As an interventional cardiologist, Dr. Jason Finkelstein enjoys visiting with his patients.
But of all the interaction, perhaps one of his favorite conversations is the one that revealed his inclusion on the list of Super Doctors Rising Stars in the July issue of Texas Monthly.
“I had a new patient come in to see me, and I asked him how he heard about us,” the New York native said. “He said, ‘I saw you in Texas Monthly.’ I asked him what he was talking about, and he said I was listed in the Super Doctors section in this month’s issue. So on the way home, I stopped by CVS, picked up a copy, and sure enough. I didn’t even know about it. You would think the magazine would inform you.”
To be eligible for the honor, candidates – nominated by their colleagues – must be active physicians who have been fully licensed to practice for less than 10 years. They are evaluated on criteria including hospital appointments, fellowships, professional activities, board certifications and academic achievements.
Nominees are then grouped into specialties and are reviewed by a blue ribbon panel. Those with the highest scores from nominations, research and the review are selected.
“This honors less than the top 2.5 percent of physicians in the state of Texas,” Finkelstein said. “And you are nominated by your peers. I am honored and flattered. Being surprised, I think, makes you even more proud because you didn’t expect it. And the fact that it was a patient that told me was really neat.”
After his dad, Alan, began having heart problems, a then-24-year old Finkelstein knew he wanted to pursue cardiology.
“Going to doctors appointments with him, I became really interested in how they treated him,” Finkelstein said. “It was between becoming a cardiologist or orthopedic surgeon. I like the hands-on factor of cardiology. You can make an immediate difference in a patient’s life.”
After receiving an undergraduate degree in biology from Binghamton University in New York, Finkelstein attended medical school at St. George’s University in Grenada.
“At the time that I applied, getting into medical school was super competitive,” Finkelstein said. “Rather than wait another year to reapply, I decided to go to the Carribbean. A friend of the family was a student in Grenada, and he had positive things to say.”
He then completed his internal medicine residency at Medical College of Pennsylvania Hahnemann University in Philadelphia and a cardiology fellowship at Tulane University in New Orleans, before doing CT angiography training at Ochner Heart and Vascular Institute in New Orleans and an interventional cardiology fellowship at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Indianapolis.
After completing his training, Finkelstein and his wife, Alice, decided to move to Texas to raise their family, which now includes three sons – Zachary, 7; Dylan, 5; and Ashton, 10 months.
“We wanted a warmer climate in which to raise our family,” Finkelstein said. “And the cost of living is cheaper.”
Finkelstein began practicing in Fort Worth in 2006 before relocating to Decatur, where a year later he helped start the cardiac program at Wise Regional Health System with associates of Advanced Heart Care.
“In a small town, patients are much more appreciative of how doctors care for them,” he said. “I really enjoy my job. The recognition is really very neat, but I’m more fortunate to simply enjoy what I do.”