The Balancing Act:
Cardiologist and Mom
Dr. Sara Kalantari is an assistant professor of medicine in the Section of Cardiology specializing in advanced heart failure, cardiac transplantation, and mechanical circulatory support. She is an expert in exercise physiology and is the Director of the Cardiopulmonary Exercise Lab. She founded the Dyspnea Clinic to establish the diagnosis and best treatment course for multifactorial or unexplained dyspnea. She has a strong passion for education and serves as the cardiology section coordinator for the Vignettes in Physiology medical school course as well as the Course Director for the annual Courage and Innovation Symposium for advanced heart failure.
I have two children (ages 3 and 5). My husband is a lawyer and organizing our work schedules with childcare can be challenging. We are fortunate to have a great social support system with both a part-time nanny as well as my mother who lives nearby. As a nurse practitioner, my mother has been a great role model for how to be successful at work while also prioritizing family and personal well-being. She helps with school drop-offs and pick-ups as well as after school and weekend care when I’m on call. Every day I take time for myself to exercise which for me provides both physical and mental restoration. I try to be present and in the moment during times with my family. When work and family time overlap, I’m proud to have my children witness their mother be engaged and passionate about her work.
Take time for yourself
As a physician and a mother, I focus a lot on the needs of others. I think it’s important to take time for yourself engaging in an activity that provides you with enjoyment and personal satisfaction.
Focus on gratitude
Working in advanced heart failure comes with a lot of time spent discussing and focusing on palliative care. With this I am reminded of how much I have to be grateful for and to try to be present in the moment. Value your social support. Appreciate the people you have in your life who support you.
Be comfortable saying no
In both your personal and professional life, you need to be comfortable saying “no” if the commitment you are being asked to do does not align with your own goals.