#ChooseCardiology: Khanjan Shah, MD

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FEATURE | "When there are nine." This unapologetic mandate for increased gender diversity was Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg's reply when asked when there would be a satisfactory number of women on the Court.

The spirit of her words rings true in my field of interventional cardiology, as well, in which a paltry 3.5 percent of current practitioners are women.

My path to cardiology began early in residency during CCU rounds when I witnessed interventional cardiologists reversing imminently mortal conditions, thereby changing the trajectory of patient lives.

This lasting impact for patients coupled with the ability to practice in a field with constant innovation remained attractive to me throughout my training.

Lack of mentorship is often cited as the greatest barrier for women interested in interventional cardiology, but it is important to remember that the quality of mentors is more important than the absolute number.

Sahil A. Parikh, MD, FACC, was an early advocate for me during my residency and wholeheartedly supported my aspirations to pursue cardiology fellowship. I spent my interventional years with Robert W. Yeh, MD, FACC, who has been a fantastic role model and educator.

Due to increased awareness of gender inequality, especially within social media, women in interventional cardiology are more accessible than ever before.

Claudia Hochberg, MD, FACC, guided me early in my general cardiology career when I was considering interventional cardiology but unsure of work-life balance.

I sought the advice of Dawn Abbott, MD, multiple times during fellowship as I prepared my search for a faculty position. Importantly, both of these women practice at hospitals different from where I trained.

If you are interested in interventional cardiology, you will find women who are committed to your success.

I have witnessed multiple female colleagues with an interest in interventional cardiology slowly fall away due to negative stereotypes reinforced by unhealthy institutional cultures.

Cardiology is a rich and diverse field, which should be mirrored by our workforce. I am a more empathetic and caring physician because I am also a mother. I derive more joy in my work because I have personal happiness and balance at home.

If you are a woman interested in interventional cardiology, reach out to the resources available to you that will help you #choosecardiology.

This article was authored by Khanjan Shah, MD, interventional cardiologist at the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. 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.