Someone once said, “We need a warrior’s heart that lets us face our lives directly, our pains and limitations, our joys and possibilities.”
That warrior’s heart belongs to Dr. Michelle Albert, President of the American Heart Association. She wants the best for everyone, especially when it comes to cardiac health.
Dr. Michelle Albert is the knowledgeable, caring cardiologist everyone should have, the wise mentor/girlfriend we’d like to have or wish we had, and the new President of the health care organization of which we should all be a member, or better yet, a volunteer as Dr. Albert once was, with American Heart. What better way to begin Black History and American Heart month than to salute the American Heart Association and its historic president, Dr. Michelle Albert.
Dr. Albert appears to have been destined for this role. Her life story demonstrates that a career of medical study and scholarly research, an effort to level the medical playing field, and a love of her people, brought her to this place and time. As a Black woman and the first female President of American Heart, Dr. Albert stepped into this position prepared and focused on providing healthcare for all during a time when bias in healthcare still exists. And she’s not new to this. Her past focus has been and even today, Albert’s current research is focused on the biology of diversity.
Her work proves that Dr. Albert has not forgotten her early years where young Michelle was raised in a working-class family in the South American country of Guyana. Her scholastics allowed her to travel between different worlds which she said gave her “early exposure to disadvantage.” Michelle the student came to recognize “how disadvantage interfaces with health to cause poor health outcomes.”
This powerful view of the world and health inequities stayed with Michelle the teenager as she moved with her family to Brooklyn, NY in the mid-eighties. As she said, her early life experiences taught her to meet people where they are and treat them with respect and understanding. This perspective makes her the compassionate healer and leader she is today.
She’s not all work and no fun. Just as quickly as she appears to give a quick tutorial on the importance of learning CPR, or Cardiac Pulmonary Resuscitation, she can rattle off her favorite songs. A self-proclaimed member of the Beyhive, Dr. Michelle Albert loves her some Beyoncé and her Caribbean homegirl Rihanna, spa time, afternoon tea, and travel with her husband.
When asked what her historic position as AHA President means, the caregiver and mentor shine as she points out, it’s not about being the first Black woman or woman of color, but perhaps it’s the mentor in Dr.Albert, making sure she’s not the last.
Watch “Discussion With Important People: Sybil Wilkes One On One With Dr. Michelle Albert, President of the American Heart Association” Below
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