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About Us

The physicians and staff of the University of Maryland School of Medicine (UMSOM) Division of Cardiovascular Medicine are dedicated to the following goals:

  • Prevent cardiovascular disease
  • Improve the lives of people with cardiovascular disease

To achieve these goals, the faculty devote their time caring for patients in our Heart Center, to educating of the next generation of cardiologists, and researching the causes, prevention, and treatment of cardiovascular disease.

Our History

The Cardiology Division at University Hospital started with the appointment of Dr. Leonard Scherlis as Chief of Cardiology in 1954, with cardiology fellowship training beginning in 1960. In 1963, the Cardiology Division developed one the first monitored intensive cardiovascular care units (CCUs). Dr. R. Adams Cowley, who developed the first Shock Trauma Unit and served as Chief of Thoracic Surgery (cardiac surgery), held a popular joint weekly conference with faculty of both cardiology and surgery to discuss patient management. Since that time, the Division has trained numerous outstanding cardiologists, some of whom have enjoyed long careers within the University of Maryland system. Dr. Elijah Saunders, head of our Hypertension Section, was an early fellow in the division from 1963-1965.

In 1970, UMSOM’s Chief of Medicine, Dr. Theodore E. Woodward, charged Dr. Morton Rapoport with the development of a parallel medicine program at the Baltimore Veterans Affairs (VA) Hospital. Dr. Alfred Parisi was hired as the Chief of Cardiology at the VA that same year. Joining him in 1973 were Dr. Mike Fisher, who trained at Emory University under Dr. Willis Hurst, and Dr. Charles DeFelice. The following year, the department continued to grow with the addition of Dr. Gary Plotnick from Johns Hopkins and Dr. Nathan Carliner from Emory. Dr. Robert Peters, who trained at the University of San Francisco, joined in 1979. The VA cardiology group comprised these outstanding educators and researchers, who served as investigators in major clinical trials including BHAT, PARIS, CAST, and others.

In 1984, Dr. John Kastor came to the University of Maryland from the University of Pennsylvania, where he had served as Chief of Cardiology. As UMSOM’s new Chief of Medicine, he combined the separate cardiology programs at the VA and University into a single division with the same mission and goals.

In recognition of the expanding role of cardiology in the management of vascular disorders, the division was renamed the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine in 2013. The cardiovascular program at the University has a regional, national, and international reputation for the treatment of complex cardiovascular disease, heart failure/transplant, pulmonary hypertension, imaging, and complex dysrhythmias. Its physicians are highly sought after and are considered leaders in many areas.

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David A. Zimrin, M.D.
Division Head, Cardiovascular Medicine