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Women Who Lead
Joyce W. Wald, DO ’92, FACC

Associate Medical Director, Mechanical Circulatory Support Program and Director, Practice Development, Penn Medicine; Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Headshot photograph of Joyce W. Wald, DO ’92, FACC“Here’s my overarching message: No matter what you’re told, you can do whatever you want. At every point in my career, I was told I could never be a physician. I’m not a great test-taker. When I was in college, I heard, ‘Don’t bother applying to medical school; if you get in, you won’t make it through.’ Later, during medical residency it was, ‘Don’t apply for a fellowship in cardiology; it’s too competitive.’ ... My twin sister [Deborah Sundlof, DO ’92, a cardiologist with Lehigh Valley Health Network] and I went through all this together. Our reaction to the naysayers was, ‘Yeah, we’re not going to listen.’ ... As an advanced heart failure specialist at the University of Pennsylvania, I have the privilege of taking care of patients with end-stage heart failure, many of whom we have recovered with medical/device therapy, heart transplant or mechanical hearts. Each day at work is different, and each day it is an honor that patients and their families entrust my team with their care. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. ... My mentors along this journey have been my mom, Pensri Wanglee [MD], a retired pediatrician; Joe Kenney [DO, former assistant professor of cardiology, PCOM]; Jim Burke [MD], a cardiologist at Temple University, René J. Alvarez, Jr. [MD], a cardiologist with Jefferson Health – Thomas Jefferson University, and Michael Acker [MD], chief of Cardiovascular Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania who totally believed in me during the toughest parts of my career. ... If you can find a person who can tell you that you can’t do something, you can alternatively find a mentor who will help you achieve your goals. Always believe in yourself and reach for the stars no matter what.”