The Research and Mentorship Initiative at the RHCW is a collaborative initiative that was launched to complement the clinical experience from the Cardio Cognitive Clinic and the education and teaching activities from the RHCW JC. Our programming promotes a rigorous and highly cooperative clinical and research environment focused specifically on women’s heart and vascular issues and related clinical outcomes.

The program draws upon basic, clinical, and population research expertise from faculty throughout Rush Medical College, the Colleges of Nursing, Health Sciences and Nutrition Sciences, the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Departments of Neurological Sciences and Internal Medicine while leveraging the strength of faculty expertise from the RHCW.


Under the direction of Drs. Neelam Aggarwal and Annabelle Volgman, the RHCW trains and supports young women and men, across the health and medical training continuum. We actively mentor and sponsor, faculty, pre-and post-doctoral fellows, Ph.D. students, pre-medical and medical students, Internal Medicine residents and Cardiology fellows, and research associates in their research and career development.

Summer internship positions are available for highly motivated individuals interested in studying the complex intersection of how cardiovascular risk factors and heart disease are influenced by diet and nutrition, psychosocial and lifestyle factors, and can lead to multiple outcomes, including cognitive decline, stroke, dementia.

We value the diversity of thought and perspectives regarding areas of research, and projects may include those that overlap with the RHCW and its collaborators, and also include other areas, such as outcomes research, health services/economics, structural and social determinants of health, genetic testing and disclosure of results, and use of technology and innovation to deliver care.

Interested candidates should send a cover letter that includes a brief description of potential projects of interest at the RHCW, and an updated CV to the Center’s Research Director, Neelum T. Aggarwal, MD at [email protected]


The Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) at Rush helps advance the careers of clinical and translational researchers by providing career advice, research mentoring, and support. For more information about career development opportunities go to

The RHCW accepts applications for research opportunities through the CTSA and interested candidates should send a cover letter that includes a brief description of potential research interests and projects an updated CV to the Center’s Research Director, Neelum T. Aggarwal, MD at [email protected]


Opportunities within the RHCW are available for fellows or residents interested in mentorship, education, and training in research related to the intersection of cardiovascular disease to overall wellness and brain health. Specific areas of focus include prevention of both cardiovascular disease neurodegenerative diseases, focusing on cognitive, neuro, and cardiac imaging and biomarker outcomes among women with heart disease.

The RHCW offers an opportunity for career development for women’s health research through multiple professional programs through the American College of Cardiology (ACC), American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA), American Medical Association (AMA), Sex and Gender Medical Education Collaborative and the International Society to Advance Alzheimer’s Research and Treatment (ISTAART)

The Center welcomes junior faculty from outside institutions such as the Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) program to work with us to complement their research activities. The BIRCWH program provides financial support, targeted mentorship, and educational programs for investigators interested in advancing our understanding of issues related to women’s health.

For more information see here and to connect with us please reach out to the Center’s Research Director, Neelum T. Aggarwal, MD at [email protected]

The RHCW faculty also provide research mentorship to Master level students are who part of the Graduate College Clinical Research Programs. The RHCW welcomes students in the Master of Science in Clinical Research (MSCR) program are required to undertake a mentored clinical research project during their course of study applying the principles and methods learned in the coursework to a real-life research project.

For more information contact the Center’s Research Director Neelum. T. Aggarwal, MD at [email protected] and learn more about the program at


The RHCW has developed an “Away Elective” for fourth year AMWA medical students from outside medical schools to spend time with the faculty at the RHCW.

This away elective provides targeted mentorship and educational programming for select students interested in advancing our understanding of cardiovascular, neurological, and cognitive issues related to women’s health.

Developed in partnership with alumnae from this 4th year away elective, this elective requires …

For more information email [email protected] or contact the Center’s Research Director, Neelum T. Aggarwal, MD for more information at [email protected]


The RHCW has been very successful in securing paid summer internships through the Rush “Dean’s Awards” program from first-year Medical students over the past five years.

