Jeffrey VanWormer, Ph.D., research scientist in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Population Health at Marshfield Clinic Research Institute, was recently selected for the Celine Seubert Distinguished Physician/Scientist Endowment in Cardiology Research.

This endowment aims to support research in diseases of the heart, blood vessels, lungs and blood.

“It is a great honor and privilege for me to accept this position, and I look forward to furthering the Seubert family legacy in cardiology research,” VanWormer said upon accepting the endowment.

VanWormer plans to use the endowment to complete at least two large cardiovascular disease prevention studies.

One study will examine trends in the use of aspirin, statins and antihypertensive medications. It will have a particular focus on rural residents and low socioeconomic status neighborhoods where too few patients get these important medications.

The second study will look at how periodontal disease influences the development of heart failure, potentially identifying new pathways for avoiding this fast-growing disease.

These areas of research will help position the Research Institute in a lead role in the scientific understanding of cardiovascular disease prevention.

“Jeff has been an outstanding member of our team and he is a very deserving recipient of this endowment. I am excited to see the research this endowment will help propel forward,” said Amit Acharya, B.D.S., M.S., Ph.D., executive director of the Research Institute.

Celine’s legacy

Celine Seubert was one of the longest surviving heart transplant recipients in Wisconsin. She received her new heart in 1987, at the age of 59, despite being older than typically allowed for a transplant. Doctors gave her five years to live, but her sprightliness and resilience were noted by her family as the reasons she endured for more than twenty years past that initial prognosis.

In Celine's honor and in gratitude for the care she received over the years at Marshfield Clinic Health System, the Seubert Family – with leadership from Celine's grandson, Rich Seubert, and granddaughter, Christina Zaleski – created an endowment to benefit heart research.

They set out to raise over one million dollars in five years through the Rich Seubert Celebrity Trap Shoot. The annual trap shoot brings together many members of the Seubert family for a weekend to volunteer their time to raise funds for heart research.

“We are excited and grateful that Dr. VanWormer will continue to enhance heart research today to help improve heart care tomorrow,” said Rich Seubert.