HArTs in Cardiology: Hobbies, Art and Talents in Cardiology

Creativity is essential to human existence. The rigorous process of pursuing an ambitious career through years of medical school, residency and fellowship – only to be followed by responsibilities of patient care – puts our creative soul in shackles. While conforming to unanimity of data science and protocols, we tend to lose the comfort of swaying free and breaking rules. Pursuing creative passion may offer that slim opportunity to break free and, in turn, provide an entirely different perspective of our world.

I reminisce on my medical school days when casually strumming my guitar strings would spontaneously result in new melodies. I want to pick on those strings again to bring that melody and rhythm back in my life, which makes me think there might be examples of such nostalgia hidden in the corners of hearts of so many of us. What if there is a platform which can enable all of us to rekindle our exhausted creative spirits? With this idea in mind, I created a group, "HArTs in Cardiology: Hobbies, Art and Talents in Cardiology" on ACC's innovative community platform, Member Hub. The mission is to recognize, promote and nurture creative talents and interesting hobbies amongst cardiovascular professionals. The vision is to create a unique amalgam of creativity and science providing opportunities to network, bring joy and wellness, and conceptualize innovative solutions for clinical problems. I welcome all to be a part of this vision.

In an effort to gather perspectives from cardiologists who have embarked on creative journeys along with their profession, I interviewed several talented minds. A great mind in the world of electrophysiology, Douglas P. Zipes, MD, MACC, is also a fictional thriller novelist. "Life's journey is more important than the finish. But I am still young, and if I work hard at my writing, who knows what I can accomplish in the next 80 years," he said, "If you find your true passion, no matter how busy you are, you will make time for it." Practicing cardiologist and mother of three Naznin Moghbeli, MD, paints with her passion for art, music and medicine. "If all you do is work, you will get burned out. If you have something on the side of creativity, it gives you energy. It is a whole other world that you can access," she said. She also mentions her love for painting and music allows her to have better human connections with her patients and makes her clinical work truly satisfying. Full-time cardiologist Kedar Sankholkar, MD, FACC, is a stunning magician. He has performed magic shows at Lincoln Center in New York and is always ready to perform mind-boggling and unpublished card tricks of his own. "During the busy years of training, when I missed keeping up with my love for magic, my mentor advised me to keep my skills in animated suspension," he said. "Later, I understood it meant that I should continue practicing my magic skills using any idle time I might have anywhere." Our cath lab director, Robert A. Frankel, MD, FACC, pilots a single engine Cirrus aircraft as a hobby. "Assuming full control of your flight as 'pilot-in-command' instills unparalleled confidence in you and sharpens your decision-making skills, the same qualities which makes you an excellent interventional cardiologist," he said.

Einstein aptly said, "Creativity is contagious, pass it on." Learning more about the synergistic harmony these cardiologists create between the left and right brain inspires me to make more paintings, write and sing songs without the fear of failure. I hope the ACC Member Hub group "HArTs in Cardiology: Hobbies, Art and Talents in Cardiology" provides an unlimited source of inspiration for many FITs and cardiologists to explore those hidden corners of their hearts!

Want to carry on this discussion even further? Connect with colleagues and share your thoughts on ACC's Member Hub!

This article was authored by Jignesh A. Patel, MD, Fellow in Training (FIT) at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY.