Contributions to STEMM
Dr. Brickner is a “cardiologist specializing in the care of adults with congenital heart disease (ACHD) – which is my passion,” she said. She is the “Medical Director of our ACHD Program, which is a collaboration between UT Southwestern and Children's Medical Center.” In addition to this role, she serves as “an echocardiographer and a teacher. I teach medical students, residents, fellows, and patients. I love teaching trainees about cardiology in general and particularly enjoy teaching trainees and other physicians about ACHD. The ACHD population requires expert care, and through our program, we are working to expand access to care for this vulnerable population.”
As a child, “I always loved biology and medical shows on TV, and always wanted to be a doctor,” Dr. Brickner said.
“Medical school was a perfect fit. Although my medical interests have evolved over time, medicine always excites me.”
Early in her career, Dr. Brickner “became interested in adults with congenital heart disease when I was reading echocardiograms on patients with complex anatomy. I started attending echo courses about congenital heart disease and found the clinical histories that were presented to be fascinating. My clinic became focused on congenital heart disease, and the formal ACHD program grew from there,” she said.
Her focus on ACHD, however, did not come without a few detractors. “I was told several times that this could be a ‘hobby,’ but not a career. I continued to collaborate with pediatric cardiologists and congenital heart surgeons to grow my clinic. ACHD is now a recognized subspecialty of cardiology, and our ACHD program was officially recognized as a comprehensive ACHD care center in 2017,” Dr. Brickner said.
The UT Southwestern Difference
Dr. Brickner’s “passion is caring for adults with congenital heart disease. While congenital heart disease is obviously not new, there is a growing population of patients who have had surgery or other interventions in childhood that allowed them to survive into adulthood. This means that they can have complex anatomy and physiology that can result in a variety of serious complications,” she said.
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“This is a new and expanding field that I find fascinating, and I enjoy figuring out each patient's complex anatomy and their unique medical situation, and managing heart failure, arrhythmias, valve disease, contraceptive counseling, and pregnancy management.”