#ChooseCardiology: Sherry-Ann Brown, MD, PhD

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FEATURE | What can I say? I love the heart.

I love the physiology of the physical heart and all of its components – the plumbing, electrical wiring and carpentry of the heart.

All of it.

The fact that cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death in the world makes this organ system even more fascinating to me.

In addition to conditions of the physical heart, I also find value in considering the figurative heart, recognizing the interplay among various parts of the whole person.

As you can see, I chose to become a cardiologist for several reasons.

Once deciding to become a cardiologist, here is how I determined what sort of cardiologist I wanted to be.

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First, I have noted that preventive measures are available to avoid development or worsening of heart disease. Even if they did not exist, I would want to invent them; although adherence to these measures in the doctor-patient relationship is not always optimal.

Second, I have felt that patients with cancer ought to be able to have the cancer treated while the heart is being protected.

Third, heart disease in women is not equal to heart disease in men for many reasons and in many ways. More physicians need to commit to learning more about, training in and potentially managing the intricacies of heart disease in women.

Therefore, I developed a personal and professional goal to help prevent and manage heart disease in the general population, particularly in individuals with a current or prior history of cancer (and especially in women).

It has been an incredible opportunity to have a special focus on these areas during my cardiology fellowship training, and to now be able to apply one, two or all three of these interest areas in my clinical practice, research endeavors and dedication to education.

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One fantastic privilege of being both a cardiologist and a poet is being able to write meaningful poetry about the physical heart – to express my heart about the heart and to touch others' hearts. (See three examples of my work: Somebody Tell Me, Protecting A Woman's Heart and The Healer Speaks).

If want to focus on your internal medicine career, I would encourage you to #ChooseCardiology and care deeply for the hearts of individuals – both literally and figuratively. Find mentors and sponsors to support and develop you along the way.

Such individuals have been invaluable in my professional life. Because of these countless mentors and sponsors, my patients, and colleagues, and because I believe this is part of my calling and purpose in life, I would once again embrace the privilege and honor it is for me to #ChooseCardiology.

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This article was authored by Sherry-Ann Brown, MD, PhD, an Associate Fellow at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. This article is part of the ACC WIC Section's #ChooseCardiology series, where women in residency, fellowship and early career are encouraged to share why they would choose cardiology again.