Graduates of Sarver Heart Center Cardiology Fellowship Celebrate with Family, Colleagues, and Mentors

The University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center and the Division of Cardiology at UArizona College of Medicine – Tucson celebrated the graduation of ten cardiologists, including eight who completed the three-year Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship Program and two who completed an additional year of specialized training in the Interventional Cardiology Fellowship Program. Three graduating fellows will continue their education with the Sarver Heart Center.

“It means so much to me every year to see the fine cardiologists who have resulted in from the hard work of all of us,” said Nancy K. Sweitzer, MD, PhD, departing Director of the Sarver Heart Center at the celebration for graduates and their families. “This year is particularly spectacular because the class is large and has been with us for three years.”

Cardiovascular Disease Fellows and their next career moves:

Mahesh Balakrishnan, MBBS – Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology Fellowship, University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center
Ibrahim Barry, MD, MPH – General Cardiologist, location TBD
Emily Cendrowski, MD – Interventional Cardiology Fellowship, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
Juliya Cress, MD, PharmD – Interventional Cardiology Fellowship, University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center
Michael Kendall, MD – General Cardiologist, Southern Arizona Veterans Affairs Healthcare Systems in Tucson and Interventional Cardiology Fellowship at Aurora Healthcare, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Adriana Martin, MD, PhD – Interventional Cardiology Fellowship, UCSF, San Francisco, California
Nanda Pullela, MBBS – Interventional Cardiology Fellowship, University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center
Ignacio Zepeda, MD – Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology Fellowship, New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York 

Interventional Cardiology fellows and their next career moves:

Muhammad Ajmal, MBBS – Southeast Iowa Regional Medical Center, Burlington, Iowa
Sundeep Shenoy, MBBS – Carondelet Health Network, Tucson, Arizona

Outstanding Fellows Awards

For this graduating class, two awards were renamed on behalf of departing Sarver Heart Center Members. The Outstanding Fellow in Interventional Cardiology, now titled the “Karl B. Kern, MD Outstanding Fellow Award,” is granted to an individual for outstanding performance in the cardiac catheterization laboratory in recognition of Dr. Kern’s exemplary work as a clinician and scholar, particular in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Interventional Cardiology. Dr. Kern is retiring from UArizona and the Sarver Heart Center in July 2022 after decades of dedication to educational medicine. The renaming surprised Dr. Kern before he announced the recipient of this year’s award.

The Outstanding Fellow in Research award is now the “Nancy K. Sweitzer, MD, PhD Outstanding Fellow Award.” It is bestowed upon an individual for exemplary effort and productivity in cardiovascular research, in recognition of Dr. Sweitzer’s exceptional work as a clinician and scholar, especially in her mentorship of fellows engaged in research. Dr. Sweitzer is leaving as Director of the Sarver Heart Center after nearly 8 years of leadership for a new position at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.

“It means so much to me to have academics recognized in my name because it as been my passion to maintain the scholarly approach to practicing medicine at the University of Arizona,” said Dr. Sweitzer at the ceremony.

    Faculty members of the Division of Cardiology also selected Cardiovascular Disease Fellows for the following awards:

    • Mark J. Friedman, MD, Outstanding Fellow: Sean McCandless, MD
    • Outstanding Graduating Fellow in Cardiology: Mahesh Balakrishnan, MBBS
    • Outstanding Fellow On-Call: Mahesh Balakrishnan, MBBS
    • Nancy K. Sweitzer, MD, PhD Outstanding Fellow: Jeffrey Tran, MD
    • Karl B. Kern, MD Outstanding Fellow: Adriana Martin, MD, PhD
    • Outstanding Performance in Cardiac Imaging: Sean McCandless, MD
    • Outstanding Performance in Electrophysiology: Mahesh Balakrishnan, MBBS
    • Outstanding Performance in Heart Failure: Ignacio Zepeda, MD

    Outstanding Faculty Awards

    Graduating fellows presented the following awards to faculty members:

    • Best Catheterization Lab Attending: Deepak Acharya, MD, MSPH
    • Best Intensive Care Unit Attending: Elizabeth Juneman, MD
    • Best On-Call Attending (TIE): Preethi William, MD
    • Best On-Call Attending (TIE): Satinder Singh, MD
    • Best Echo Attending: Tushar Acharya, MD
    • Best Southern Arizona Veterans Affairs Health Care Systems Attending: Krishan Patel, MD
    • Best Leadership Attending: Nancy K. Sweitzer, MD, PhD
    • Lifetime Achievement Award for Clinical Teaching and Leadership: Paul E. Fenster, MD
    • Lifetime Achievement Award for Dedication to Academic Medicine: Karl B. Kern, MD

    The University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center Fellows in the Division of Cardiology, College of Medicine – Tucson, train with faculty at Banner University Medical Center Tucson, South and North, Southern Arizona Veterans Health Care System in Tucson, and St. Mary’s Hospital.  For more information on these cardiology training programs, visit