Dr. Frederick Kushner knew he wanted to be a cardiologist at age 11, when he learned of the world’s first heart transplant (performed by South African surgeon Christiaan Barnard). “That sparked the fire in me,” he says.
Dr. Kushner earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from Columbia University in New York City, and completed his residency in internal medicine at Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. He went on to complete fellowships at the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard.
Though he originally planned to become an academic cardiologist, Dr. Kushner decided to practice and moved to New Orleans in 1979 to accept a clinical position. Academic cardiologists split their time between research, teaching, administrative work and patient care; “I was more interested in teaching and patient care,” Dr. Kushner says.
Day-to-Day Practice and Common Treated Conditions
Dr. Kushner maintains a busy clinical practice, working with eight other physicians and two nurse practitioners. He spends time each day seeing patients in his office, performing procedures at the hospital and consulting for several organizations, including the American College of Cardiology Foundation, the American Heart Association and the Science Board of the Food & Drug Administration.
“Most patients in an adult cardiology practice have coronary artery disease,” Dr. Kushner explains. He also treats patients suffering from high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arrythmias, chronic stable coronary syndromes and acute coronary syndromes (an umbrella term for situations where the heart’s blood supply is suddenly blocked).
In addition to working with patients, Dr. Kushner is a clinical professor of medicine at both Tulane University and Louisiana State University; in 1999, he won Tulane’s Alpha Omega Alpha Volunteer Clinical Faculty Award.
In 2010, Dr. Kushner chaired a workgroup for the American College of Cardiology Foundation and the American Heart Association, as a member of the Task Force on Practice Guidelines. The Task Force, which includes a number of distinguished physicians from around the U.S., is responsible for deciding which cardiovascular diseases and conditions require clinical practice updates. To make these determinations, Dr. Kushner and fellow Task Force members rely on evidence-based medicine, or “the integration of best researched evidence and clinical expertise with patient values” (Institute of Medicine, 2001).
Most recently, Dr. Kushner was appointed vice chair of the 2013 ACCF/AHA Guidelines for the Management of ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction, or heart attack. In addition, he was an official reviewer of the new and improved Guideline on the Assessment of Cardiovascular Risk, a set of lifestyle guidelines developed by the American College of Cardiology and American Heart Association in association with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. The guidelines were released in November 2013.
Dr. Kushner also sits on the Science Board to the FDA, working with a subcommittee called Science Looking Forward. “It’s really a privilege to be asked to be on the committee, and it’s a privilege to serve with the best and brightest in the field,” he says.
“Communication is extremely important. You should have excellent communication with your patient, so your patient understands exactly what’s going on and can ask appropriate questions, be informed and help you help them with their disease management.”
Frederick Kushner, M.D., F.A.C.C., F.A.C.P., F.A.H.A., F.S.C.A.I.
Medical Director, Heart Clinic of Louisiana
1111 Medical Center Blvd.
Marrero, LA 70072
Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
University of Pennsylvania and Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
Board Certifications: Interventional Cardiology, Cardiovascular Diseases, Internal Medicine