AHFTC at Kaiser Santa Clara

Kaiser’s joint Heart Failure/Transplant fellowship with Stanford was started in 1997.  Since then, fellows have been rotating at the Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara medical center which currently houses the Northern California Heart Failure/Transplant Service.  This program was launched in 1994 to provide centralized care for heart transplant recipients and those who are awaiting heart transplantation.  A natural outgrowth of this original mission was the development of a very busy advanced heart failure clinic.  In 2007, we added an outpatient and inpatient MCS program.  We currently contract with Centers of Excellence, such as Stanford, for the actual heart transplant or MCS surgery and post-operative care.  Our team consists of three heart failure/transplant physicians, four nurse coordinators, two nurse practitioners, one ventricular assist device coordinator, one psychologist, one social worker, and four transplant medical assistants. Our regional service receives approximately 200 new advanced heart failure referrals per year and we transplant about 20 patients annually.  On an ongoing basis, we follow 400 advanced heart failure patients, 125 post-heart transplant patients, and 20 ventricular assist device patients.  Fellows gain both inpatient and outpatient experience in the care of this population and are given the opportunity to take an active, fairly independent role during this rotation.


Dana Weisshaar, MD: Dr. Weisshaar completed her Heart Failure/Transplant fellowship in 1997 at California Pacific Medical Center. She has been the medical director of the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Heart Failure/Transplant Service since 1999. She has an extensive history of collaboration in research projects pertaining to advanced heart failure and transplantation.

Hemal Parekh, MD: After completing her heart failure and transplant training at Stanford University and Kaiser, Dr. Parekh joined the program in 1999.  She is now the fellowship director at Kaiser for the very fellowship of which she is a product. She is also involved in the training and teaching of general cardiology fellows from Kaiser San Francisco, internal medicine residents at Kaiser Santa Clara, and medical students from Stanford.

Erna Nishime, MD: Dr. Nishime joined the team in 2003 after finishing her training at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.  She is the chairperson for the Policies and Procedures Committee for the Heart Failure/Transplant Service. She is also the Education Committee Chair, coordinating educational activities for colleagues, staff, and patients.