Our successful applications have submitted research projects that have examined:
  1. The use of technology to characterize consequences of atrial fibrillation in female heart patients
  2. Gender Differences in Knowledge and Attitudes Towards Genetic Testing in a Specialty Care Population
  3. The implementation of a Sex and Gender Specific Medical Curriculum for Healthcare Providers and Students
  4. Addressing Ageism and Building Empathy in older adults: A Virtual Reality Training Module
  5. Characterization of Dietary Patterns, Cognitive Function, and Mood in Cardiac Patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To learn more about all of our Innovative Dean’s Awards, [click here]



Cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular risk factors affect 1 in 3 American adults and continues to be the most common cause of death in the US. In addition, research shows that cardiovascular health is strongly linked with brain health, including cognitive function, Alzheimer’s, and other dementias.

As life expectancy has lengthened, the number and proportion of people suffering from both cardiovascular disease and dementia have increased. This public health challenge disproportionately affects marginalized Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) populations, particularly older African Americans, Hispanics, and Native American populations.

The RHCW is committed to assuring that the diverse populations of older adults with heart disease and at risk of cognitive impairment receive the clinical care they need and participate in research that improves that care. We are also committed to investigating the association between cardiovascular risk disease to cognitive aging and Alzheimer disease, and examining how these associations differ by race and ethnicity, sex, social and structural determinants of health, and how modifications of these exposures may reduce the burden of these adverse outcomes.

To achieve this goal, we need to increase the diversity of clinicians and researchers in the field of cardiovascular, geriatric cardiology and cognitive neurology research.

Who should apply?

Candidates are students currently enrolled in a medical program. We invite applicants from BIPOC groups that are underrepresented in the field of cardiovascular and geriatric cardiology and aging research: Black or African American, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian or Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, or another Pacific Islander. A successful applicant will tell us about their inspiring interest in research or clinical care focused on brain and heart health, cognitive impairment (including dementia or mild cognitive impairment), Alzheimer’s disease, or vascular cognitive impairment.

What is involved?
This internship will span either a 12-week block of full-time effort during the summer or 6- month block of time during the academic year. This program is co-directed by Neelum T. Aggarwal, Research Director, RHCW, and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, AMWA, Annabelle S. Volgman, MD, Medical Director for the RHCW, and Joseph Gaspero, CEO of the Center for Healthcare Innovation (CHI) (

Scholars will:
  • Work with RHCW mentor(s), CHI mentor on a scholarly project(s)
  • Have an opportunity to observe clinicians in practice and also participate in the program committee activities and other Board of Director related activities at CHI
  • Work closely with the CHI – and its Science Runway program to develop content and programming (
  • Attend weekly RHCW JC meetings for didactic sessions and clinical care rounds
  • Present a final presentation on their project to the Summer Interns and CHI Board and multiple community stakeholders
  • Where applicable, scholars will be strongly encouraged to present their work at academic meetings, seminars, or in peer-reviewed publications.
Want to learn more? Please check here




AHA Go Red Goes STEM program: Inspiring The Next Generation of Leaders in STEMM at the RHCW

The RHCW is committed to educating high school students and immersing them in clinical and research settings that focus on both public education outreach and student engagement in science, technology, engineering math, and medicine (STEMM).

We were the first in the city to deliver a month-long onsite high school mentoring program as part of the AHA Go Red GOES STEM program in Chicago. Our faculty and staff members from across the Institution inspired students to learn and develop a deeper understanding of medical research and medicine.

Students learned the importance of staying fit for heart health and how to deliver important health messages through our community engagement activities while also exploring heart anatomy, the cardiovascular and neurological systems, and how both systems work together to optimize heart and brain health.

Our RHCW faculty proudly serves on the Steering Committees for the AHA Go Red For Women, Go Red Goes STEM, and Cyclenation.

Want to learn more about the program? Click here [insert link to PDF}

Applications to apply for the Go Red Goes STEM program are solicited by the AHA team and are typically available in March, for the internship beginning in May 2021 – June 2021 (pending school schedules) through the AHA website.