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John Vavalle’s, MD, MHS, associate professor in the Division of Cardiology, mentorship extends beyond traditional boundaries, propelling high school seniors at the NC School of Science and Mathematics into the forefront of medical research.

Divya Chawla, Ciara Everly and Dr. Vavalle at the TVT Conference.

A Unique Mentorship Program

Every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the school year, students engage in a two-hour mentorship session with Dr. Vavalle. The primary objective is to foster independent research projects while providing valuable clinical experience—an invaluable opportunity for young minds to explore the intersection of academia and medical practice.

During the 2022-23 school year, Dr. Vavalle mentored two exceptional students, Divya Chawla and Ciara Everly.

Divya examined the effect of baseline left ventricular function on the magnitude of quality of life improvement after transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR).  She found that quality of life scores improved significantly no matter what the baseline left ventricular function is.

Ciara investigated whether baseline renal function influenced the quality of life improvements after TAVR. Her findings demonstrating that all patients, regardless of baseline renal function, experienced enhancements in quality of life after TAVR.

National Recognition

The accomplishments of Divya and Ciara reached new heights when both students presented their abstracts at the TVT Conference in Phoenix, AZ. It is rare for high school students to get the opportunity to present at national meetings of this nature. Both students not only presented their findings admirably but also showcased the depth of their understanding and commitment to medical research.

Rajiv Patel, MD, a research fellow, was instrumental in helping the students with data analysis and interpretation. He was also a co-author on the abstracts.