Meet Vivian Y. Mo, MD, assistant professor of clinical medicine in the division of cardiovascular medicine, Department of Medicine, Keck School of Medicine of USC, and director of the Women’s Cardiovascular Center, Keck Medicine of USC.

Dr. Mo specializes in cardiology and echocardiography. She is also the associate program director of the cardiovascular medicine fellowship program. Here’s what you won’t find on her resume:

She wants to increase awareness of women’s cardiovascular disease.
“Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women in the country. The USC Women’s Cardiovascular Center (WCVC) focuses on the prevention of cardiovascular disease for women. Screening for cardiovascular disease is very important, regardless of the woman’s age, and especially if she has diabetes or hypertension or is obese.

The signs and symptoms of a heart attack are really well known in men, but women do not present with the same symptoms. Most women won’t have chest pain and are more likely to complain of nausea, weakness, or throat fullness. Therefore, they won’t recognize what they are experiencing as a heart attack until it’s too late. At the WCVC, we want to teach women how cardiovascular disease can affect them and find ways to prevent it from happening.”

She believes patient care should be interactive.
“I believe that patient treatment involves not only my expertise and experience but also patient involvement. I spend a large part of my clinic time explaining disease processes and engaging with each patient. More than simply diagnosing and treating patients, I always try to involve them in their care. In general, I feel that patients who do well are those who know and understand their disease process, how we treat it and why we prescribe the medicines we do.”

She traded the Lone Star State for the Golden State.
“I grew up in Texas and did most of my schooling and training there. Even though I loved my time in Texas, I needed something new. I moved to Southern California largely for my family and am fortunate that many of my close friends from different phases of my life live here also.”

Even if she weren’t a physician, she would still be an educator.
“Part of my job is training fellows and residents and, to me, that’s one of the best parts of my job. I would still be in a teacher role even if I weren’t in medicine.”

Her specialty is a combination of disciplines.
“When deciding where to apply for residency, I had a really hard time deciding between medicine and radiology. Ultimately, I chose medicine because I love learning and seeing how all parts of the body work. During my residency, I decided to specialize in cardiology because cardiac physiology was interesting and stimulating to me, and I enjoyed caring for cardiac patients. What’s funny is that although I am a cardiologist and I treat patients, most of the time I am actually a radiologist because I read cardiac studies. In the end, I came full circle combining both disciplines. I love what I do, so I found the right thing.”

She grows her own food.
“It’s pretty amazing when a little seed becomes an awesome cabbage. Having a garden teaches you many things about nature and nurture. When there is so much abundance of harvest, you have to think of different ways to cook zucchini or you realize why people can their tomatoes. It’s so fulfilling to grow your own fruits and vegetables. Tomatoes fresh off the vine taste better than anything I’ve ever had at a restaurant.”

Feb. 1 through Feb. 7 is National Women’s Heart Health Week. Dr. Mo is the director of the USC Women’s Cardiovascular Center at Keck Medicine of USC. For more information, click here.

Click here to view Dr. Mo’s full biography.