Daniel Brody, DO, has a big job on his hands—but he’s up to the task.
Brody, a cardiologist with University of Minnesota Health Heart Care, serves patients in Hibbing and Grand Rapids. This spring he became the first and only dedicated University of Minnesota Health cardiologist in northern Minnesota, where he’s responsible for providing heart care and prevention education to the entire region.
“It’s a lot. You’re jumping between two hospitals. You’re seeing patients that are coming from all over the region,” Brody said. “But it’s worth it. You’re making a difference and patients are really appreciative to have this level of care up here.”
In addition to Brody, the M Health Heart Care team in northern Minnesota consists of Wayne Adkisson, MD, a University of Minnesota Health heart rhythm specialist who provides heart care in Hibbing twice a month, and Nurse Practitioner Kristina Conner, NP, who sees patients in both Hibbing and Grand Rapids. Device Nurse Connie Roberts also sees patients several times a month for services like pacemaker checks.
We talked with Brody about his first six months on the job, the services he provides and what he loves about rural health care.
It’s new. It’s exciting. In essence, we’re building a new practice up here, building a whole new system. People have been very grateful to have local cardiology services. They used to have to drive to an hour and a half to Duluth or three hours to the Twin Cities, even for a simple, 20-minute procedure like a pacemaker check. Our presence in this area makes a huge difference for these families.
I find a lot of people haven’t had the care that they should have been getting because of the great distances they had to travel. It’s critically important that people are receiving routine heart care so that minor issues don’t become bigger problems. Heart disease is one of the most common health conditions affecting our patients statewide, and up here it’s no different.
The biggest one is atrial fibrillation; I see that every day. It’s one the most common conditions a cardiologist encounters. I see a lot of coronary artery disease and a people who need a valve replacement. We can make adjustments to pacemakers, but to have a pacemaker surgically implanted our patients will have to travel to Minneapolis. We try to provide all the care we can for folks up here and then connect them to other experts in the Twin Cities for more advanced procedures.
I talk about that every day. A big part of my role here is preventative medicine. I talk with every patient to try and get them to make lifestyle changes that can drastically benefit their health—namely, quitting smoking, exercising more, eating better. So many of the conditions I see are manageable and even preventable. I really try to get that across to patients so they don’t have to come visit me as often.
I just loved the idea of joining the University of Minnesota Health system. I love being able to bring the University’s brand of world-class health care to people and areas that have not historically had easy access to care, especially life-saving heart care. I think we can make a real difference, particularly with our education and prevention efforts. I’m also excited to continue to get to know the community and to continue to care for the warm, welcoming folks of northern Minnesota. There are many charming aspects to living in a small town, too. The people are really friendly and I love raising my family up here.