In the beginning of her career as an interventional cardiologist, Ki Park, M.D. ’06, noticed women visiting the emergency room with symptoms indicating a heart attack weren’t always receiving the care they needed right away — an issue, in part, because women may have different heart attack symptoms than men. Through personal experience and research, Park, an associate professor in the division of cardiovascular medicine, also learned that health issues that can develop during pregnancy, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, increase a woman’s risk of cardiovascular issues, even if their conditions normalize postpartum.
These findings led Park to establish the UF Health Women’s Cardiovascular Health Services program, where she now serves as director. The program includes teams of cardio-obstetricians, congenital cardiologists, obstetricians, maternal-fetal medicine physicians, neonatology, geneticists and surgeons who address women’s heart health. Park said the creation of the clinic makes it easier for health teams to offer specialized care.
“With the program in place, we have much more structured and organized care for women prior to ,during pregnancy and postpartum who are at high risk,” she said. “We get referrals from all over the state and the southeast region, because programs like ours aren’t very common, even among academic institutions.”