From the desk of Stuart F. Seides, MD Physician Executive Director, MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute

Strong and enduring relationships require trust, transparency, and compromise—attributes that can sometimes be elusive. Eschewing the spirit of divisiveness that can interrupt effective care, MedStar Heart & Vascular Institute continues to build critical relationships with our patients, our referring physicians, and the community. We have created effective partnerships across specialties in order to foster optimal cardiovascular care.

We believe that efforts of clinicians, researchers, medical educators, and students are intricately woven together, each dependent upon the other. Of course, the confidence of patients and families is the linchpin in the multilayered framework of care.

Living Relationships

Our institutional relationships are nurtured by common interests—and a desire to “keep ahead of the curve.” These are “living” relationships that continue to adapt to change.

Our alliance with the Cleveland Clinic and our growing relationship with the National Heart, Blood and Lung Institute (NHBLI) have resulted in the implementation of shared care protocols across the MHVI Network, improved digital communications, and the development of innovative technology. You can read about the new devices created by Toby Rogers, MD, whose talents we share with NHBLI, in the story on a new percutaneous mitral valve procedure on page 11.

Our transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) program demonstrates the strong collaborative relationships we have developed with cardiologists throughout the region. They are more than a referral base—they are our partners in cardiovascular care delivery to their patients. And now a new TAVR nurse navigator is helping to build stronger relationships with patients and their families, as she helps them navigate through the often complex system of care.

The success of this program, and of all of our aortic programs, depends on multidisciplinary care teams who represent a cross-section of specialties and disciplines. These inter-physician relationships have been forged throughout the Network and are a critical part of the MHVI structure. (You can read more about our aortic surgery capabilities on page 4 and the Complex Aortic Center on page 6.)

On page 12, we tell the tale of three members of the Miller Family—all patients of Scott Katzen, MD, who, during a single year, referred each to MHVI Cardiac Surgeon Christian Shults, MD. Dr. Katzen, an interventional cardiologist with MedStar Health Cardiology Associates in Annapolis, Md., is part of the network of 200 cardiovascular physicians and Advanced Practice Providers who provide critical continuity of care for patients and represent strong relationships established over the course of many years.

Relationships to Secure the Future

Perhaps the most crucial relationships to the future of cardiovascular care are those that enrich our graduate medical education programs. We understand that a robust academic environment helps ensure “bright sunlight” throughout MHVI. A teaching program means that we have multiple sets of eyes on any given issue and a well-informed interdisciplinary faculty who understand their impact on the next generation of cardiovascular specialists.

As the largest cardiovascular training program in the region, our continued success depends on an interconnected framework of clinical care, research, institutional affiliations, students, faculty, and patients.

During my own training, I had the pleasure of working with physicians like David Pearle, MD, who has long practiced an admirable blend of high-tech and high-touch medicine. We pay tribute to Dr. Pearle on page 15, and extend our gratitude as he winds down his long and distinguished career. Our patients need us to put down our tablets, look them in the eye, and pay close attention to what they tell us.

Symbiotic relationships that rely on open communication and honest deliberation don’t happen overnight. We have put in the hard work of relationship building for years, and we will continue to do so as we move forward into the next decade. It is the result of these relationships, old and new, that ultimately elevate care delivery.