Spectrum Health Announces Cardiovascular Fellowship Program

The Richard McNamara Cardiovascular Fellowship Program honors “visionary” cardiologist

Spectrum Health today announced the creation of The Richard McNamara Cardiovascular Fellowship Program, a three-year training program named after a highly-respected Spectrum Health cardiologist with nearly thirty years of service to West Michigan patients and to the organization.

The program initially will serve three new cardiology fellows per year, with the first cohort expected to start in 2017. Over time, the program is expected to grow to serve more physician residents looking to specialize in cardiology and cardiovascular medicine. The program is being funded in part through a $5 million dollar endowment created by generous donors.

“Spectrum Health has a fully integrated heart and vascular program with high volumes, superb outcomes and exceptional patient care,” said Richard C. Breon, President & CEO, Spectrum Health. “The next logical step is to provide the most comprehensive training possible to the next generation of cardiovascular physicians, a process we undertake while simultaneously honoring a dedicated, visionary leader.”

Cardiology fellowships consist of three years of training in cardiovascular medicine. Fellowship programs are viewed as a necessary component of comprehensive specialty programs and a key to attracting and recruiting talented physicians.

Darryl Elmouchi, MD, division chief, cardiovascular medicine, Spectrum Health Medical Group, said the cardiovascular fellowship is the bedrock for future training programs in cardiothoracic surgery and subspecialty training, including interventional cardiology, electrophysiology, advanced heart failure and transplant. The program also has important implications for developing additional fellowships in other medical fields and, most importantly, improving patient care.

“An active fellowship program is a strong attracter for talented residents, particularly internal medicine residents,” Dr. Elmouchi said. “It also raises the level of patient care in other areas including internal medicine and its subspecialties.”

Dr. McNamara joined Spectrum Health as a staff physician in 1987. From 2000 to 2011, he held the title of Chief of the Division of Cardiology. Since 2002, he also has served as Spectrum Health’s Medical Director of Cardiology Services. Since 2010, he has served as one of the founding co-directors of Spectrum Health’s Frederik Meijer Heart & Vascular Institute.

“Rick McNamara is a visionary who put his heart and soul and countless hours into building the extraordinary heart and vascular program we have today,” said Dr. Elmouchi. “On top of that, Rick has provided excellent, patient-centered, compassionate care. Naming the fellowship program after him provides an example for new physicians to emulate and aspire to.”

Selected to lead the fellowship program is Nagib Chalfoun, MD, FHRS, a board-certified cardiologist and electrophysiologist and Fellow of the Heart Rhythm Society, who completed his own cardiology fellowship at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York and a clinical cardiac electrophysiology fellowship at University of Michigan.

The Spectrum Health Foundation thanks the following inaugural donors for supporting The Richard McNamara Cardiovascular Fellowship Program:

  • Dick and Linda Antonini
  • James and Shirley Balk
  • Batts Family
  • Karl and Patricia Betz
  • CDV5 Foundation
  • Daniel and Pamella DeVos Foundation
  • Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation
  • Douglas and Maria DeVos Foundation
  • Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation
  • Dick and Ethie Haworth
  • Earl and Donnalee Holton
  • Klopcic Family Foundation
  • Wilbur A. and Sharon Lettinga
  • Don and Kathleen Maine
  • The Meijer Foundation
  • Paul and Marge Potter
  • Peter P. and Patricia R. Renucci
  • Peter and Joan Secchia

Giving opportunities for the program are still available. For more information, please contact Tara Werkhoven at the Spectrum Health Foundation at: 616-391-2069 or

Spectrum Health is a not-for-profit health system, based in West Michigan, offering a full continuum of care through the Spectrum Health Hospital Group, which is comprised of 12 hospitals, including Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital; 183 ambulatory and service sites; more than 3,400 physicians and advanced practice providers, including nearly 1,400 members of the Spectrum Health Medical Group; and Priority Health, a health plan with about 658,000 members. Spectrum Health is West Michigan’s largest employer, with 23,800 employees. The organization provided $283 million in community benefit during its 2015 fiscal year. Spectrum Health is the only health system in Michigan to be named one of the nation’s 15 Top Health Systems® by Truven Health Analytics for 2015. This is the fourth time the organization has received this recognition.