|Shalizeh Shokooh, MD, FACC|
President of AHA board of directors - OC Chapter
Chief of Cardiology- St. Joseph hospital
Co-medical director of Women’s Heart Center, St. Joseph hospital
February is American Heart Month. To celebrate this month, we would like to celebrate the people who make this month special. We want to celebrate the people who have dedicated their lives to increasing awareness through advocacy and increasing knowledge through research. One such incredible person is Board Certified Cardiologist in private practice at the Orange County Heart Institute and Research Center, Dr. Shalizeh Shokooh.
From an early age, Dr. Shalizeh Shokooh seemed to know exactly where she wanted her career to take her. As she browsed through her school’s job fair in the third grade, she found herself caught up in the field of medicine. She was taken by the incredible capabilities of a physician, both in their knowledge and their capacity to heal. This passion was fueled by stories of her late grandfather, a physician who traveled through many cities in Iran practicing medicine. Dr. Shokooh could see herself following in his footsteps comfortably.
The war between Iran and Iraq eventually forced Dr. Shokooh and her family out of Tehran, to Abadan. Her family was later forced to move to London, and eventually California in 1986, where Dr. Shokooh would finally get the opportunity to pursue her goal with the stability of her family by her side.
In California, Dr. Shookooh’s hard work lead her to a quality education at the University of California, Irvine as an undergraduate and as a medical student. She then continued her internal medicine training at the University of California, San Diego and the University of California, Irvine.
Dr. Shokooh then pursued cardiology training at Harbor- UCLA Medical Center in California, where she also lectured about women and heart disease and was involved in Electron Beam Tomography and Angiography (EBCT) research. In May, 2002, Dr. Shokooh’s research published an influential paper titled: Electron Beam Tomography and Angiography: Sex differences. At the time that Dr. Shokooh published said paper, the medical community did not emphasize the impact of heart disease in women, though the impact on women was very heavy: killing more women all cancers combined. Dr. Shokooh was happy to be the one to bring this issue to light and foster awareness.
After working in private practice for some time, in 2003 Dr. Shokooh was invited to be the co-medical director at St. Joseph Hospital’s Women’s Heart Center. This Women’s Heart center was the first of it’s kind dedicated to the women in Orange County. Not long after Dr. Shokooh became involved with the St. Joseph’s Women’s Heart Center, she and her team were invited to the White House for an event hosted by First Lady, Mrs. Laura Bush, to kick off American Heart Month. Today, Dr. Shokooh is still very actively involved in the center as co-director. Through her involvement at the Women’s Heart Center, Dr. Shokooh also became an active member of the American Heart Association (AHA OC Chapter).
Being involved with AHA has enhanced Dr. Shokooh’s interest in preventing heart disease in women. Dr. Shokooh has been the spokesperson and member of their board of directors for AHA OC chapter for 8 years. She is now the board president of the American Heart Association’s Orange County division. Dr. Shokooh has also been very involved in the Go Red for Women campaign and was the recipient of the AHA Outstanding Medical Honoree award in February 2007.
In 2007, Dr. Shokooh co authored Women and Heart Disease-An Epidemic, which thoroughly explains heart disease, the symptoms, and how to take preventative action.
During this American Heart Month Jaam-va-Jaan magazine is pleased to recognize Dr. Shalizeh Shookoh as a prominent figure in the Iranian community.