Cardiovascular Medicine Faculty Profile – Christopher M. Kramer

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I came to UVA 20 years ago, dually recruited by George Beller MD then Chief of the Cardiovascular Division and Bruce Hillman MD, then Chair of Radiology, to start a clinical and research program in cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (CMR). We then recruited a number of other investigators in Cardiology, Radiology, and Biomedical Engineering (Fred Epstein PhD, Craig Meyer PhD, Mike Salerno MD, PhD, Jamie Bourque MD) and it has grown into an internationally recognized program. As part of the broader Cardiovascular Imaging Center, we have an NIH-funded T32 program to train cardiology fellows in Advanced Cardiovascular Imaging.

Why healthcare?

I come from a long line of lawyers (my father was Dean of Tulane Law School), so healthcare was the obvious choice, right? Math and science were always strengths and I figured I would be the black sheep of the family…and contribute to society.

Why research?

Got lucky there. I was originally planning to do heart failure, but during CV fellowship at Penn, I started a project using CMR to study a sheep model of LV remodeling after myocardial infarction. I got more interested in the CMR side. That was a gamble at the time as it was a nascent technology and there was no guarantee it was leading anywhere. It turned out to be a good choice.

Proudest/greatest achievement outside the professional realm?

My kids. Alex, 28, is a Yale-trained NYC-based actor. He was the lead guest star and villain in Law and Order: SVU on 1/31/19. “A Tale of More Woe”. He is a naval officer in Tom Hanks’ “Greyhound,” a WWII naval battle epic due out in May, 2020. Zach, 25, has had some learning differences, but just graduated from community college and is now enrolled at Southern Illinois University. I am incredibly proud of them both.

What are you usually doing on the weekend?

Hiking, biking, swimming, and/or playing golf with Bob Battle. Tennis was a passion, but a neck injury derailed this for now. I also spend a lot of time with my wife at various music venues – she’s quite the music aficionado.

How did I meet my wife?

We were anatomy lab partners in 1st year of medical school at UCSF (yes, it is a cliché!). We went through the couples match. She spent 3 years in surgical training, then finished in Anesthesia. She retired after Zach was born and is a master gardener and Alexander technique instructor now.

Favorite vacation spot?

Islesboro, Maine, an island in Penobscot Bay where I have spent part of every summer since I was 11. My 3 brothers (full, step, and half) and their families share the same 1-2 weeks there every summer. It is a special time and place.

Best advice anyone ever gave you?

Nat Reichek MD, one of my mentors in cardiology and CMR, said “It is a marathon, not a sprint.” So true.

What about you would surprise us?

I used to play a lot of ice hockey. During residency and fellowship, I would often trade call to free myself up for games.

 

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