Congratulations Dr. Assem Farhat for being recognized in the Wichita Business Journal’s Excellence in Health Care-Administration category.
Your commitment to caring for patients and dedication to making Heartland Cardiology successful is greatly appreciated.
Why/How did you choose a career in health care?
As a son of a Math professor and a Science teacher, I grew up enshrined in academia, developed great admiration and a deep interest in Math and Science. As I climbed the scholarship ladder, I realized that logical thinking can be coupled with humanistic values and intellectual challenges in the field of medicine. The journey had just begun!
What is your greatest professional achievement?
Co-founding Heartland Cardiology in 1994 in Wichita then expending it as its president to one of the largest Cardiovascular groups in the region, from 30 some employees in 2010 to over 150 in 2020 with 4 full-time clinics, ambulatory surgery center, and 11 outreach facilities throughout Kansas.
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?
Dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic as a physician and the group president. We had to learn how to navigate new and unknown waters and innovate solutions to ever-developing situations while maintaining the highest standards in medical care and guarding our employee’s and patients’ safety.
What was the best career decision you ever made?
Who was your most important mentor?
The late Cardiology professor at Ohio State University; Dr. Charles Wooley.
What is the best advice they gave you?
Focus on your patient, other issues will follow.
What is the best advice you would give to someone considering a career in health care?
Regardless of the distractions (healthcare governance, logistics, bureaucracy, etc…), healthcare will always remain one of the most fulfilling professions and missions of life.
Are you involved in the community? If so, how?
I volunteer in teaching residents at KU med. My wife (Eileen) and I volunteer welcoming and assisting refugees coming to Wichita from around the world through non-profit organizations.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Bicycling. Hiking. Sports. Reading. Chess. Family trips (before COVID).
How did the pandemic impact your job?
Professionally, we were challenged medically and administratively.
First, following the guidelines of official local and national healthcare authorities, we established systems to deal with individual safety: For employees: PPEs, distancing, screening, contact tracing, and aggressive measures to keep suspected sick individuals at home. For patients: optional Tele-medicine, screening, face protection (masks), distancing, and avoiding crowding/ lines have helped to prevent any outbreaks so far.
Second, we started focusing on providing important cardiology care to our patients. Cardiac disease remains more lethal than COVID-19.
Unfortunately, the recent numbers of COVID-19 positive patients are likely to push our healthcare system to new horizons. The challenge in the upcoming weeks cannot be under-estimated.