The Southern Flyers, a Squirt youth travel hockey team based at Centennial Sportsplex and coached by Dr. Manoukian, recently competed in the international Silver Stick finals in Ontario, Canada following their 5 game sweep of their southeast regional tour
Interventional Cardiologist Steven Manoukian Relishes HCA Triple Play
Fan, player, coach … there is no question that Steven Manoukian loves hockey. Growing up in Queens, the young athlete — who began playing at the age of nine — loved to cheer on the New York Rangers. Since his ‘day job’ brought him to Nashville in June 2008, he has also become an avid Predators’ fan.
A renowned interventional cardiologist, Steven V. Manoukian, MD, FACC, FSCAI, couldn’t resist scoring a professional hat trick when Hospital Corporation of America, Inc. (HCA) asked him to take on responsibilities impacting care locally, nationally and internationally. He wears three distinct, but related, work hats in his roles as medical director of Cardiovascular Services for the Clinical Services Group of HCA, director of Cardiovascular Research at the Sarah Cannon Research Institute (SCRI), and in practice with Centennial Heart Cardiovascular Consultants.
“I play at Centennial Sportsplex, which is right across the street from Centennial Medical Center,” he noted of the proximity of two of his passions. “I’ve never been able to walk to hockey before in my life so it’s a real plus.”
Of course, it took more than a nearby ice rink to lure Manoukian and his family to Nashville. After completing his medical degree at New York University School of Medicine and his Internal Medicine residency at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, Manoukian headed south for fellowship training at Emory University.
Although the native New Yorker continues to be a proud ambassador for his hometown, he quickly felt at ease in his new home. “When I moved to Atlanta in 1989, I decided I loved the South and wanted to stay,” Manoukian noted.
He spent the next 19 years in Atlanta and joined the medical school faculty in 1993. By 2002, he was appointed director of Interventional Cardiology at Emory University Hospital Midtown. During his tenure in the bustling urban center, he also served as a medical reporter for Fox Television — a role he enjoyed because of the patient education factor. “It all relates to the goal of taking better care of patients,” he said.
By all accounts happy in Atlanta, Manoukian was nevertheless intrigued by the opportunity to employ his core skills to impact patients in a clinical, research and administrative setting. “It was the opportunity to take what I was doing in one institution and extend it. It was multiplying what I was doing in one facility by 163 facilities,” he said.
Manoukian continued, “The major motivation in coming to HCA was the ability to function in three diverse roles. From a clinical standpoint, the opportunity to work with a superb group of cardiologists who stack up favorably against any medical school faculty — and many of whom I’ve known for 20 years since fellowship training — was an opportunity too good to pass up. Each of our physicians has a unique skill set, which in aggregate offers the most comprehensive care for our patients.”
He also liked coupling clinical responsibilities with broader, systemic roles. “The opportunity to help lead cardiovascular services for the 163 hospitals of Hospital Corporation of America, the largest private provider of healthcare in the United States, as well as direct a new initiative of cardiovascular research at Sarah Cannon Research Institute is a triple play,” Manoukian continued. He added, “It’s the ideal complement of roles — being able to excel in clinical care, directing a new research program, and enhancing the quality of cardiovascular services across the system. Quality drives everything.”
He was also attracted by the depth and breadth of Nashville’s industry and entrepreneurial spirit. “There’s phenomenal healthcare from a variety of sources,” he noted. “For a city our size, the quality of care is superb.” Manoukian added he was impressed with the cutting edge clinical care, quality research and clinical trials, and access to novel and new technologies and devices that is found across specialties here.
A key factor in his ultimate decision was tied to having the opportunity to work under Jonathan Perlin, MD, PhD, FACP, FACMI, who Manoukian called, “one of the premier healthcare leaders in the United States.” Perlin serves as HCA’s chief medical officer and president of the Clinical Services Group and has held numerous, high-level national positions during his career. “It’s a big part of why I’m here,” Manoukian said.
Since his arrival, SCRI has embarked on a major initiative to bring the same research energy to understanding cardiovascular disease as is given to oncology. “SCRI’s mission is advancing therapies for patients. The opportunity to provide patient access to some of the best cardiovascular clinical trials is something we couldn’t be more excited about,” Manoukian said. “Our goal at Sarah Cannon is to develop a network of strategic cardiovascular research sites across the United States and beyond in order to allow the greatest number of patients access to clinical trials.”
He added the desire to improve the quality of cardiovascular care in Tennessee should be a high priority for all physicians and public health officials.
“Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer in the United States, and Tennessee has one of the highest mortality rates. It should be a priority for all clinicians regardless of specialty,” he added.
Manoukian shares his resolve to find care solutions with colleagues across the city, state and country through volunteer leadership roles. He serves as chair of the Tennessee Cardiac Systems of Care Task Force, which is under the umbrella of the Tennessee Department of Health. He also holds several positions of national responsibility with the American Heart Association (AHA) and sits on the board of directors for the Greater Nashville AHA and AHA Greater Southeast regional Affiliate (GSA). Also at the GSA level, Manoukian chairs the AHA’s STEMI (ST-Elevation Myocardial Infarction) Task Force.
Although his responsibilities are varied, he emphasized that each of his roles directly relates back to his first love … patient care. “They all sound so different, but they all have the same goal — providing for the highest quality of care for today ... and tomorrow. Sometimes,” he continued, “that comes through clinical care, sometimes through research, and sometimes through education and improving processes.”
While he loves all components of his work, he still truly relishes the challenge and adrenaline rush that comes with hands-on patient care. “Not only is accurate, evidence-based decision-making important, but those decisions are also time
-sensitive and require sound procedural skills to achieve optimal patient outcomes. How a patient is managed in the first 12-24 hours may influence whether they live or die. Making good clinical decisions is critical,” he said of interventional cardiology.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the kid who loved the fast-paced sport of hockey grew up to channel that same energy into scoring wins for his patients. At work, Manoukian collaborates with a team of highly regarded clinicians and researchers who share his professional goals. And at home, his growing all-star team clearly shares his passion for hockey.
Amy, who is due to deliver the couple’s fourth child soon, serves as one of the assistant coaches on their nine-year-old son Daniel’s youth hockey team. Not to be outdone, daughter Isabella, 7, began playing the family sport this year, too. “She loves it,” Manoukian said with a laugh. “She’s got pink tape on her stick and everything.” Although baby Abigail, 1, hasn’t yet strapped on skates, she’s already a fan with her own Predator’s jersey. “And one more is on the way in March,” said Manoukian. “Hopefully he or she will be a hockey player, too.”