What attracted you to cardiology?
My interest in cardiology began very early on during my undergraduate biology education and continued to develop during medical school. A clinical research project during medical school involving echocardiography helped to solidify my interest in cardiology.
I think the hemodynamics of structural heart disease and heart failure are fascinating, and I enjoy the correlation of noninvasive echo with invasive hemodynamics. I like that cardiology is more of a data-driven specialty than many other fields and that cardiologists, depending on their preferences, have opportunities to pursue careers in invasive procedures and interventions, imaging, or purely clinical practice.
What attracted you to Mayo Clinic for fellowship training?
Mayo Clinic was a perfect match for me. Mayo has such a big cardiology program that it is able to offer a greater breadth of experience and expertise than any other program I visited.
In addition to the strong clinical experience, there is an excellent didactic curriculum and there is a strong focus on research production with great mentorship. Overall I think it's a very well-balanced curriculum, and it offers an excellent environment to learn and grow.
What makes the Mayo Clinic Cardiovascular Diseases Fellowship unique?
The structure of the first two years of fellowship is very unique. The first year focuses on learning the basic tools of cardiology — cardiac catheterization, echocardiography, nuclear cardiology and electrophysiology.
The second year focuses more on gaining clinical experience and applying the skills you learned during the first year. The bulk of the second year is spent on cardiology consults, the Critical Care Unit (CCU), subspecialty cardiology clinics and further training in your subspecialty of interest.
This gives fellows an opportunity to learn the "tools of the trade" during the first year and it affords an added level of comfort and confidence during your second year (particularly on the consult and CCU months) when you're working more intensively in the hospital.
Did anything surprise you about Mayo's program?
The program does a great job of providing protected time for didactics and teaching. There are numerous subspecialty conferences throughout the week, which we are encouraged to attend. In particular, our weekly "fellows conference" allows us to come together, talk about our experiences and learn from world leaders in their respective fields.
It's very difficult to balance a busy clinical experience with didactics, and I think that our fellowship has done an excellent job of protecting blocks of time for teaching.
What is it like living in Rochester, Minn.?
I enjoy life in Rochester. Compared to other programs that I've visited or been a part of, Mayo seems to have an excellent work-life balance, which allows our fellows to enjoy more free time with friends and family.
Despite Rochester being a city of more than 100,000, people are very kind and approachable, as one might expect in the Midwest. I love to spend my free time being active, so I enjoy the great network of running and biking trails, local parks, local lakes and the Dan Abraham Healthy Living Center. The Twin Cities are not far away and offer more of a big-city experience.
What does your future look like right now?
My primary interest is in advanced echocardiography and structural heart disease. I've spent much of my clinical elective time (during the second year) in the Valvular Heart Disease Clinic and the Cardiomyopathy Clinic.
I've just started my third year, which is dedicated to research, and I plan to spend my year on several research projects that center on the topic of aortic stenosis. My fourth year will be dedicated to advanced echocardiography with particular focus on interventional transesophageal echocardiogram.
Sept. 27, 2013