Syddansk Universitet

American Professor from Yale School of Medicine appointed Professor at University of Southern Denmark

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The Department of Psychology, University of Southern Denmark, has appointed American Professor Matthew M. Burg as Professor of cardiovascular and behavioural medicine.

Matthew M. Burg is a leading researcher in cardiovascular and behavioural medicine and a recognised expert in the study of behavioural and psychosocial conditions that increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases as well as a poorer prognosis. He will contribute to the establishment of a strong research environment at the Department of Psychology and participate in ESCAPE - an EU-funded project - that is coordinated by the Department of Psychology at University of Southern Denmark (SDU) and will facilitate the treatment of elderly patients with multiple chronic diseases.

Dr. Burg is a Professor of Internal Medicine and Anaesthesiology at the Yale School of Medicine, USA. He is also a clinical psychologist, and with this dual expertise, he has been a researcher at the behavioural medicine programme at Connecticut Healthcare for many years, a treatment option for military veterans. 

That exact connection between stress and heart diseases, including factors such as depression and anger, has been his research area for many years; a research area that forms the basis for Matthew M. Burg’s employment at SDU.

He has developed landmark research methods to investigate these connections and has conducted randomised clinical trials in order to improve patient treatment outcomes. For this work, he has often used mobile and wireless technology as a basis for assessing psychosocial and physiological parameters and for providing interventions to study participants.

Dr. Burg has received several marks of honour and recognitions, e.g. from the Society of Behavioral Medicine, the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research and the Academy of Cognitive Therapy, and he has received several prestigious grants from the NIH/NHLBI and the Veteran’s Administration Clinical Science Program. He is the author of more than 130 peer-reviewed journal publications and 19 book chapters.

‘We are very proud that we have been successful in attracting someone with such high international status. Together with Dr Burg and other stakeholders, we will seek to further develop the field of cardiac psychology and cardiovascular behavioural medicine. We are still far from treating heart and mind together, not only in Denmark but also internationally, despite ischaemic heart disease and depression beeing among the 10 largest contributors to the disease burden worldwide’, says Head of Department, Professor Susanne S. Pedersen, Department of Psychology, also affiliated with the Department of Cardiology at Odense University Hospital. ‘Furthermore, this collaboration will provide an opportunity for employee exchanges between Yale and the Department of Psychology, joint applications for funding and research projects’.

‘I see the professorship as an opportunity to share my experience and knowledge with international partners and the next generation of clinical researchers in cardiovascular and behavioural medicine. Given the unique characteristics of the Danish healthcare system compared to the American system, I also have high expectations of exploring the use of e-health approaches – both for measuring patients’ routine activities and for preparing psychosocial interventions, in order to reduce the risk of transient and major cardiovascular problems, including those with chronic ischaemic heart disease, heart failure, cardiac arrhythmias and coronary microvascular disease – angina pectoris’, says Matthew M. Burg.

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