MadameNoire Featured Video

For those living with heart failure, having the support of a quality cardiologist and care team is invaluable to one’s health and peace of mind.

Woman gestures while catching up with her friend

Source: SDI Productions / Getty

Most heart failure patients will work with a collaborative care team that includes doctors, nurses, dietitians, mental health professionals and more. Your care team is there to help you understand your diagnosis, manage your condition, and adjust to heart-healthy lifestyle changes.

Your cardiologist and care team play a key role in improving your health and well-being. According to a patient survey conducted by, a good cardiologist and care team will make you feel heard and take the time to help you understand your condition.

What Makes a Great Care Team?

A quality cardiologist and care team will possess certain fundamental attributes across the board. Here’s what patients consider to be excellent qualities of a cardiologist and care team based on survey responses from

1. Attentive and listens

Open communication is a must in any doctor-patient relationship. This may include sharing your fears or changes in your condition that arise. You should feel comfortable asking questions and feel heard.

2. Takes time to explain the details

A great care team will take the time to thoroughly explain your treatment plan and/or treatment options. By having a care team to address your questions and concerns, you will be better equipped to make informed decisions.

3. Straightforward and honest

Working with healthcare professionals who can relay information to you in an upfront and honest manner is best, according to survey respondents. The sooner you understand your condition, the sooner you can take steps toward improving your health.

4. Motivates your progress

A great team will care about you as a person. Rather than relying on shame or guilt, they will empower and motivate you to be proactive about your health with compassion and empathy.

Be Your Own Advocate

It may not be easy to find a great care team that is the right fit for you. Some of the survey respondents reported feeling judged or dismissed by their doctors. Don’t give up! Seek a second opinion if you can.

We Need More Black Cardiologists

It’s important to note that clear disparities exist for Black heart failure patients. While Black Americans bear a disproportionate burden of heart disease compared to white patients, fewer than 3 percent of cardiologists in the United States are Black.

This is significant. One study conducted in Oakland, California and titled Does Diversity Matter for Health? concluded that increased access to Black doctors could reduce the gap in cardiovascular deaths between Black men and their white counterparts by 19 percent. The study participants “brought up more issues and were more likely to seek advice from Black doctors,” the authors wrote.

Dr. Sharon Andrade-Bucknor, a cardiologist in Miami, Florida, addressed the shortage of Black cardiologists. “Indeed, research indicates many Black patients prefer to seek treatment from Black doctors, which may result in more comprehensive care that ultimately can lead to a better outcome,” she wrote in a piece for U.S. News. “Due to historical medical maltreatment … as well as current racism and bias in the medical system, there is relatively widespread mistrust of that system among African Americans.”

“To help address the disparity in cardiovascular outcomes in African Americans compared with their white counterparts, we need more Black cardiologists,” Dr. Andrade-Bucknor concluded.

Diversifying Medical Schools

There are glimmers of progress. American medical schools are welcoming increasingly diverse student populations. In 2021, the number of Black first-year medical students in the U.S. increased by 21%, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC).

And two new HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) medical schools are in the works for the first time in nearly half a century, at Morgan State University in Maryland and Xavier University in Louisiana. According to the AAMC, HBCUs produced 9.8 percent of Black medical school graduates in 2019, while HBCUs account for just 2.3 percent of the total number of U.S. medical schools.

Dr. Michelle Albert, a Black cardiologist, presides as the current president of the American Heart Association. Albert’s work is defined by her commitment to health equity and shedding light on the needs of ‘diverse racial and ethnic populations’ historically underrepresented in the medical space.

Additionally, the Association of Black Cardiologists (ABC) provides a platform to address the disproportionate impact of cardiovascular disease on Black Americans. Founded in 1974 by Dr. Richard Allen Williams and 17 other medical professionals, the ABC has been working to eliminate “the disparities related to cardiovascular disease in all people of color.”

Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN