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Practice adds cardiologists

Many people think of heart disease as a male affliction, but according to the American Heart Association, more than half of those affected are women — whose symptoms may vary greatly from their male counterparts and often are misunderstood.

Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of women — accounting for more deaths than from all types of cancer combined, including breast cancer.

Chesapeake & Washington Heart Care now offers two highly qualified female cardiologists, the first in Southern Maryland, according to a company news release.

They and a male colleague are new members of a team of doctors devoted to heart patients in Southern Maryland. Headed by Dr. Terence Bertele, Chesapeake & Washington Heart Care has been caring for the people of Southern Maryland since 1984, with offices in Waldorf and Leonardtown.

A board-certified cardiologist for nearly 30 years, Bertele trained in medicine at Georgetown and George Washington University Hospitals. He also served as the chief of medicine at St. Mary’s Hospital.

“I am pleased to welcome three highly qualified cardiologists to Chesapeake & Washington Heart Care and am especially excited to offer all our patients the option of being cared for by a female physician,” Bertele said in the release. “Nearly 40 percent of our patients are women, and we anticipate that many will be more comfortable being treated by a doctor of the same gender.”

“Chesapeake and Washington Heart Care is Southern Maryland’s premiere cardiology practice,” said Jeff Silberschlag, professor and conductor of the River Concert Series at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

Silberschlag has been a patient there for more than 20 years.

“Dr. Bertele’s practice combines big-city technology with small-town warmth and a genuine concern for their patients,” Silberschlag adds, noting that his wife, also a patient, was thrilled to learn that the practice had added female cardiologists to the practice.

Dr. Thea Calkins is a graduate of the Stanford University School of Medicine. She served as a staff cardiologist at the VA Hospital in Manchester, N.H., and at Mercy Medical Center and Sinai Hospital in Baltimore.

“My emphasis has always been on patient care,” Calkins said in the release. Equally at ease caring for men and women, she said she hopes the addition of two females doctors will bring a new level of comfort for women patients.

“There is a misconception that heart disease belongs to men,” Calkins said in the release. “Managing a woman’s medical problems requires a different interaction than with a male patient, and some women prefer to see a female doctor. Hopefully by making that option more accessible, women will take a proactive approach to seeking advice and attention for their cardiac health.”

Dr. Yolanda Hendley graduated from the University of Florida College of Medicine and Emory University and has trained at both Emory and Johns Hopkins. She has a special interest in the impact of gender and racial disparities on diagnosis and recovery.

Hendley hopes to bring to the practice a new level of comfort for both female and male patients. She regards education as paramount to ensuring that patients are empowered to achieve the best possible cardiac health given their medical and personal circumstances.

Dr. Thomas Haywood is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Medicine and holds board certification in nuclear cardiology, cardiology and internal medicine. He most recently was the staff cardiologist at Hanover Hospital in Hanover, Pa.

Haywood said he looks forward to making his home in Southern Maryland.

“I am just more comfortable in a small town setting,” he said in the release.