Our Board of Directors
Professor Mario Deng, M.D., is a cardiologist, specialized in the care of patients with advanced heart failure, mechanical circulatory support devices and heart transplantation. After medical training in Germany and a postdoctoral cardiology research fellowship at Stanford University, he served as the Medical Director of the Interdisciplinary Heart Failure & Heart Transplantation Program at Muenster University (1992-2000), Director of Cardiac Transplantation Research at Columbia University (2000-2011), and between 2011 and 2016, Medical Director of the UCLA Integrated Advanced Heart Failure/Mechanical Support/Heart Transplant program.
Prof. Deng maintains a position at the intersection between clinical cardiology, teaching and translational research. Dr. Deng is Co-Principal Investigator of the Cardiac Allograft Rejection Gene Expression Observational (CARGO) study that led to the first-in-history US-FDA-cleared genomic organ transplantation rejection AllomapTM blood test and Principal Investigator of the NIH-NHLBI-project “Multidimensional Molecular Biomarkers of MultiOrgan Dysfunction after Mechanical Circulatory Support Therapy.”
Together with Prof. Federica Raia, he developed the Relational Medicine Theory with the core concept of the RelationalAct to improve the understanding and practice of modern medicine. In the context of this work, Prof. Deng is the co-founder and co-president, with Prof. Raia, of the Relational Medicine Foundation, a non-profit organization in support of the on-going collaboration among different stakeholders: patients, caregivers, healthcare providers, education researchers and artists/theater professionals to improve the understanding and practice of high-tech modern medicine
John Henry Davis serves on the board of directors and is the Program Director of the Relational Medicine Foundation. He is a director of theatre, opera, film and television, as well as a dramaturg, playwright, and novelist. Mr. Davis is Professor Emeritus at LaGuardia Community College, having been a full professor there for many years. He has also taught at NYU and Vassar.
In theatre, he is known for directing premieres of new plays and musicals in theatres all across the country, including Playwrights Horizons, The Mark Taper Forum, the Kennedy Center, The International City Theatre in Long Beach, The Odyssey Theatre, Dallas Theatre Center, The Philadelphia Drama Guild, and Baltimore Center Stage. Mr. Davis directed the world premiere productions of the plays Papa and Mountain starring Len Cariou for tour and Off-Broadway and directed the workshop production of Conrad Cumming’s opera The Golden Gate at Rose Studio in New York as well as multiple productions of Babes in Toyland at Avery Fisher Hall in Lincoln Center. He has also produced and directed many documentaries, including Broken Mirrors. In television and film, he has directed “Oz” for HBO, a pilot for Bravo, and the award-winning feature film “Ordinary Sinner”.
For the foundation, he has produced and directed several documentaries, including Medicine as a Relational Act. In the theatre, John Henry produced and directed Catherine Wheel and Night Float at Playwright’s Horizon in New York. He co-wrote Waiting Room with Vanda Monaco, and produced and directed it at UCLA’s Tamkin Auditorium, along with Catherine Wheel.
John Henry Davis is also a playwright and novelist. His latest novel is eM: The Beginning. Mr. Davis is the husband of Game Show Network television executive Amy Introcaso-Davis, and is the proud father of Sean, Bonnie, and Christopher.
Victoria Groysberg graduated UCLA in 2014 and has been working in a lab ever since. Always sketching and painting growing up, Victoria gained a love of art at a young age and took art classes for 10 years. Through witnessing the suffering brought upon by heart disease on her grandparents and her art teacher of 10 years, she realized that introducing art therapy into the medical environment had great potential to benefit patient's recoveries. Through her exposure to the medical environment, she realized that the biomedical approach was not enough, and that a mechanism to build up patient's optimism and spirituality during their stay in the hospital needed to be introduced. This mechanism is the use of Relational Medicine and the use of the arts to assist patients in the healing process. She aims to go to medical school and to incorporate these fundamental principles into her practice.