Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship Training Program

Our Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship Program, which was launched in 1971 and certified in 1988, is affiliated with the University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center, a center of excellence with over 165 members who are cardiologists, cardiothoracic and vascular surgeons, neurologists, research scientists and numerous other medical specialists.

Cardiovascular fellows learn heart anatomy hands-on in a basic science lab.

Our program, nationally recognized for its outstanding faculty and its excellence in training in clinical cardiology, is a three-year program accredited for a total of 20 cardiology fellows by the National Residency Review Committee of the ACGME. The program trains in all disciplines recommended by the American College of Cardiology COCATS, thereby allowing the fellow to fulfill the requirements of level II COCATS training in the areas that they wish to emphasize.


We fully embrace the University of Arizona’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. Race, ethnicity, culture, physical abilities, talents, language, spiritual practices, sexual orientation, gender identity and life experiences as essential aspects that we must respect in order to train our country’s future cardiologists and promote health and well-being for all of our patients.

Please see our Research Training page for further information and individualizing training to meet your career needs.

Our fellows rotate in all cardiology subspecialties at three Tucson hospitals: Banner - University Medical Center - Tucson, Banner - University Medical Center - South Campus, and the Southern Arizona VA Health Care System.  Fellows receive training in all aspects of cardiology including advanced imaging, heart failure, transplantation, electrophysiology, congenital heart disease and interventional cardiology.

Take a Virtual Tour of University of Arizona Health Sciences and Banner campuses.

Program Director: 
Julia H. Indik, MD, PhD
Julia Indik, MD, PhD Professor of Medicine
Director, Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship Program
Flinn Foundation and American Heart Association
Endowed Chair in Electrophysiology
(520) 626-1232

Watch Dr. Indik's fellowship video to learn more.

Associate Program Director:
Kwan S. Lee, MD Kwan Lee, MD
Associate Professor of Medicine
Associate Chief, Division of Cardiology


Watch Dr. Lee's video on transforming cardiology training for the 21st Century.

Take 5 With Our Fellows

We asked current fellows what they were looking for and what they found in our Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship Program. Common themes:

