Meet the Doctor: Alyssa Browning, MD
Alyssa Browning, MD, is a cardiologist who practices at Einstein Cardiology Associates, 1200 W. Tabor Road, Philadelphia, and at 9880 Bustleton Ave., Philadelphia. She is board certified in Cardiovascular Disease and Internal Medicine by the American Board of Internal Medicine. Dr. Browning is also board certified in Echocardiography by the American Society of Echocardiography.
We recently talked with Dr. Browning about her career, her interests and cardiology at Einstein.
Q: Tell us about your educational background.
A: I graduated from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn., with cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa honors. I then worked as a research assistant for biomedical research for three years at Washington University in St. Louis. I graduated from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo. I completed my internal medicine residency at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and did a general cardiology fellowship at University of California-Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, Calif. After that, I did a one-year advanced echocardiography fellowship at University of California, San Francisco.
Q: Why did you decide to become a doctor?
A: I was inspired by my high school biology teacher to study biology and then I got into my undergraduate years and I was interested in some health care fields versus being an ecologist. And then I took an ecology class and we dragged the bottom of the lake and they brought all these bugs up. I like human interaction. I was also grossed out by dragging bugs at the bottom of the lake, so I decided ecology was not for me. I thought I’d rather be a health care worker.
Q: What drew you to cardiology?
A: Before I went to medical school, I was a lab technician for a little while, and one of the labs I worked in was studying cardiac muscle cells, myocytes, which I found really interesting. My dad actually had paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, which is an arrhythmia, when I was in high school, so I was already kind of interested in that.
Q: What drew you to Einstein?
A: Well my husband is an MD, PhD and does clinical trials for pharmaceutical companies, so we were looking for an area to settle in where we both have good career prospects. One of my co-workers at the place I was at in California actually knew one of the cardiologists here, and we were able to find out Einstein was hiring. So it was sort of serendipity and good career prospects for both me and my husband.
Q: What are your clinical interests?
A: Noninvasive cardiology, which includes echocardiography and then all kinds of consultations and seeing patients in clinic. I used to do invasive cardiology, which is where you do cardiac catheterizations, but my main interest is general patient care and then some cardiac imaging.
Q: Why should cardiology patients choose Einstein for their care?
A: I think Einstein has a good group of what we call sub-specialists. So we have rhythm doctors, congestive heart failure doctors, general cardiologists, interventional doctors, and they all work together. We also have a group of excellent cardiac surgeons, so we can offer a comprehensive approach. As opposed to some private practices, we don’t feel the need to compete with each other, or to directly compete with other institutions. So, being an academic institution, we’re able to do what’s best for the patient. We try to do what’s best for the patient regardless of ability to pay.
Q: What are your interests outside work?
A: I have a 2½-year-old son and my husband, so they take up my time outside of work. I also enjoy the outdoors, but we are going to need some parkas to take advantage of that right now.
Q: What is your favorite movie?
A: Out of Africa.
Q: Did you have an early role model?
A: Yes, I had several role models. One was Phil Barger, who was my boss at the research lab where I worked in St. Louis before I became a medical student. He was also a cardiologist and he had a concern for his patients and concern for the integrity of his research to do good work. A lot of the general internal medicine doctors at Vanderbilt who trained me in Nashville were also important to me. They emphasized that you need to be a good internist before you can be a good specialist.
Q: Do you have a favorite vacation spot?
A: I do not have a favorite vacation spot, but lately I would go anywhere with nature or a beach.
Q: What is something people might not know about you?
A: They might not know that I am from a small town – I guess Philadelphians would consider it a small town – in Southeast Missouri where my family goes back several generations. It has about 35,000 people. It’s called Cape Girardeau; it was a town that was seen by Lewis and Clark when they were going west.
Learn more about Heart and Vascular Care at Einstein.