Ahn wins American Heart Association early career award

By Tatum Lyles Flick
Communications Specialist

three people stand, smiling with an award

Mulubrhan Mogos, Soojung Ahn and Chorong Park

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Postdoctoral Fellow Soojung Ahn, PhD, RN, has received the 2022 Martha N. Hill Early Career Investigator Award from the American Heart Association Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing. The award honors early career researchers whose work contributes to understanding, preventing and treating cardiovascular diseases. 

Ahn says that she is honored to win the award, especially when she considers the high-quality research of other finalists. She appreciates the encouragement of researchers and mentors who have said to her, “’You have built a great foundation for your program of research. Just keep up your work.’” 

Ahn studies how the stress of being a family caregiver affects cardiovascular disease. She hopes to better understand how stress, sleep issues, physical inactivity and other issues affect heart health. She received the award for research she conducted as part of her doctoral studies at the University of Virginia School of Nursing. 

“The award makes me more strongly believe that the issue I am looking at, which is family caregivers’ cardiovascular health, is critical and deserves more attention from researchers and clinicians,” Ahn said. “That is very motivating to me.” 

At Vanderbilt, she is studying how different sets of lifestyle changes associated with caregiving affect caregiver heart health risk. 

“We are thrilled that our postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Soojung Ahn, received this highly competitive and prestigious award,” said Senior Associate Dean for Research Mariann Piano, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAHA. Piano, who is the Nancy and Hilliard Travis Professor of Nursing and postdoctoral fellowship director, is one of Ahn’s mentors. “Dr. Ahn was among three selected finalists who presented their research at the 2022 AHA Scientific Sessions in Chicago,” she said. 

The finalists for the award are judged on the scientific merit of their abstract, the quality and originality of the manuscript, letters from the finalists’ sponsors and other references, and each candidate’s oral abstract presentation at the AHA Scientific Session. 

“I really appreciate all the support that the faculty members in the postdoctoral program at Vanderbilt provided while I prepared for the presentation,” Ahn said. “I believe that their constructive feedback and encouragement made a difference.”