Bruce Ovbiagele, associate dean and professor of neurology at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF; San Francisco, USA) and chief of staff at the San Francisco Veteran Affairs Health Care System, has been named the new editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA)—effective 1 January 2023.
He succeeds previous editor-in-chief Barry London (University of Iowa Health Care, Iowa City, USA) who has led the journal since November 2014. JAHA is an online-only journal that publishes articles individually as they are accepted and compiles articles into 24 issues a year, twice each month, as per an American Heart Association (AHA) press release.
“I am excited to take on the role of editor-in-chief of JAHA,” said Ovbiagele. “With JAHA, I hope to leverage a stellar editorial team and promising publishing technologies to the benefit of the science, scientists and society, and the goal of creating a world of longer, healthier lives. However, leaving no one behind as we make and disseminate key scientific advances is crucial, and fostering a more equitable environment is something I have always been passionate about. The association has done a lot of work to promote equity, and I am thrilled to lead the journal into its next phase of growth as a well-respected international source of peer-reviewed cardiovascular research.”
Ovbiagele is a board-certified vascular neurologist and a professor of neurology at the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences. He is also associate dean and chief of staff at the San Francisco Veteran Affairs Health Care System—and his additional roles include serving as a professor at four colleges abroad: University of Ibadan in Ibadan, Nigeria (medicine); Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana (medicine); Capital Medical University/Xuan Wu Hospital in Beijing, China (neurology); and Favaloro University/Instituto de Neurologia Cognitiva in Buenos Aires, Argentina (neurology).
To date, he has published more than 600 peer-reviewed research articles, and his research and work have been recognised with numerous awards, including the 2022 Audrey Penn Award and Lectureship from the American Neurological Association and the 2022 Robert Wartenberg Award and Lectureship from the American Academy of Neurology. He also serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Stroke, the Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases and the Journal of Neurological Sciences. From 2016–2018, Ovbiagele served as the chair of the AHA’s International Stroke Conference, and previously served as an associate editor for the journal Stroke.
As a clinical epidemiologist, neurologist and global health scholar, he has focused on reducing the burden of stroke in the USA and Sub-Saharan Africa. His work in the USA led to the discovery that middle-aged women experience stroke at three times the rate of men the same age, and additional research linked those stroke rates to the prevalence of Type 2 diabetes and obesity. Ovbiagele calls attention to adopting healthier lifestyles as a means of stroke prevention, among its many other benefits.
Internationally, he pioneered large-scale studies in Africa that aimed to improve post-stroke outcomes and reduce barriers to care. He helped identify genetic variables that correlate with an increased likelihood of experiencing stroke for indigenous Africans. The first stroke prevention and control law enacted in Nigeria was based on Ovbiagele’s work to identify contextual stroke risk factors and develop awareness of stroke in the community.
He is currently leading studies in Africa to improve clinical outcomes, and reduce regional and racial disparities in stroke via the use of mobile health-based technology, workforce task-shifting and polypill medication formulations. His efforts are focused on making an impact where there is high penetration of mobile health in many under-resourced areas, physician brain drain in low-income countries and the need for cost-effective, population-based strategies to prevent stroke in disparate populations.
Eldrin F Lewis, chair of the AHA’s Scientific Publishing Committee, said: “I am proud to announce Dr Bruce Ovbiagele as the new editor-in-chief for JAHA, effective 1 January 2023. Under Bruce’s leadership, I know the journal will continue to flourish in sharing the latest discoveries in cardiovascular disease and stroke prevention and treatment.”