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Dr. Pablo Altieri’s Legacy: Excellence in Cardiology and Research

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Dr. Pablo Altieri during a presentation at the UPR School of Medicine.

We publish this note to celebrate and share the memory and contributions of Dr. Pablo I. Altieri-Nieto a member of our​ #CienciaBoricua community, who passed away recently. We thank Drs. Nelson Escobales and Sabzali Javadov, Professors in the Department of Physiology at the University of Puerto Rico School of Medicine and former Presidents of the Puerto Rico Physiological Society, for their collegiality and authorship.

Dr. Pablo I. Altieri-Nieto, born in Añasco, Puerto Rico in 1943, was a renowned cardiologist at the Cardiovascular Center of PR and the Caribbean and a Professor at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) School of Medicine.

Dr. Altieri completed his BS degree at the UPR Mayagüez Campus in 1963 and earned his MD degree from the UPR School of Medicine in 1967. He furthered his training with a Residency in Cardiology and Electrophysiology at Ohio State University Hospital (1971-1972) and directed the Cardiovascular Laboratory of Malcolm Grow Medical Center at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland (1972-1974). During this time, he facilitated collaborations between the Cardiology Section of Ohio State University Hospital, John Hopkins School of Medicine, Walter Reed Hospital, and the National Institutes of Health.

His extensive training in cardiovascular research and work at the UPR School of Medicine and University Hospital led him to publish over 125 papers in clinical journals specialized in cardiology. Dr. Altieri fostered strong relationships with internationally renowned clinical scientists, including, among others, Juan Cosin from the University Hospital in Valencia, Spain, Wolfgang Koenig from the University of Munich, Germany, and Myron Weisfeldt from John Hopkins University, Maryland.

In 1974, Dr. Altieri joined the faculty of his alma mater, UPR School of Medicine, where he was appointed Head of the Catheterization Unit and the Electrophysiology Laboratory at the University Hospital. He played an important role in establishing the Cardiovascular Center of PR and the Caribbean, where he directed the Catheterization Laboratory.

Dr. Altieri was deeply committed to advancing clinical and basic research. He advocated for integrating research in these fields within the UPR School of Medicine, believing it would enhance the institution's competitiveness for national funding and support. He actively promoted the dissemination of research findings through a strong publication record and participation in scientific congresses. Indeed, he promoted the discussion of hot research topics at the UPR School of Medicine and developed scientific projects with the support of pharmaceutical companies such as Merck, Sharp & Dohme. Over the years, he mentored numerous fellows in Cardiology and Electrophysiology at the Cardiovascular Center.

Dr. Pablo Altieri (center) receiving a Distinguished Service Award from the Puerto Rico Physiological Society in 2016. From left to right: Dr. Martin Frank, President of the American Physiological Society,
Dr. Sabzali Javadov, Dr. Pablo Altieri, Dr. Nelson Escobales, and Dr. Guido Santacana.

Dr. Altieri's dedication to research was evident in his regular participation in the American Federation of Clinical Research congresses, where he presented his group's findings. He generously covered the travel and accommodation expenses for his fellows and students, recognizing the value of their participation in scientific forums. He understood that his participation and that of fellows in scientific congresses was an excellent opportunity for UPR School of Medicine exposure at national and international levels.

In 2009, Dr. Altieri contributed significantly to establishing the Puerto Rico Physiological Society and initiated an annual award in his name in 2015, to support graduate students participating in national congresses. In 2016, he was honored with a Distinguished Service Award by the Puerto Rico Physiological Society, presented during the 6th Annual Congress of the Society, attended by Dr. Martin Frank, President of the American Physiological Society.

As a colleague, Dr. Altieri was known for his affable nature and genuine friendships. He was deeply committed to serving the underprivileged, often providing medical care without regard for financial compensation. He had diverse interests outside of medicine, including economics, arts, sports, politics, and science.

Dr. Pablo Altieri's presence and collegiality, characterized by his contagious happiness, elegance, and enthusiasm, will be dearly missed at the Physiology Department and the UPR School of Medicine, and by all who had the privilege of knowing him.

Rest in Peace, our esteemed colleague and friend.


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