ANREW R. KOLODZIEJ, MD
UK HealthCare - Gill Heart &
Andrew R. Kolodziej, MD '09
ASST. PROF. OF MEDICINE, ADVANCED HEART FAILURE/TRANSPLANT CARDIOLOGY AND PULMONARY HYPERTENSION
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CHOOSE A CAREER IN MEDICINE?
I always had a passion for medicine. I initially started my career in healthcare as an EMT. Around that time, my recently retired father visited me from Poland. A few days prior to his return he developed bilateral shoulder pain which he attributed to musculoskeletal problems. He refused to be seen by a medical professional. Although I worried it was something more serious, it was difficult to convince him otherwise. After several days of suffering, he ultimately traveled back to Poland where he passed away the very next day. In retrospect, it was obvious that his symptoms have reflected new onset heart failure due to myocardial infarction. Lack of understanding of the symptoms and apprehension towards medical professionals contributed to his denial and ultimately his premature death. My subsequent career as a Paramedic allowed me to focus on managing complex medical problems and medical school was the next "natural" step in my career.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE ROSS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE FOR YOUR MEDICAL EDUCATION?
Having been in the medical field prior to enrolling in medical school, I met many Ross University graduates. Many were very influential in my decision process. Because of the track record in terms of personal success stories of Ross University graduates, it only seemed appropriate that choosing Ross University School of medicine would allow me to attain my dreams.
TELL US ABOUT A FACULTY MEMBER WITH WHOM YOU CONNECTED?
While in Dominica, I was a supervisor for the campus EMS and was able to work closely with Dr. Yasmine Allison-Burnett. This was a great opportunity because she was not only the Medical Director of the on-campus clinic but she was also my mentor. She became an integral part of my medical education.
DESCRIBE THE IMPACT OF YOUR WORK.
As a heart failure/transplant cardiologist, I am the last resort for the majority of my patients, who typically come to me with all other options exhausted. In collaboration with the University of Kentucky, I work alongside heart failure colleagues, as well as, the cardiothoracic surgeons. Together, we are able to give patients a second chance.
HOW HAS RUSM HELPED YOU TRANSFORM YOUR PASSION INTO PURPOSE?
As a superb medical school with a world-class faculty and reputation, RUSM has given me the opportunity to pursue my dreams of attaining a cardiology degree. Because of the affiliations and the rotation opportunities, I was able to explore my interests and confirm which part of medicine was important to me. RUSM's reputation and continuous motivation from the faculty gave all the momentum I needed, and allowed me to get where I am today. The university provided me with the environment and tools for success.
IN WHAT DIRECTION TO YOU ENVISION RUSM MOVING OVER THE NEXT 40 YEARS?
The rate at which RUSM has been growing, including the technological advances in terms of preclinical experience and education, as well as, the affiliations the University has been able to secure allows its reputation to continue to grow. I see the University continuing to grow at the same rate and hopefully acquire more affiliations, increasing the variety of rotation opportunities.