Kenneth M. Baker, M.D., professor and director of the Division of Molecular Cardiology at The Texas A&M University System Health Science Center College of Medicine, was recently appointed new Chair of the American Heart Association’s National Research Committee, effective July 2005. The appointment came from the chairman-elect of the board, Robert L. Carson, Esq., and the president-elect, Robert H. Eckel, M.D.
Dr. Baker serves as the Mayborn Chair in Cardiovascular Research for the College of Medicine and has been a member of the faculty since 1999. He has been a member of the American Heart Association Research Committee since the summer of 2001, and has served as Chair of the committee’s Peer Review Subcommittee since July 2003.
“I feel like this is a highlight of my 25 years of volunteering for the AHA,” Baker said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to be able to advise and provide input regarding the research program of National AHA. It’s also a real honor to be able to work with a group of the most distinguished scientists in the cardiovascular field. The AHA staff are a superb group of people with whom I really enjoy working.”
In his role as Chairman of the Research Committee, Dr. Baker will be responsible for research oversight of the American Heart Association nationwide and will report to the President and Chairman of the Board of the American Heart Association. Dr. Baker has also been appointed to the National Board of Directors and to the Science Advisory and Coordinating Committee of the American Heart Association.
The Research Committee is responsible for recommending research policy to the Association’s Board of Directors, evaluating the performance of research programs and maintaining high quality review of all applications for funding. The committee also focuses on managing the Association’s National Research Program, supporting public advocacy initiatives and priorities and fostering communications among the twelve American Heart Association Affiliate research committees, peer review committees and the Research Committee.
“Appointment to the Chair of the American Heart Association Research Committee reflects Dr. Baker’s outstanding contribution to field of cardiovascular medicine, College of Medicine Dean Christopher Colenda, M.D., M.P.H., said. “He will have the ability to help shape AHA’s research agenda and improve the lives of countless patients with heart disease. This is not only an honor for Ken, but is also emblematic of the high quality of the college’s faculty who are leaders in their chosen fields.”
The American Heart Association’s research expenses totaled $129.4 million in the 2003-2004 fiscal year, exclusive of contributed services. The Association offers research funding through its National Research Program as well as its 12 affiliate research programs. The American Heart Association funds research broadly related to cardiovascular function and disease, stroke, related clinical and basic science, bioengineering and biotechnology, and public health problems. Types of support offered include predoctoral and postdoctoral fellowships, fellow-to-faculty transition awards, scientist development grants, established investigator awards and grants-in-aid.

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