Meet Dr. Susan Smyth, director of the UK Gill Heart & Vascular Institute
Our latest Making the Rounds interview features Dr. Susan Smyth, medical director of the UK Gill Heart & Vascular Institute. Dr. Smyth is a researcher and physician focused on treating patients with bleeding and clotting disorders.
What do you enjoy most about being a heart doctor?
The field of cardiology is just extraordinary. It’s incredibly rewarding to be part of a field that has done so much for our society and to every day be thinking about, “How can we do this better? How can we keep people out of the hospital? How can we make them live longer? How can we make them feel better? How can we get rid of their suffering?” To be able to translate something that we observe in a clinical study to a patient and make their lives better is incredibly rewarding.
Why is research such an important part of your job?
The thing that drives me is to think about how we apply the scientific method to alleviating pain and suffering, extending life, and promoting health. How can we apply the knowledge that we have today so that we can improve tomorrow what we’re doing for folks across the United States?
What do you want patients to know about the care team at Gill?
We have a phenomenal care team at the University of Kentucky. We have staff whose entire job is to be there for the patient, for the family member and for the loved one and to support them throughout their journey.
Know that when you come here, you will be surrounded by a team that is dedicated to taking care of you.
Tell us about your interest in women’s heart health.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in women, and a lot of people don’t realize that. As a female cardiologist, it’s something that’s very close to my heart and a lot of my patients’ hearts, and we do have a very large focus on women’s heart health at Gill.
Another thing that I’m passionate about is trying to get more women in medicine and science in general. We do not have enough female cardiologists. Less than 15 percent of the cardiologists in the United States are female. That’s a number that needs to change. And so while we think about how we can improve heart health in women, I also want to encourage women to consider this as a career because I can’t think of a more rewarding specialty to go into.
You were born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Do you root for the Wildcats or the Tar Heels?
I am a native North Carolinian but I changed colors of blue when I moved to Kentucky. I continue to bleed blue, but it’s a little bit darker now than when I was younger. I have been in Kentucky for a little over 10 years and I cheer for the Wildcats, much to my mom’s chagrin!
Watch our video interview with Dr. Smyth, where she talks more about the types of conditions she treats and what patients can expect when they come to Gill.