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AUDIO: Dr. Lishan Aklog - Why Did You Become A Cardiologist?

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Yes, because when you, I mean, I am obviously joking, you know, but the, I think one of the things that struck me and I think people may be have a misconception about Harvard in general, is that it’s actually a very anti-elitist institution. People have this image and views of wealthy prep schools kids all showing up together and what I found striking, what I found most gratifying about my experience, particularly as an undergraduate, was the exact opposite that, as important as the curriculum is and the professors and all the facilities and so forth, what made that experience so rewarding is that it attracts really incredibly bright, energetic kids from literally all over the world.

So my, I lived on the first floor dorm in Harvard Yard as a freshman in 1981, and there were 12 of us, 12 guys on the first floor and it literally read like a United Nation’s there. We had a working class kid from Boston whose father was a train operator. We had upper class Atlanta; we had a brewery worker’s son from Milwaukee. I was the last one to show up and they couldn’t quite figure it out. They had seen my name, Lishan Aklog, they weren’t really sure what it was, but given Harvard’s history of taking in exotic people, the bed was that I was an Eskimo, but they found soon otherwise that I was not.

Todd Hartley:
Dr. Aklog, besides just being born in a family of cardiologists, what is it about the heart that inspires your work?

Dr. Lishan Aklog:
Well, you know, I think it’s really, for me it’s a combination of the heart and the heart system and then surgery, and the intersection of the two, but you know, the heart is really the central organ in the body, and people talk about the brain, but, you know, without the heart pumping blood to the brain, we wouldn’t be alive and I think that was very attractive.

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