We doubt Eric Topol has his own personal publicist, but if he does that person deserves a raise. Topol, who has long been a rock star equivalent in the relatively quiet world of cardiology, is now breaking out into noisier areas, including music, fashion, and wireless technology.
To start, Topol appears in a photograph in the June issue of GQ magazine as a Rock Star of Science, where he joins other rock stars and scientific luminaries, including Sheryl Crow, Josh Groban, Will.i.am, Joe Perry, and Seal, as well as Harold Varmus, Francis Collins and Anthony Fauci. Topol is the only cardiologist in the group of 11 scientists. The Rock Stars of Science campaign is jointly sponsored by GQ and the Geoffrey Beene Gives Back initiative.
Not everyone can be a rock star, of course, but anyone can dress like one: the caption on Topol’s picture provides helpful information: Topol, we are told, wears “white sateen ‘cotton-rich’ shirt msrp $49.50, 100 % wool cord suit msrp $450, available at Macy’s, Bon-Ton… (All by Geoffrey Beene).”
You can read an amusing story about Topol’s experience during the photo shoot, as well as his reasons for agreeing to participate, in a Heartwire story. You can also read the Scripps press release at the bottom of this post.
Wireless in San Diego, Hairy in Australia
Topol is also the subject of a feature story in Xconomy San Diego in which he outlines the goals for the West Wireless Healthcare Institute. In addition to all his other titles, including Chief Academic Officer at Scripps Health, Topol is now the chief medical officer for the new institute.
You can also read a Scripps press release that links directly to an interview with Eric Topol on CNBC about the new institute.
Topol’s name has also been heard in Australia in recent days, in the context of ongoing litigation over Merck’s Vioxx. In the most recent revelation, a Merck marketing team skit made fun of the famous JAMA study by Nissen and Topol that initiated the Vioxx controversy.
According to a story in the Australian, Merck sales staff satirized the controversy in an in-house skit that took place in a hair salon, as part of “a mock presentation given to sales staff at end-of-year celebrations.” According to the story by Milanda Rout, the Merck employees “joked that links drawn between the anti-arthritis drug and heart attacks had caused a ‘wave’ in the news they had had to ‘straighten out’.” In the skit, Eric Topol became Eric Toupe:
The skit went on: “Toupe et al published an article in the Journal of American Mullet Association examining three Vioxx studies and one dreadlock study.”
Here is the Scripps press release about the Rock Stars of Science:
Dr. Eric Topol Joins Rock Stars in New Science Promotion Campaign
May 15, 2009
San Diego – Scripps Health Chief Academic Officer Eric J. Topol, M.D., a world-renowned pioneer in cardiology and genomics-based medicine, joins musical celebrities Sheryl Crow, Seal, Will.i.am, Joe Perry and Josh Groban for a designer menswear photo shoot as a “Rock Star of Science” in the June issue of GQ Magazine, available nationally May 28.
See a sneak peek (PDF, 220.3 KB). (Photo by Ben Watts)
Dr. Topol is the lone San Diegan in the new public service campaign, joining 10 other medical researchers from Harvard, the National Institutes of Health, Mayo Clinic, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, UCLA and other leading institutions nationwide. Sponsored by Geoffrey Beene Gives Back and GQ Magazine, the campaign spotlights the need for greater funding for medical research and works to make science a more attractive career choice for tomorrow’s stars.
The Rock Stars of Science (Rock S.O.S.) campaign aims to help bridge the recognition gap that, according to a recent Harris Interactive survey, makes Britney Spears more influential than Stephen Hawking among most Americans. The same survey found that nearly half of those polled could not name a single living scientist.
“We have always known that science doesn’t command the same pubic interest or fans as rock and roll, but when we are so far outside the public conscience, then funding for medical research is in danger and it’s time to spruce up our image,” said Dr. Topol.
“Medical research is sizzling hot right now, at the cusp of changing medicine, so the timing is great,” said Dr. Topol, who also serves as director of the NIH-funded Scripps Translational Science Institute; is a senior consultant cardiologist at Scripps Clinic; is Gary and Mary West chair of innovative medicine with Scripps Health; and is chief medical officer of the West Wireless Health Institute.
Research led by Dr. Topol has led to the discovery of key genes associated with heart attack and have been recognized as Top 10 research advances by the American Heart Association. He is among the top 10 most-cited biomedical researchers in medicine in the past decade by the Institute of Scientific Information. Dr. Topol has designed and chaired rigorous clinical research studies with more than 200,000 patients in more than 40 countries.
In addition to showcasing the work of Dr. Topol, Rock S.O.S. will highlight other scientists and their breakthrough research on diseases like cancer, HIV-AIDS, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and advances in genetics and individualized medicine. The campaign will also be supported by a website, http://www.rockstarsofscience.org, to be launched on June 1, 2009. The site will profile the scientists, their teams and research institutions. Readers will also have the opportunity to sign a declaration calling for more funding for science research, nominate their own Rock Stars of Science, and qualify for limited edition campaign giveaways.
Rock S.O.S. also highlights the designer menswear brand, Geoffrey Beene, as a unique model of corporate giving through its Geoffrey Beene Gives Back charitable donations. One hundred percent of net profits from Geoffrey Beene, LLC are donated to philanthropic causes. Today, the Geoffrey Beene Foundation and the Geoffrey Beene Brand have supported over $145 million in charitable commitments to a variety of medical causes. GQ Magazine is the leading men’s general-interest magazine with a monthly readership of 6.1 million readers.
About Scripps Health
Founded in 1924 by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps, Scripps Health is a $2 billion nonprofit community health system based in San Diego, Calif. Scripps treats a half-million patients annually through the dedication of 2,600 affiliated physicians and 12,700 employees among its five acute-care hospital campuses, home health care services, and an ambulatory care network of clinics, physician offices and outpatient centers.
Recognized as a leader in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of disease, Scripps is also at the forefront of clinical research and graduate medical education. See www.Scripps.org for more information.