Canadian Cardiovascular Society

Making the hyphen matter, developing quiet confidence, and improving access to high-quality care.

Dr. Mangeet Chahal is the founder of the Chahal Cardiovascular Centre, borne from her inspiring devotion to improving advanced heart failure care in her regional community.  Though a true Canadian at heart, she obtained her medical school, residency, and dual cardiovascular fellowship training in the United States. Dr. Chahal trained at the Ohio State University with distinguished mentors who were able to provide a foundational educational experience in cardiovascular medicine and advanced heart failure, mechanical circulatory support and cardiac transplantation. 

She has been in practice for over 10 years, demonstrating national leadership by serving as Past President of the Canadian Cardiovascular Society Academy and former Director of the Canadian Heart Failure Society, among many other roles within the society.  Most recently, Dr. Chahal served as the Medical Director of the Advanced Heart Failure Program at the world-renowned Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio. Here, she practiced alongside innovative colleagues, providing leadership in developing regional systems of care for advanced heart failure therapies. She has now taken this knowledge and skillset and returned home to Canada to fulfill her long-term goal of providing access to these novel therapies in her local community, while working alongside the Advanced Heart Failure and Transplantation team at the Toronto General Hospital.

The path from where I started as a new graduate over a decade ago to where I am now has been long, muddied with detours, speedbumps, and the occasional landmine. However, it has ultimately led me to develop a strong self-assuredness, a quiet confidence in knowing who I authentically am, and a relentless faith in my ability to challenge the status quo in my goal of improving access to high-quality heart failure (HF) care in the community. I learned long ago that the measure of success in my own life was not going to be achieved by external accolades, titles, or the superficialities of life. We spend a lifetime accumulating these accolades, only to realize that our lives are so finite, and the only thing on our tombstone that will reflect the life we’ve lived is the hyphen between our birth year and our death year. I want that hyphen to have meant something meaningful to others. My measure of success is the sense of fulfillment in my ultimate goal and vision of building an advanced HF centre to improve regional access to care. With the grace of God, I was fortunate to be recruited to the Cleveland Clinic to build this vision and accomplish this goal over the past few years. Now I am expanding upon this vision in Canada at the Chahal Cardiovascular Centre. Success to me is measured in how strong that internal flame burns, with the sense of true fulfilment and gratitude for the opportunities we have in this lifetime to serve others.

There are people along the journey of life that ultimately shape the foundation of your character and affect the trajectory of your life and career. To me, this is why membership in the Canadian Cardiovascular Society is so critically important. The CCS represents a collaborative family of brilliant professionals that provide a wealth of opportunities for growth and new experiences while sharing a common goal of intellectual enrichment. There are people within this society whom I’ve come to admire and who have expanded my mindset and outlook on life. There are many I’ve had the honour of working with on various committees, who have become my trusted mentors and guiding lights. There are still others who carry a certain grace, that I simply appreciate from a place of deep gratitude as we realize we have something very unique and special in Canada; our very own cardiovascular family, with a very powerful and united reputation, leading the world by example. 

Having practiced now in both the United States and Canada, I wish the general public knew what an incredible healthcare system we have in Canada! There are two main aspects that I admire about our Canadian healthcare system. The first is the focus on preventative care. We have a very proactive, educated society, with a focus on individual accountability and adhering to a heart-healthy lifestyle. Many patients are eager to know how they can participate in their own health, and prevent disease before its onset or delay its progression. As a clinician, this collaborative approach to healthcare with our patients is very rewarding. The second aspect of our healthcare system that is very commendable is our ethical allocation of limited resources.  While there is always room for improvement with respect to government funding, overall, I have found that in Canada we still adhere to the strong moral compass of allocating these limiting resources to the appropriate patients, such as device therapies, valvular interventions, ventricular assist devices and cardiac transplantations.   

My number one recommendation for trainees and those in their early career would be to get involved in the CCS. There is no other society in Canada with such a wealth of professional experience, opportunities and knowledge. Approaching this with a broad mind, and perhaps stepping into an unfamiliar arena, will open so many new doors of opportunity that will shape the trajectory of their careers. It also builds a sense of quiet confidence and leadership that are invaluable in all arenas of life. Speaking from experience, involvement provides a sense of gratitude for what can be accomplished by collaborating on various committees, subcommittees, and groups, all moving towards one common goal.

One lesson that was paramount in my life was learning to live in alignment with my own values and moral compass, rather than seeking the approval or external validation of others around me. That meant learning to walk away from situations that were no longer serving that level of integrity and alignment. I think the nature of the hierarchical medical system breeds us to be “people pleasers”, as we ascend the ranks of our careers. In recent years, through a lot of self-reflection and asking myself the hard questions about what truly brings me internal satisfaction and fulfilment, I have inevitably made incremental shifts in my mindset, resulting in an exponential growth in self-assuredness, confidence, boldness and true happiness, in all aspects of my life.

To connect with Dr. Mangeet Chahal, follow the Chahal Cardiovascular Centre on LinkedIn.

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