The Heart of The Matter - Dr Gary Roubin

5 May 2015

Dr Gary Roubin Bachelor of Veterinary Science ’70 Bachelor of Medicine/Bachelor of Surgery ’75 Doctor of Medicine ’95 Honorary Doctorate in Medicine ’13.

As one of the world’s leading cardiologists and pioneer of the first US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved balloon expandable coronary stent, alumnus Dr Gary Roubin is a voice to be listened to when it comes to healthy hearts.

“Cardiovascular health can be defined by three words: lifestyle, lifestyle and lifestyle,” Roubin said.

“It is important to engage in exercise, diet and stress-reducing strategies, even if you are unfortunate to have inherited the wrong genes.”

Over the past 38 years, Roubin’s impressive career as a clinician and researcher has spanned two continents and included important stints with the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital, Emory University, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, Lenox Hill Heart and Vascular Institute of New York, New York University and, most recently, as Director of Cardiovascular Services at Beth Israel Hospital and Continuum Cardiovascular Centres of New York.

As well as pioneering the first FDAapproved coronary stent, a pivotal event that changed the direction of the management of coronary heart disease, Roubin also pioneered techniques of carotid stenting and embolic protection devices.

Roubin, who lives in the US with his wife and four children, recently visited UQ’s St Lucia campus to receive an Honorary Doctorate. He says his life now is very different to what it was when he first started university.

“I grew up riding horses and working on cattle and dairy farms. My only opportunity to attend university was to be awarded a scholarship. Financial hardship in my early years at vet school pushed me to work as a vet in large abattoirs, ensuring safe meat products for export and local consumption,” Roubin said.

His work with large animals piqued his interest in human health and nutritional issues, which led him to complete his medical degrees.

“My horizons expanded beyond the farms to national health issues, public health and vistas I had never imagined. Feeling uncertain about a career change, I pushed forward, practising as a small animal vet to put myself through medicine. Life is filled with twists and turns, random opportunities and forks in the road,” he said.

Roubin says the principles that underpin innovation have remained consistent throughout the years despite the changes in the medical profession.

“Medicine has changed dramatically over the past 30 years, mostly through information technology and the huge amounts of data on the science of medicine and best clinical practices.

“The regulatory environment may be a bit more difficult but is offset by enhanced technology, computing and imaging. The principles are the same – identify an unsolved clinical patient need, study it so you really understand the problem, map a pathway to find the solution and use rigorous scientific methodology at every step.”

As a beneficiary of mentoring throughout the early years of his career, Roubin says he enjoys passing on his knowledge to the next generation of practitioners.

“I am still very active clinically, at least with complex tertiary cardiac and vascular procedures. I like to take the opportunity to pass on my experience and judgement that I have gained over 30 years of practice,” he said.