Mount Sinai
Dr. Valentin Fuster, The Mount Sinai Medical Center

Dr. Valentin Fuster

Promoting Executive Health

Editors’ Note

Dr. Valentin Fuster’s prior posts include past President of the American Heart Association and of the World Heart Federation. Twenty-six distinguished universities throughout the world have granted him Honorary Doctorate degrees. Fuster has published more than 800 PubMed articles and he has become the Lead Editor of two major textbooks on cardiology. He has been appointed Editor-in-Chief of the Nature journal and he is the Editor of the new “AHA Guidelines and Scientific Statements Handbook.” Fuster is the only cardiologist to receive the two highest gold medal awards and all four major research awards from the four major cardiovascular organizations. After receiving his medical degree from Barcelona University and completing an internship at Hospital Clinic in Barcelona, Fuster spent several years at the Mayo Clinic, first as a resident and later as Professor of Medicine and Consultant in Cardiology. In 1981, he came to Mount Sinai School of Medicine as Head of Cardiology. From 1991 to 1994, he was Mallinckrodt Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Chief of Cardiology at Massachusetts General Hospital. He returned to Mount Sinai in 1994 as Director of the Zena and Michael A. Wiener Cardiovascular Institute, and most recently, he has been named the Director of Mount Sinai Heart.

Why was the Executive Health Program at Mount Sinai formed?

I spent 11 years at the Mayo Clinic, which is where I learned how effective one can be by having a general check-up over a short period of time. Having seen the effectiveness of having a check-up being completed as I saw at the Mayo Clinic and the speed by which it was done by a number of specialists, I thought it should be done in New York.

Have you been happy with the level of expertise and talent you have brought in?

There are many check-up programs around the country run by good people, but there are few programs that have a team like ours that, to start with, have three professors involved.

This is not a program where you deal with a youngster with limited experience; a number of us involved are senior in the field of medicine.

Many today suggest that the doctor/patient relationship is being lost. Is there merit to that and does it concern you?

Yes, and it’s a problem that affects the young generations because there isn’t enough time in training to dominate technology and, as a result, the doctor/patient relationship suffers.

In a program like this, you see a doctor two or three times during the day, but there is technology involved. A program like this overcomes in part the issue because there is a very balanced relationship between a doctor and an individual in terms of health and technology.

Is there enough discussion and awareness of the importance of preventative medicine?

There is not. I carry a flag of promoting health. In general, we do not accept that we are vulnerable. The concept of prevention is interesting to talk about, but in the daily life of an individual, it’s not what prevails.

It’s not an easy thing to push forward in a culture in which people accept the way they are and don’t see the reality of the importance of their health.