Meet the Doctor: Raphael Bonita, MD
Raphael Bonita, MD, is an advanced heart failure cardiologist and Director of the Cardio-Oncology Program at Einstein Healthcare Network. He sees patients at the Einstein Cardiology offices on Township Line Road in Elkins Park and on Tabor Road in Philadelphia.
Dr. Bonita is board certified in advanced heart failure and transplant cardiology, cardiovascular disease, and adult comprehensive echocardiography. He is a Fellow of both the American College of Cardiology and the American College of Physicians.
We spoke recently with Dr. Bonita about his career, his interests, and cardiology at Einstein Healthcare Network.
Q: Why did you decide to become a doctor?
A: Growing up as a child, I observed my dad practice medicine as an internist in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. He inspired me to become a physician and follow in his footsteps. I witnessed firsthand how he dedicated his entire life to medicine and the genuine fulfillment he felt from caring for patients.
Through him, I realized how deeply satisfying a career in medicine could be from establishing strong bonds with patients and from positively affecting their health and overall well-being. The deep satisfaction he gained from healing his patients and the long-lasting relationships he developed with them impacted me as I grew up and inspired me to contemplate a future in the medical profession. He truly loved his patients.
Q: Can you also tell us a little bit more about your educational background?
A: I attended Franklin and Marshall college for my undergraduate degree, majoring in biology. After that, I completed a Master of Science degree in immunology and microbiology at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Then I attended medical school at Drexel University College of Medicine. I completed my internal medicine residency and fellowships in cardiovascular disease and advanced heart failure and transplant cardiology at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.
Q: Why did you choose your specialty?
A: I chose to specialize in advanced heart failure because I am amazed by cardiac physiology, the mechanisms of heart disease and cardiomyopathy, and how the understanding of these vital topics can be applied to improve the quality of patients’ lives and their longevity.
Becoming an advanced heart failure cardiologist has been my calling. Despite the seriousness of being diagnosed with heart failure, new treatments and advances in this field are occurring every day helping patients live better and longer lives.
Q: What are some of your clinical interests?
A: My main clinical interests are evaluating and treating patients with heart failure and cardiomyopathy. Among other treatments, I determine whether patients are good candidates for advanced heart failure therapies such as heart transplantation and mechanical heart pumps. I also rely on my interpretation and performance of echocardiography in my day-to-day management of structural heart disease. Finally, the field of cardio-oncology is also a major interest of mine, in which I care for patients who are at risk of developing heart damage from chemotherapy and radiation.
Q: What drew you to Einstein?
A: Einstein’s clinical mission of providing high-quality, personalized, compassionate care, guided by state of the art technology and therapies, appeals directly to the core of the kind of medicine I want to provide to my patients. One of the things that makes Einstein special is the collegial environment and collaboration we have in our division and across the medical specialities in the network.
Q: What motivates you as an advanced heart failure cardiologist?
A: I think the most rewarding aspect of my profession is helping a patient recover from heart failure, either with medical therapy alone, with device therapy, or after implantation of a mechanical heart pump. I cherish seeing our patients be able to enjoy life again, return to work and spend time with their families.
Q: Why should people choose Einstein for cardiology?
A: Patients should choose Einstein because we provide high-quality care that is compassionate and personalized in a multidisciplinary approach guided by state-of-the-art technologies and therapies.
Q: What are your interests outside of work?
A: I cherish spending time with my family, vacationing at the beach, gardening, and going for long runs on the weekends. I am also an avid foodie and I love music, in particular anything from Coldplay.
Q: Who was an early role model for you?
A: Aside from my dad, while in training and earlier in my career, my previous partners Dr. Paul Mather and Dr. Sharon Rubin, heart failure cardiologists, were major role models for me. I try to emulate them in my daily clinical work because they showed me how to connect with patients personally and the importance of being detail oriented in my day-to-day practice of medicine.
Q: What is your favorite vacation spot?
A: I love vacationing with my family at the Jersey shore and Walt Disney World. These are special places for all of us, full of adventure and great moments together.
Q: What is your favorite movie?
A: I recently watched this incredible documentary called My Octopus Teacher. It’s a beautiful movie about a filmmaker and his observations of an octopus he finds while snorkeling in South Africa. The movie is about the personal relationship he develops with this incredible creature. I highly recommend it.