  • Friendly colleagues who work hard and have fun together
  • Accessible faculty who are national leaders, yet genuinely care about educating cardiology fellows
  • Research opportunities, including clinical and population-based studies, and bench research in NIH-funded laboratories
  • Diversity of fellows, faculty, patients, heart conditions
  • Tucson is a great place to live, offering good food, great outdoor activities, more greenery than expected in a desert, and affordability
Muhammad Ajmal, MBBS
Fellow, Cardiovascular Disease, 2019-2021
Interventional Cardiology Fellow, 2021-2022
“I most enjoyed the research opportunities and appreciated the support of faculty who helped polish my research skills. As I begin the Interventional Cardiology Fellowship, I know the faculty will provide a good balance of autonomy and supervision. Here we see a phenomenally diverse patient population from ‘bread and butter’ cardiology to rare conditions. This makes me confident in my future. I can treat these patients.”
Mahesh Balakrishnan, MBBS
Fellow, Cardiovascular Disease, 2019-2022
“As a resident here, I felt the cardiology faculty was world renowned, yet they were committed to educating fellows and residents. As a general cardiology fellow, who didn’t yet know which subspecialty I would pursue, it was important to have access to the full scope of interventional, EP, heart failure, transplant and world-class imaging. I’ve learned as much from my co-fellows as I have from the faculty, and leadership is very open to feedback. Plus, I fell in love with Tucson, the community, food, weather, outdoors, hiking. The scenery is very relaxing and helps you unwind at the end of the day.”
Emily Cendrowski, MD
Fellow, Cardiovascular Disease, 2019-2022
“The faculty has a willingness to invest time in fellows. All you have to do is show interest and willingness to work hard. As a chief fellow next year, we’re always look to improve the program and we’re planning some curriculum changes to really take advantage of the simulations center here, including for first years. On the research side, there are a variety of ways to get involved. I’ve been working on a cardiogenic shock protocol and writing up some interesting cases.”
David Hamilton, MD
Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, Southern Arizona VA Health Systems
Fellow, Cardiovascular Disease, 2018-2021
“People are really approachable here. I enjoy the collegiality among the fellows and the teaching faculty. They have provided great mentoring. I’ll be staying on as assistant professor at the Southern Arizona VA Hospital. I’ve become certified in imaging, including echo, nuclear, cardiac CT and I plan to develop an advanced Imaging training program at the VA. It gives you a different experience and patient population. I’ve continued a research collaboration with University of Utah, analyzing a data base of chest-pain patients, based on sex, symptom presentations and how patients were treated. We have seen gender differences.”
Pooja Jagadish, MD
Fellow, Cardiovascular Disease, 2020-2023
“There’s strong mentorship from faculty who actually seek you out. We also have opportunities to mentor residents. I was invited to teach the South Campus Family Medicine residents, presenting an AFib lecture. The more we study to teach, the more it cements our knowledge. There’s also a huge wellness focus here – healthy, happy fellows are productive fellows. The fellows here truly like each other. I’m interested in academic medicine and the number of women in leadership here is exceptional. I see that a career in academic medicine is achievable.”
Adriana Martin, MD, PhD
Fellow, Cardiovascular Disease, 2019-2022
“Overall, it is an environment filled with learning and research. It’s a robust program which includes STEMI first call, clinical experience at multiple sites providing diverse patient population exposure, morning education conferences and ample procedures for COCATS certification. The sunny demeanor of Tucson incidentally happens to be an asset for hiking and photography, for which I am very grateful. The fellowship program has been incredibly supportive to my needs as a burgeoning cardiology fellow. Currently I am interested in the field of interventional cardiology and hope to contribute to future medical device design and testing.”
Nicole E. Smith, MD
Fellow, Cardiovascular Disease, 2020-2023
“I enjoy my fellow fellows. We are a diverse group of individuals from different universities, different parts of the country, different prior fields. This is a fun, light-hearted group that has a strong work ethic. The first year is difficult in terms of the learning curve, but it has opened my eyes to different fields, EP, non-invasive imaging, heart failure. Being a female in a predominantly male dominated field, having leaders like Dr. Sweitzer and Dr. Indik who are strong in their areas of expertise – heart failure and EP – and highly respected by their colleagues; it’s important to have them as great role models.”
Jeffrey Tran, MD
Fellow, Cardiovascular Disease, 2020-2024
“There’s an overall sense of innovation here. People are really open to new ideas and really want to get stuff done. Currently pulling data from an EHR is too slow and doesn’t make sense. My research will develop a way to funnel information out of the EHR into a data base to make data more friendly to research. What I most like on the clinical side is the faculty’s passion for what they do. This trickles down to the amount of technology innovations and devices. All these tools are at the tips of our fingers. This all opens up my view as a trainee as to what is possible. I want to merge my clinical and research careers. The T32 setting here has really set me up for success. I feel so supported here as a first-year fellow.”
Ignacio Zepeda, MD
Fellow, Cardiovascular Disease, 2019-2022
“I wanted an academic program that had the whole spectrum of population – insured, uninsured, different acuity and complexity of cases. People here are friendly and down to earth. Co-fellows are very supportive. Faculty are good at guiding us through our decisions – asking what did you try and why do you think that happened? We always are learning as we go along. I plan to apply for heart failure fellowship. These critically ill patients really need someone who knows them well. One research project I’m working on with Dr. Singh is focused on heart failure readmissions for patients who have been cannabis users. Which is a new topic as this recently was legalized in Arizona. I’m also working with Dr. Sweitzer using a data base of a mostly Hispanic population to determine risk for developing heart failure. We’re using patient questionnaires and biomarkers. ”


Curious About Our 2021 Cardiovascular Disease Fellows?

Read about the 2021 graduating class and faculty and fellow awards.