The American Board of Internal Medicine, ABIM, has announced the appointment of Olakunle Akinboboye, MD as chair of the ABIM Cardiovascular Board.

The appointment of Akinboboye by the 81 years old ABIM, is the first by the body to have a black Chair of the Cardiovascular Disease Board.

The Cardiovascular Board is charged with certifying all deserving cardiologists in the United States. The Board which comprises 12 members from all over the country is charged with the responsibility of conducting, certifying examination for all trainees in cardiology nationwide and also carrying out periodic knowledge assessments of all practicing cardiologists in the United States. It is one of the specialty boards of the ABIM.

ABIM’s specialty boards are where the frontline work, at the discipline-specific level is done with the roles to define, refine and set standards, perform oversight assessment, build partnerships and also responsible for the broad definition of their discipline across certification and maintenance of certification.

Dr. Akinboboye is certified in cardiovascular disease, hypertension and sleep medicine, an associate professor of clinical medicine at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York. He is also the medical director of Queens Heart Institute/Laurelton Heart specialist in Rosedale, Queens, New York.

A past-president of the National Association of Black Cardiologists’ (ABC), Akinboboye also serves as Chair of the Clinical Trials Committee of the organization, He also serves on the International Board of Governors of the American College of Cardiology as the liaison for Africa.

Akinboboye comes to the Cardiovascular Board chair with a strong pedigree. He received his medical degree from the College of Medicine at the University of Ibadan, Nigeria and later completed his internal medicine residency and part of his cardiology fellowship at the Nassau County Medical Center, State University of Stony Brook.

He subsequently moved to Columbia University, where he completed his fellowship in cardiology with two years of dedicated training in nuclear cardiology and advanced echocardiography. He obtained a master’s degree in Public Health from Columbia University and also a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Columbia Business School.

Commenting on his appointment to the Cardiovascular board chair, Akinboboye said that he is “ proud to have the opportunity to chair this very important Board.”

According to him, “unfortunately I am taking over the mantle of leadership at a point in time in which many cardiologists are openly revolting because of what they perceive as high handedness of the board over the years.”

With this in mind, Akinboboye indicated, that his goal as the board chair is, “to work with other board members to come up with assessments for practicing cardiologists that are fair, and not unduly burdensome.”

According to a press release by Ricahrd J. Baron, MD President and CEO of ABIM, “we are honored to have Dr. Berns, Dr. Akinboboye and Dr. Udden—three highly regarded physicians with significant clinical experience to serve the community in their disciplines and across specialties to offer more choice, relevance and convenience as they help to set the standards for excellent patient care.”

Also, the Ibadan College of Medicine Alumni Association, North America, where Akinboboye also served as president between 2004-2005 marked his appointment with an award for “exemplary professional services and outstanding contributions to cardiovascular medicine.”

In an exclusive interview, Akinboboye admitted that although cardiovascular disease is largely preventable, it is still the leading cause of death globally due to bad eating habits and lack of regular exercise. The cardiologist also attributed many cases of the disease to genetic triggers.

On the increased risk of cardiovascular disease from consumption of processed meat, Akinboboye proffered increased consumption of fruits and vegetables.

According to him, men are more prone to die of cardiovascular disease than women because in the reproductive years, women enjoy some protection from the disease due to high levels of estrogen in their system, adding however that when estrogen in the female drops after menopause, heart disease spikes in women.

For a disease that falls in the realm of pre-existing conditions, the Cardiovascular Board chair expressed regret that, “in the greatest country in the world, people should not be forced to choose between paying for food and paying for their medicines, “ adding that, “I strongly believe that we have an obligation to make healthcare affordable to our less privileged fellow citizens.”