News Release

July 16, 2008

Contact: Chris DeFrancesco, 860-679-3914

UConn Health Center Adds 4 Cardiologists

FARMINGTON, CONN. – Four physicians have joined the University of Connecticut Health Center and are now seeing patients at the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center.

Christopher Pickett, M.D., and Heiko Schmitt, M.D., Ph.D., are electrophysiologists in the Calhoun Cardiology Center’s Heart Rhythm Program.

Pickett’s doctorate in medicine is from the Tulane University School of Medicine in New Orleans. He completed his postdoctoral training at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, including fellowships in cardiology and electrophysiology, and served as chief medical resident after finishing a residency in internal medicine there. Pickett lives in Farmington.


Schmitt earned both of his doctorates at the University of Giessen in Giessen, Germany, and completed a residency in internal medicine there. He also completed a residency in internal medicine at the State University of New York at Syracuse, as well as a postdoctoral research fellowship at Columbia University in New York City, and a fellowship in cardiology and electrophysiology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Schmitt lives Farmington.


“Both Drs. Schmitt and Pickett are highly trained specialists with expertise in heart rhythm conditions such as atrial fibrillation, and slow and fast heart rhythms,” says Calhoun Cardiology Center Director Bruce T. Liang, M.D. “They offer medication treatment as well as device-related therapies such as internal defibrillators, specialized pacemakers for heart failure patients, and ablation of the origin of heart rhythm abnormalities.”

Erick Avelar, M.D., and Jason William Ryan, M.D., M.P.H., specialize in non-invasive cardiology.

Avelar joins the UConn Health Center from Massachusetts General Hospital, where he received advanced cardiac imaging training in cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, echocardiography, and the use of a multi-slice CT scanner for CT angiogram of the coronary arteries. His medical doctorate is from Federal University in Recife, Brazil. He has completed clinical and research training in internal medicine and cardiology at Tufts-New England Medical Center in Boston, the University of Michigan, Good Samaritan Hospital in Cincinnati, and the University of Utah School of Medicine. He also holds a Master of Science degree in clinical investigation from the University of Utah School of Medicine. Avelar lives in Farmington.


Ryan simultaneously earned a doctorate in medicine from the UConn School of Medicine and a Master in Public Health degree from the UConn Health Center. As a medical student he earned the Dean’s Award for overall excellence and the Internal Medicine Award for excellence in the field of internal medicine. He completed his postdoctoral training at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, including a chief residency and cardiology fellowship. Ryan lives in West Hartford.


“Dr. Avelar, director of non-invasive cardiac imaging, and Dr. Ryan, an expert on echocardiography and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, add not only breadth but also depth in visualizing the inside of blood vessels and heart in a non-invasive manner, using the latest in heart imaging technology,” Liang says. “Some of their work will be carried out in collaboration with the Department of Diagnostic Imaging and Therapy and will add to the state-of-the-art imaging capabilities.”

More information about the Pat and Jim Calhoun Cardiology Center is available at

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