'We're on the cusp': 1 cardiology leader on heart advancements

Jonathan Weinsaft, MD, has done a lot in his 20-year career and in leadership, but, he told Becker's, at his heart and soul he is a clinical cardiologist.

"I'm a passionate believer in the importance of cardiovascular health and care, and I'm a passionate clinical doctor. I've been a physician, a caregiver, an agent of change, and improvement in the lives of my community is the most rewarding thing that I do," he told Becker's.

He was appointed chief of cardiology at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian, both based in New York City, in June, "and it's been truly wonderful."

Here, Dr. Weinsaft shares how his system is working to deliver quality care across all their centers.

Question: What heart study, technology or innovation are you most excited about right now?

Dr. Jonathan Weinsaft: I think when we talk about vascular heart disease, I'm particularly excited about new technological developments for percutaneous valves that are even more similar to native valve physiology and more durable. I'm also excited about the potential of imaging to identify those patients who are going to have durable responses to … therapies and valve technologies and to inform how we should best insert those valves to get a good outcome is particularly exciting. 

I think when we look at preventative cardiology, I'm particularly excited about leveraging the power of molecular cardiology of immunology to develop targeted therapeutics to not only treat established plaque but see plaque regression or actual ratio of plaque itself. I think that we're on the cusp of treating people with targeting immunotherapies and eliminating the presence of an atherosclerotic plaque in a vessel in a way that's durable.

Q: What aspect of your work or the field keeps you up at night?

JW: Despite advances in therapeutics, despite advances in our understanding of cardiovascular physiology and cardiovascular disease, we continue to have a substantial number of people in New York City and nationwide who have devastating cardiovascular events. We have to do better. We have to do better and identify at-risk populations. We have to do better once we identify those patients, and then we have to do better in delivering innovative and state-of-the-art care to those communities. I think that's absolutely critical, and there's a gap in where we are and where we need to be.

Q: What's one thing your hospital/system is doing in heart care that you're most proud of?

JW: I'm incredibly proud of our ability to translate cardiology advances throughout an incredibly complex network throughout the greater New York City area and our ability to deliver an exceptional level of care in the cardiovascular space, not only at our tertiary care centers, but our affiliate hospitals, and to integrate that health system in a way that provides care that might otherwise be unavailable to communities in greatest need. I'm incredibly proud of the commitment to that, and it's an honor to be part of it.

Q: What's the best leadership advice you've received?

JW: It's critical to have a vision of where one is going, to have an ability to seek good counsel and to identify sources of good counsel to listen to, while also staying true to one's inner compass and core beliefs.

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