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Making a difference: “It all started with my mom”

I’m a structural heart disease cardiologist and father of one (soon to be two) sons. Looking back, I believe that my mom was a big influence in the position I am in today. Growing up she volunteered her time to read to children and showed me how important it was to care for other people. Early in my life, I saw the impact she had on children and how rewarding it was to work with other people in our community. It occurred to me then that being a physician would be an amazing way to connect with people and impact their lives in a meaningful and positive way.

I went straight into medical school after getting my Bachelor of Science at Northwestern University and never looked back. In medical school, I found an outlet for my interest in the distribution of healthcare economics and earned a Master’s in Public Health while also finding I was passionate about the field of cardiology.

Working with my hands to do heart valve replacements, treating coronary artery disease, and inserting heart stents brought to me where I am today. At the Advocate Heart Institute at Lutheran General Hospital, we are performing heart procedures every day that are changing people’s lives.

Making a difference is the most rewarding feeling to have at the end of the day and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. The connections we make with families reminds me of the work my mom did in her community. I truly feel lucky to be able to take care of patients in such a personal way and have such a rewarding job. And it all started with my mom.

Dr. Neal Sawlani is a structural heart cardiologist at the Advocate Heart Institute at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. To make a gift to the Advocate Heart Institute, which includes the Advocate Children’s Institute, visit our website.