Treat every patient like your mom or dad: That's the philosophy behind the 19-person practice
that J. Jeffrey Marshall, M.D., FSCAI, and his colleagues have built at the Northeast Georgia Heart
Center in a fast-growing suburb of Atlanta. And that's one of the reasons the Northeast Georgia Medical Center has ranked number-one in the state for cardiac care for four years running.
"The bottom line is, we want to do the best for each patient," explains Dr. Marshall, who is the Heart Center's president and the director of the Medical Center's catheterization laboratory. "That has helped create an atmosphere not just within the practice but within the hospital that makes patients feel people really do care."
From Academic to Clinical Medicine
After earning his medical degree from the University of Florida in 1982, Dr. Marshall completed a residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in cardiology and angioplasty at the Medical College of Virginia in Richmond. Dr. Marshall then spent a decade at Emory University, directing the catheterization lab at the university's Emory Crawford Long Hospital. But while Dr. Marshall enjoyed academic medicine, he couldn't resist the chance to try something new.
In 2002, he and three other colleagues left Emory to join the Northeast Georgia Heart Center. "The idea of building something new was intriguing," he says. "It was just a great opportunity."
Today Dr. Marshall spends his days seeing patients, performing angioplasty procedures in his hospital's state-of-the-art catheterization labs, and tackling administrative duties. The group is also very involved in research, with about 20 active trials and four full-time research nurses.
Dr. Marshall doesn't necessarily need extensive equipment to help people, however. Once or twice a year, he and a radiologist friend journey to Haiti to provide care to some of the poorest people in the world.
"We travel to different clinics and hospitals, where we perform echocardiography and provide cardiovascular care and consults for patients, mostly patients with AIDS," says Dr. Marshall. Sponsored by the Catholic Church of St. Monica in Atlanta, the project also provides general medical care, dental care, food, and scholarships so children can attend school. "Once you do it, you're thankful for everything you have-just having clothes," says Dr. Marshall. "You don't realize how poor poor really is."
Teaching the Public About Interventional Cardiology
Dr. Marshall is also intent on making sure patients, their families, and their physicians know what the specialty of interventional cardiology is and how it can help them. As a SCAI volunteer, Dr. Marshall helped to build and launch the Seconds-Count website in 2007.
"One of the tenets of SCAI is education - not just of our members but of other physicians and patients," explains Dr. Marshall. "That is the purpose of Seconds-Count.org - to provide objective, unbiased information to patients and their family members who are dealing with cardiovascular disease in any of its many forms."
At SCAI's 2008 annual meeting, Dr. Marshall received the Society's highest honor; he was awarded F. Mason Sones Jr. Distinguished Service Award for his tireless efforts to help the public and the media to understand the role of interventional cardiology in quality patient care.
"Like so many other facets of medicine, interventional cardiology has become so complex it's really difficult for even non-interventional cardiologists to keep up," he says. "One of our prime goals is to make sure we let the public and other doctors understand what it is we do, when they should refer someone, and so on."
While Dr. Marshall has overall editorial oversight of this website, he says, a fantastic editorial board of thought-leaders in just about every aspect of interventional cardiology manage the site's content.
Always, an Eye on Sports
When he's not working, Dr. Marshall likes to relax at home in Atlanta with his wife, Julie, and their
dog. "Julie put me through medical school," he says, describing her career as a graphics artist. "We met in high school and have been married 30 years." Dr. Marshall is also an enthusiastic sports fan, especially when it comes to his four grown children. "All of my kids have been involved in athletics in one way or another," says Dr. Marshall. One son is a world-class swimmer. Another plays football at Colgate University, while still another plays lacrosse for the University of Florida. His daughter was an associate producer at ESPN and continues to freelance for the network.
Does he enjoy sports even when his kids aren't involved? "I'm a University of Florida grad," Dr.
Marshall admits. "You can't be a Gator and not be a sports fan!"