Dr. Sheba K. Meymandi is the director of the Center of Excellence for Chagas disease at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center, which opened in 2007 as the first U.S. clinic for the diagnosis and treatment of Chagas disease. The Center has since diagnosed and treated over 350 patients in the United States. Dr. Meymandi and staff travel to churches throughout the community to conduct free comprehensive mobile medical evaluations in a grassroots effort to educate about the disease and to detect cases early.
The Center also performs important clinical research into rates of prevalence, conduction abnormalities, pregnant women, and congenital transmission. Such research aims in part to identify potential markers for those at risk of sudden death due to Chagas. Dr. Meymandi has presented her research at the American College of Cardiology, the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, and the Heart failure Society of America.
Dr. Meymandi first became involved with Chagas work in 2001, when working on a study with the Infectious Disease division at Olive-View UCLA Medical Center. Her interest in Chagas reignited in 2007.
“We realised that if you treat early, you halt or dramatically slow the progression of the disease. We said wouldn’t it be great if we could identify these cases early? The more we’ve delved into the issue, the more the programme has expanded and captured the interest of other professionals working in the area. Now it’s a campaign, because Chagas can no longer be thought of as an exotic disease.”
Dr. Meymandi is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine. She is the Director of Cardiovascular Research and Invasive Cardiology at Olive View-UCLA Medical Center and the director of the Center of Excellence for Chagas disease. She graduated from George Washington University School of Medicine and has a Bachelor’s in Psychobiology from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. She completed her Internal Medicine residency at the UCLA-San Fernando Valley Programme and her cardiovascular fellowship at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center.