Felipe Albuquerque, MD
Following in the footsteps of his cardiologist father, one fellow aims to make his mark on the field of structural interventions.
Felipe Albuquerque, MD, is completing a fellowship in structural heart disease at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine (Miami, FL). After graduating from medical school in Recife, Brazil, he completed his internal medicine and cardiovascular training at Yale New Haven Hospital (New Haven, CT) and Montefiore Medical Center/Albert Einstein College of Medicine (Bronx, NY), respectively. Albuquerque also completed his interventional cardiology fellowship at Emory University School of Medicine (Atlanta, GA). He has published papers in a range peer-reviewed journals and has won multiple awards for his research. Albuquerque aims to pursue a career in either an academic or private practice setting so long as he can continue to help advance the field, see patients, conduct research, and teach and mentor the next generation of cardiologists.
Why did you want to pursue a career in interventional cardiology?
I believe that interventional cardiology is one of the most gratifying and rewarding specialties of medicine. Early in medical school, I witnessed some of the breakthroughs and innovations that have occurred within interventional cardiology, including the development of percutaneous therapies for the treatment of coronary artery disease, and the creation and optimization of coronary stents, and the advancements in intravascular imaging modalities. I’ve had a firsthand view of the paradigm shift that has occurred in the treatment of coronary artery disease. Later, during my internal medicine and cardiovascular training, I saw the revolutions in structural heart disease therapies and that really made me passionate and eager to obtain advanced skills in structural heart interventions.
What has surprised you most about becoming an interventional cardiologist?
The most gratifying and surprising aspect of interventional cardiology is being able to perform a lifesaving procedure. It is also very interesting how the treatment modalities have improved and advanced over the last few years, how the patients are benefiting from the minimally invasive transcatheter procedures, and how the field has emerged. We still have a lot of work to do and many serious medical conditions in cardiology remain poorly treated. The patients will benefit tremendously from all these changes and advancements. The future is exciting!
What is the biggest challenge facing interventional cardiology fellows today?
Definitely maintaining balance between work and life. We spend so many hours in the cath lab and so many years in training that it is important to be able to separate your personal life from work and create priorities as you move forward. Establishing that balance is hard, but one of the things that I try to do is emulate my role models. Watching how some of my mentors have been able to advance in their careers and maintain both their sanity and happiness really gives me the ambition and encouragement to do the same.
I am also a believer that the current generation of interventional cardiologists needs to master not only the therapies for the coronary arteries, but also structural heart and endovascular therapies for vascular disease. Those areas are highly interconnected and to obtain the appropriate expertise may require additional training, which remains a challenge, but in my opinion it is very worth it. It is also important to identify early in your career what makes you passionate, and work hard to achieve it. As a final word, never forget to enjoy life and the things you do in life that make you happy. Once you do, dedicate yourself to it and you will be very rewarded.
What are you most looking forward to after you finish fellowship?
I’m looking forward to being able to practice and implement all the knowledge and expertise that I have acquired over the last 8 years of training and subspecialization. I am also looking forward to continuing to advance my career, staying up-to-date with the cutting-edge technology, and always being open to new advancements and change. I am looking forward to apply these skills to support, help, and provide the best care possible to our patients.
What is something people might not know about you?
I consider myself a product of a series of mentors who have guided me, helped in my career advancement, and served me as amazing sources of inspiration. However, my first and ongoing mentor and role model has been my father, a cardiologist in Brazil who taught me early in life the values of hard work and integrity.
Outside of work, I have multiple hobbies and try to be very active. I really enjoy sports, outdoor activities with family and friends, and music (I enjoy playing my acoustic guitar and harmonica). I also enjoy traveling—Italy was a recent highlight, specifically Tuscany and Amalfi Coast.
What his nominator, Eduardo de Marchena, MD (University of Miami Miller School of Medicine), says:
Albuquerque is an outstanding clinician and active researcher who is passionate for teaching and serves as a role model for fellows in training today. He has published more than 20 original studies, review articles, and editorials in the field of interventional cardiology, and is actively involved in first-in-human studies and device development at our program. He is very motivated, pleasant to work with, and extremely well liked by his patients and colleagues. I am extremely confident that he will make significant contributions to our field.
*To nominate a stellar cardiology fellow for the Featured Fellow section of TCTMD’s Fellows Forum, click here.