Julie Ann Frieschlag
As a vascular surgeon and healthcare leader, I'm proud to see the explosive growth of women faculty in organization, and in particular within cardiology. Wake Forest Baptist is a pioneer in providing women resources to succeed as leaders and recognized experts within their specialties. I was impressed by the cardiology faculty I met and how well each has developed a clinical niche and leads that area with remarkable vision and clarity of purpose. I would like to share a snapshot of our incredible cardiology faculty and hope you will enjoy learning more about our program from four of our extraordinary female leaders.
Literally my first rotation, I walk into a cath lab and the attending who's there was a woman. I had never met an interventional cardiology attending who was a woman until that time. Several months later, even a couple years later, it really dawned on me that what an impact just seeing someone who's a woman in that position can have on trainees.
I lead the cardio-oncology clinic, which is housed within the Comprehensive Cancer Center for the past four years. The aspect that drew me to this field was the constant challenge to my clinical acumen, the need for constant learning and adapting to patient observations. Unlike general cardiology where we have a plethora of data as to what therapies make people live longer, live better, and the plethora of prognostic factors, this field has a viscosity of both. And that constant challenge has what's propelled me to stay in this field.
I was originally thinking I would be an interventional cardiologist and I happened to have the good fortune of being in a fellowship program that had a heart transplant program, which many programs do not have. And after my time on heart failure and transplant, I really thought that this was a great opportunity to mix critical care, cardiology, internal medicine, infectious disease, and interventional cardiology and really do get to me the best of all worlds. You have the opportunity to do procedures, to be highly involved in the ICU and transplants a subspecialty where something good invariably comes of this, a patient is transplanted and their life is truly transformed, and I don't think that there are a lot of things in medicine that we can say that about.
I have been very blessed to be able to participate in a number of different areas within the American College of Cardiology, currently participating in the Science and Quality Committee, as well as co-chairing this year and chairing for the subsequent three years, the American College of Cardiology's Quality Summit, which has been a wonderful experience for us to bring perspectives of how we approach quality here at Atrium Health Wake Forest to the summit, as well as learning and bringing back those experiences from others to share, here at our home base.
M. Octavia Rangel
I currently hold position as director of the geriatric cardiology program. My dad deal with coronary artery disease since he was very young. Despite this, he went on to live a very long and good life, so he definitely inspired me to become a cardiologist. And I also, growing up surrounded by older folks, I really enjoyed the interaction with older adults and as I was going through my residency and fellowship, the more and more interacted with these type of patients, it came to my mind, well, how can I help these patients from a cardio perspective without making their other medical problems worse?
Having read when breath becomes air gave me a window into what cancer patients go through. Being a part of that journey where helping them mitigate cardiac toxicities and helping them transition to a survivorship state is a very rewarding thing for me personally. With the help of oncology colleagues, we are in the process of developing a curriculum both for inpatient and outpatient cardio-oncology for our fellowship program.
Regarding mentorship and career opportunities at Wake Forest, I would consider this the full package in terms of being able to adapt to whatever individual's interests might be. If that's clinical, the volume is abundantly there to provide you what you would need for a successful career. Alternatively and/or additionally should research pique your interest. There are all of those opportunities in whatever area of cardiology you have interest to pursue. Beyond that, we have a number of faculty engaged at the national level with different organizations that can mentor your participation and growth at the national level even. And so I would consider this the full package.
M. Octavia Rangel
This has been joint effort between the geriatrics department and the cardiology department, and I was given the opportunity to lead this based on my clinical interests. We have a clinic, an outpatient clinic in the geriatric department, in the Sticht Center. We also welcome residents and fellows to be part of this clinic, so that is part of their medical education. This partnership has also expanded the opportunities of collaborative research between the two departments and with opportunities for all the fellows to participate.
I think that having worked in a lot of different hospitals, I can say that Wake Forest is really unique and it's unique not just from a perspective of a woman, but from a perspective as a physician. There's an environment of collegiality and collaboration. The Women in Medicine and Sciences program really affords women the opportunity to advance their administrative and leadership skills and use those skills, not just to help other women succeed, but to help all physicians and all our staff succeed. And that's really what being a leader, I think at Wake Forest means.
M. Octavia Rangel
So these female role models certainly are an inspiration for early career faculty like me to pursue my niche. So I think we have each other's back and I think we lead by example to the younger generations.