Clinical Heart and Vascular Center
Dr. Sharon Reimold Honored for Mentoring, Leading Women in Cardiology
Esteemed cardiologist Sharon Reimold, M.D., UT Southwestern Vice Chair for Clinical Operations and Faculty Development in the Department of Internal Medicine, received the prestigious Women in Cardiology Mentoring Award at this year's AHA Scientific Sessions on Nov. 16.
The award recognizes an exemplary history of mentoring female cardiologists and fostering the professional development of women in a field that is traditionally bereft of women.
“Sharon is at once an exemplar mentor, as recognized by this prestigious award, and a sponsor, always reaching out proactively with ideas to support those around her,” says Joseph A. Hill, M.D., Ph.D., Chief of Cardiology at UT Southwestern. “She’s a role model for us all!”
Recruited to UT Southwestern in 2000, Dr. Reimold brought a wealth of knowledge and a broad range of expertise in clinical and academic leadership. Earlier in her career, she was Chief Resident at the VA in St. Louis, earned an NIH Clinical Investigator Development Award, and was the Director of the Cardiology Fellowship Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, where she served on the Harvard Medical School faculty.
Dr. Reimold has seen the paucity of women in cardiology and has had a hand in helping to change it. As a first-year cardiology fellow, she was one of only two women in a class of nine. Later, the 1999 cohort selected under her leadership at Brigham and Women's was half women. "A faculty member asked me whether I noticed and how that happened," she recalls, smiling. "All I said was, 'They were the best candidates.'"
The “best candidates” featuring a broader representation of women has become a pattern where Dr. Reimold has been a leader.
“Sharon is at once an exemplar mentor, as recognized by this prestigious award, and a sponsor, always reaching out proactively with ideas to support those around her. She’s a role model for us all!”
Today at UT Southwestern, a third of the faculty in the Division of Cardiology are women, which is twice the national average, and the 2019 first-year class of fellows was 50% female. "And no one batted an eyelash," Dr. Reimold says.
“Dr. Sharon Reimold has changed the face of cardiology,” says Melanie Sulistio, M.D., an Associate Professor in the Division of Cardiology at UT Southwestern and Associate Dean of Student Affairs. “In 2007, when I interviewed at UT Southwestern, I was astounded with the number of women in the Division, almost all of whom had been recruited by her.”
Adds Susan Matulevicius, M.D., Associate Professor in the Division of Cardiology and Assistant Dean of Faculty Wellness: “I am the cardiologist I am today because of Dr. Reimold’s influence and mentoring. She has always made me feel valued and heard, has role modeled service leadership, and earnestly works to ensure that opportunities are available for all of her faculty.”
To Dr. Reimold, involving more women physicians is not solely a matter of equality – it's a differentiator for patient care. "When there are more women in the field, it increases diversity and brings different perspectives and different ways of thinking," she says.
UT Southwestern Medical Center is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the nation's top 20 hospitals for cardiology and heart surgery. That recognition is fueled in part by the diversity of thought – and the availability of opportunity – in the Division of Cardiology.
“Encouraging women to join this field goes beyond recruiting,” Dr. Reimold says. “We invite trainees to attend specialty meetings. We involve them in research projects. We get to know them and demonstrate that their concerns (about work/family balance, for example) should not hold them back.”
As for the future, Dr. Reimold anticipates that more women will perform invasive procedures, such as EP and cardiac catheterization – two areas that lag nationally in terms of female providers.
Further, she envisions more women becoming clinical and academic leaders in cardiology. "I think more women want to see a female cardiologist," she says. "There's a real need for female leadership and involvement to care for our population."
Thanks to Dr. Reimold, progress toward that important goal is moving forward at UT Southwestern.