“Women respond differently to heart attacks than do men. Women need different treatments, different therapies, and different recovery plans.”
John D. Rockefeller IV
“LEADING INTERVENTIONAL CARDIOLOGIST AND EDUCATOR”
Paulette Wehner always wanted to be a physician. "When I was growing up, the two things I was most drawn to were science and caring for people. And that led me to medicine. No other profession combines the two," she commented.
Born and raised in West Virginia, where she now practices, her parents were early supporters and encouraged her goals. "Both my mother and father were 100-percent supportive of anything to do with education," she said. A biography of medical pioneer Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to graduate from medical school, also inspired her.
As she began her life in medicine, she was attracted to cardiology. "I wanted to take care of very sick patients. I loved critical care and studying the heart." In a career that has seen her rise to become an expert interventional cardiologist and educator, Wehner has led in the battle against cardiovascular disease in West Virginia, and in raising awareness and improving care for women statewide who are afflicted with cardiac disease.
"I got involved in women's cardiac health because there was such a need in our community. I would give a lecture expecting a dozen people and 80 women would show up wanting to know about their hearts.
"When I'm out talking about the heart and women's health," Wehner said, "one of my favorite slides is a magazine article headline from a few years back: 'How to Tell If Your Husband is Having a Heart Attack.' As if the only one to have a heart attack would be a man!" she laughs.
The gender gap in caring for cardiac patients is gradually closing, but women too often are still unaware of their risk. As an advocate for women's heart health, Wehner devotes large amounts of time to educating medical students and raising awareness of the need for better cardiac health for women.
Nominated as a Local Legend by Senator John D. Rockefeller IV (D-WV), and Representatives Nick J. Rahall, (D-WV-3) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV-2), she directs the fellowship program in cardiology at the Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine at Marshall University, where she also serves as the Director of the Adult Cardiovascular Training Program. She also directs the Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory, and is Medical Director of Cardiac Rehabilitation at Cabell Huntington Hospital.
She is widely published with numerous abstracts, papers, book chapters, and presentations, many relating to women and heart disease.
She is the recipient of many awards from Marshall University School of Medicine including Intern of the Year (1989-1990), Best Chief Resident (1991-1992), and Outstanding Clinical Lecturer for the Classes of 1999, 2000, and 2001.
"My biggest professional satisfaction is in teaching and contributing in medical education. And the most rewarding part of my life–that's easy-my family; my husband and two daughters."
Rep. Rahall says of her, "Paulette has set the standard for excellence high, while also being a source of inspiration and resolve for her colleagues, pupils, and patients."
Appointed Director, Adult Cardiovascular Training Program, Marshall University School of Medicine
Appointed Director, Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory; and Medical Director, Cardiac Rehabilitation, Cabell Huntington Hospital, Huntington
Appointed Medical Director, Early Defibrillation Program, St. Mary's Medical Center, Huntington
Appointed Professor of Medicine, Marshall University School of Medicine
Appointed Director, Fellowship Program in Cardiology, Marshall University School of Medicine
Marshall University School of Medicine, Huntington, WV