Share / Discuss

Spotlight on … Donald Lloyd-Jones ’86

Donald Lloyd-Jones ’86, a cardiologist and the chair of preventive medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, was named the American Heart Association’s national Physician of the Year.

What does this honor mean to you?

I am so humbled and honored to have received this recognition from the AHA. This award is given to the physician volunteer who has had the greatest impact on AHA's mission. For me, being a physician is truly a gift. I get to interact one-on-one with my patients and help them through difficult decisions and life-threatening illnesses. Being there with them through sad, routine, and joyful times is such a blessing. And while the physician role is profoundly rewarding, my role as an AHA volunteer and AHA-funded researcher allows me, through this amazing organization, to have an impact far beyond what I can do one patient at a time. My roles with AHA have allowed me the opportunity to shape public health and public policy, lead clinical practice guidelines, work in the community, and, critically, to redefine AHA's mission form one of merely trying to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease to one of promoting cardiovascular health in all Americans. This is also an amazing blessing. 

How has Swarthmore shaped your career—and your life?

Swarthmore, more than any other place, really taught me the values of curiosity and of listening to everyone, and appreciating their unique perspectives. As a physician, you don't necessarily get to choose who walks through the door next, but each patient brings his or her own unique life experiences. Being curious and meeting people where they are is so helpful in making sure that people feel better in every sense after they see the doctor. 

What advice would you give current Swarthmoreans hoping to follow in your path?

Medicine and health care have real challenges ahead, but medicine is still the most rewarding profession I can possibly imagine. Our ability to diagnose and treat illness and to promote health advance incredibly each year. But our respect for technology still needs to be tempered by common sense and perspective on the larger picture of health care in this country. Our appropriate emphasis on patients first has to be balanced with the critical issues of health equity, access to care, and "health in all policies." I think physicians these days need to be excellent clinicians and to have a real understanding of the power of public health and advocacy on behalf of our patients and communities.