Connecting to the heart of the community

Connecting to the heart of the community

Meet cardiologist, community builder, and Black Alumni Network member Dr. Sanul Corrielus ’98M (MD)

Dr. Sanul Corrielus ’98M (MD)Share a bit about yourself!

Growing up as the youngest in a family of 9 siblings with limited resources, survivor instincts came easily to me. In retrospect, it looks like I was been trained for war except that I did not know it would be a war against heart disease. . When I was three years old, my father took a job in the U.S. that would allow him to better provide for his family. Throughout my childhood, I spoke with my father strictly by phone and dreamed of reuniting with him in the U.S. someday. Until then, I worked hard and persevered in school.

At 17, I moved to Brooklyn; it was a dream come true to be reunited with my father. I was elated. I completed my high school and enrolled at Brooklyn College. That’s when my dream fell apart. I watched heart disease consume my father and I vividly recall how little he knew about his condition. It was as though he was fighting in a war without any basic understanding of how to defend himself. At night, he would sleep in a chair. His legs were so swollen, and he could not breathe lying down due to congestive heart failure. My father died within the first year of our reunion. Losing my father to heart disease inspired me to become a cardiologist. My passion is to empower people with the knowledge and tools to take care of their health and safeguard their hearts against heart disease.

Rochester prepared me to practice medicine in a way that’s fulfilling. The medical school founded the biopsychosocial approach and taught us, as medical students, that our relationships with our patients—our fellow community members and neighbors—are paramount. It underscored the importance of getting to know our patients and understanding how they live and what’s important to them.

Today, I am a cardiologist, best-selling author, and CEO of Corrielus Cardiology in Philadelphia which has been delivering cardiac care to the community for the past decade. I focus on three key areas in the community: outreach, empowerment through education, and connecting people to culturally competent care. I’m a board-certified cardiologist by training, but I see myself more as a “heartist, ” meaning I strive to truly connect to the heart of the community so they can be empowered, take better care of themselves, and lead more fulfilled lives.

When did you get first get involved as an alumni volunteer? What role(s)?

I started to get involved as an alumni volunteer about four years ago when I served as a regional program committee leader with the University’s Black Alumni Network. I have also been involved in many regional events and participated in the Virtual Book Club.

What inspired you to get connected and get active, and continue to stay involved?

I really feel blessed and find a great deal of joy and satisfaction in the work that I do every day in the lives of my patients. When I reflect on how I got to be where I am with all the success that I have been able to achieve in my career, it all goes back to my years and training at the University of Rochester. The school has made such an indelible mark on who I am today, I feel a sense of responsibility to give back and contribute to enriching the experience for those going through the process now and the many to come.

My book, Healing the Spartan, provides a breakthrough plan for heart health and longevity. In it, I delve into how we all have a gift, a mission, and a purpose in life. Often, we put all we have into achieving our goals and dreams, but often we do so the detriment of our health. To me, Spartans are people who put others before themselves, and focus on the betterment of humanity. The book explores the importance of mind, body, and spirit balance to achieve our best, healthiest selves while serving others. My passion for educating and uplifting others is truly what is fueling my involvement in our alumni community which will hopefully translate to happier, healthier, and longer lives for all.

What advice do you have for fellow alumni and friends who may be interested in taking a more active role in our alumni and friends community?

My advice to my fellow alumni who may be interested in taking a more active role in our alumni community is to “just do it”. In the process of getting involved, I would encourage you to start with a gratitude journal. Start your day with a list of the things you are grateful for. Do that daily and it will change your life. The joy, satisfaction, and health benefits you will gain are immeasurable but also will fuel your drive to pour into others.