Story by: David Steen Martin on May 4, 2020
Pediatric cardiologist Lisa R. Klein, M.D., travels every week to outreach clinics, bringing almost 30 years of experience to rural Kentucky.
“I love interacting with the patients and their parents, teaching them about their heart issues,” said Dr. Klein of Norton Children’s Heart Institute, affiliated with UofL School of Medicine.
In addition to teaching families about heart issues, Dr. Klein teaches medical students. She is an associate professor of pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Cardiology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine.
As part of the team at Norton Children’s Heart Institute Dr. Klein travels to eight locations across Kentucky: Ashland, Bowling Green, Campbellsville, Elizabethtown, Madisonville, Murray, Owensboro and Paducah. She travels with a team that includes doctors, echocardiogram technicians, electrocardiogram (EKG) technicians and other support staff.
“Every week, we have different locations. We’re able to bring more advanced medicine to rural areas. It prevents patients and their families from having to travel to the city,” Dr. Klein said “The clinics also help families who don’t have the means to get to the city.”
According to Dr. Klein, being a mother — of five grown children, three biological and two stepchildren — informs how she communicates with families.
“In complex situations, I can explain things in a way families can understand and give them some reassurance about the outcome: We have a fantastic team working together at Norton Children’s Hospital,” Dr. Klein said. “Whether the issue requires surgery or cardiac catheterization or noninvasive medical management, we have the means to help their child.”
Dr. Klein attended Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, and medical school at State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. She fell in love with pediatric cardiology in her final year of medical school.
“I did a fourth-year elective in pediatric cardiology. The day I walked into the rotation, it just felt like I was home,” she said. “I loved the complexity of it and enjoyed that it could be in-patient as well as outpatient. It could be high intensity in the ICU [intensive care unit] as well as regular patients on the ward.”
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Dr. Klein did a pediatrics internship at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana, before pediatrics and pediatric cardiology residencies at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
In addition to treating patients, Dr. Klein also has been involved in research throughout her career, co-authoring papers on a wide range of topics, including one published in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine.
Even when she is not traveling to outreach clinics, Dr. Klein does not sit still for long.
Originally from Long Island, New York, Dr. Klein and her husband, attorney Robert Klein, are die-hard University of Louisville football and basketball fans and enjoy going to the games. Dr. Klein exercises with yoga, weight training and Pilates. She likes participating in musical theater and plays the harp and piano. She also enjoys traveling. During a trip to Israel, she was hiking in a park when she saw ancient mosaics embedded in the ground. She was enthralled.
When she returned to Louisville, Dr. Klein took lessons in how to make her own mosaics, at Mellwood Art and Entertainment Center, learning how to create images using tiles. She has since become a sought-after mosaic artist. One of her works hangs in the lobby of the Jewish Community Center of Louisville, commemorating Israel’s 70th birthday.
For all the places her life has taken her, Dr. Klein has never lost her love for medicine.
“I feel very grateful I get to practice pediatric cardiology with this amazing team,” she said.