Gretchen Wells Talks Hearts, Books & Kentucky Women

Dr. Gretchen Wells writes a lot of prescriptions and orders a lot of tests. But she says the most rewarding thing she dispenses is hope.

As director of Women's Heart Heath at UK HealthCare's Gill Heart Institute, Wells is tasked with helping Kentucky women enjoy longer, fuller lives with healthy hearts.

Prevention is a key part of that goal, especially in Kentucky where the mortality rate from heart disease is among the nation's highest. But Wells says there is so much more to tackle:

  • The biology of heart disease is different in men and women, and so new ways of detection and treatment need to be explored to address those differences.
  • More women are surviving breast cancer, only to develop heart problems because of their chemotherapy.
  • Young women with pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia are at higher risk for heart disease later in life. 

All of these and more are what bring Wells to the office every day, collaborating across campus to establish testing, identify biomarkers, and explore treatments tailored specifically to the needs of women with heart disease. She says, however, that the best part of her job is developing relationships with her patients.

"They teach me about family. They teach me about forgiveness. And they teach me about love," she says.

To learn more about why Wells thinks "the best is yet to come for the women of Kentucky," watch this edition of "5 Questions."

About Gretchen Wells:

Wells came to UK from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where she was medical director of the Cardiac Care Unit and Inpatient Cardiology Services and directed the outpatient women’s cardiac program. She received her medical degree from the University of Alabama School of Medicine, where she also completed a Ph.D. in medical genetics.  

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