benefit for physicians and team members. The Williams Family Heart Research Fund continues the support they have pledged to provide.
“We’ve been very blessed in our lives,” said Robert Williams. “True happiness and contentment comes from doing for others. Carol and I feel very hopeful the information that will be developed from this research initiative with not only save lives, but also improve the quality of life for many people.”