Elizabeth Odilile Ofili (MD, MPH, FACC) is the first female president of the Association of Black Cardiologists. She is the Director and Principal Investigator of the Clinical Research Centre at Morehouse School of Medicine (MSM) in Atlanta, Georgia. She is also a professor of medicine and Chief of Cardiology at MSM.
Early Life and Career
Elizabeth Ofili was born in 1956. After completing medical school at Ahmadu Bello University in Zaria, Kaduna State, she moved to the United States in 1982 and began her studies in public health at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. She received her Master of Public Health degree in 1983. She completed her internal medicine residency at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma, staying on to conduct a research fellowship. Dr Ofili was then appointed a cardiology fellow at Washington University Medical Centre in St Louis, Missouri, where she later served as an adjunct assistant professor of medicine in the division of cardiology. Board-certified in internal medicine and cardiovascular diseases, Dr Ofili moved to MSM in 1994 as Associate Professor of Medicine and chief of the cardiology section. While she was practicing at MSM, she observed the high risk of heart diseases among African-Americans and seized the opportunity to address this issue. In 1999, she became a professor at MSM.
Awards and Grants
Dr Ofili has received numerous federal and private grants for studies on cardiac functioning and heart diseases in African-Americans. She also successfully sought and received extensive funding for the development and expansion of MSM’s current research infrastructure. She has also conducted research for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Space Medicine and Life Sciences Research Center. Her NASA studies focus on vascular responses in salt-sensitive and salt-resistant individuals, and on the effects of microgravity on the vascular system.
Dr Ofili is widely acknowledged for her expertise in the field of echocardiography (using sound waves to study the heart and how it functions). She received the Young Investigator Research Award from the American Society of Echocardiography and Mallinckrodt Cardiology in 1993 for her echo studies of myocardial blood flow. In 2000 she became the first woman to serve as president of the Association of Black Cardiologists.
In 1997 she was cited by Heart and Soul magazine as one of the US's top twenty-five black female doctors and was also recognised as one of America's leading physicians by Black Enterprise magazine. She has fifty awards to her credit, including the National Institutes of Health's 1999 Centre of Clinical Research Excellence Award, the Nanette K. Wenger Award for Health Policy in 2001, the Dr Daniel Savage Scientific Award from the Association of Black Cardiologists, and Physician of the Year in 2001 by the US Congressional Health Advisory Board.
Dr Ofili served on the Board of Trustees of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates and the Pfizer Women's Health Initiative. She has trained over fifty post-doctoral fellows and faculty, and over thirty undergraduate students and high school seniors.
The Centre for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently approved the warfarin study of which she is the National Principal Investigator. It is the first large-scale randomised clinical trial to evaluate gene identification ability to predict patient response and improve safety when dosing warfarin, the world's leading anti-blood clotting drug.
She serves on the Board of Directors of Georgia BIO (a Life Sciences company) and on the Cardiovascular Board of the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr Ofili has delivered over four hundred scientific presentations and published over one hundred scientific papers on hypertension, dyslipidemia, heart failure and coronary artery disease appearing in publications such as the Journal of American Medication Association, the New England Journal of Medicine, Circulation , and the Journal of the American College of Cardiology .
She is married to Dr Chamberlain Obialo, Chief of Nephrology at Morehouse School of Medicine. The couple have four children.