Dignity Health Yavapai Regional Medical Center’s 2022 Physician of the Year Treats Patients as Family … and Has Helped Grow the James Family Heart Center’s Programs
Soundos Moualla, MD, FACC, FSCAI – Dignity Health Yavapai Regional Medical Center’s 2022 Physician of the Year – describes the passion and drive she pours into her work as “relentless commitment.”
“My parents and grandmother guided me to always do my best and to treat every patient as family,” said Dr. Moualla, Interventional Cardiologist, James Family Heart Center at Dignity Health YRMC.
Dr. Moualla’s resolve to care for patients with heart disease began as a child. She recalls putting her ear on her father’s chest and listening to the whooshing sound of his heart murmur. Eventually, her father underwent open heart surgery at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. And years later, after earning a medical degree from the National University of Ireland in Dublin, Dr. Moualla returned to Mayo Clinic in Minnesota to pursue an internal medicine residency and an interventional cardiology fellowship. Dr. Moualla also completed her fellowship in cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic.
Joining the James Family Heart Center
Dr. Moualla joined YRMC’s James Family Heart Center in 2017 to oversee the Structural Heart Program, which had started the previous year. Among her first major initiatives: the expansion of the Heart Center’s successful Transcatheter Aortic Valve Replacement (TAVR) Program. Dr. Moualla also helped implement processes to identify patients with valvular heart disease early and expedite the delivery of state-of-the-art treatment by the heart team. All of this, she said, was accomplished with the collaboration of the cardiothoracic surgical team, other cardiologists, primary care physicians, and inpatient hospitalists.
Dr. Moualla also worked with physician colleagues and clinical team members to create a comprehensive Structural Heart Program. In a short time, the team introduced an array of advanced interventional heart and stroke-prevention procedures — transcatheter mitral valve replacement and repair, paravalvular leak closure, left atrial appendage closure, and more.
“We now have a full-blown, comprehensive Structural Heart Program,” Dr. Moualla said. “That would not be possible without teamwork. Physicians, advanced practitioners, nursing and clinical staff, administrative staff, and every member of the Structural Heart team contributed to building the program. This award is truly a recognition of their work and the James Family Heart Center team.”
Passionate About Patient Care
Dr. Moualla’s relentless commitment encompasses the compassion she generously shares with patients and their families.
“Structural heart disease is a disease of the elderly,” she said. “In a community with a significant number of retirees, structural heart services are fundamental. Serving these patients and providing good patient outcomes is the most rewarding aspect of my work.”
This is underscored by the many YRMC team members who nominated Dr. Moualla for Physician of the Year. According to one colleague, “Dr Moualla treats her patients and their loved ones as though they are her own family. She spends extended time with her patients and gets to know each of them as a person, not just as a diagnosis.”
Dr. Moualla also volunteers her time and expertise, providing medical care to homeless patients and refugees. In her free time, Dr Moualla enjoys swimming, cooking, and traveling.
YRMC’s Physician of the Year is selected annually by YRMC employees and medical staff.