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AHN Establishes Endowed Professorship to Honor Legacy of Longtime AGH Cardiologist Yvonne B. Maher

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Allegheny Health Network (AHN) is establishing an endowed professorship to honor the groundbreaking medical career of one of Allegheny General Hospital’s (AGH) first female cardiologists, a physician equally known for the level of care and compassion she showed for her patients throughout a 25-year career in medicine. Officials from AHN’s Cardiovascular Institute will announce the Yvonne B. Maher Professorship in Cardiovascular Disease Prevention on Wednesday, February 13 at the first annual Yvonne B. Maher Memorial Lecture on Heart Disease in Women. 

The noon presentation at AGH’s Magovern Auditorium will feature noted outcome research scientist Leslee J. Shaw, PhD, from Weill Cornell Medicine and the Dalio Institute for Cardiovascular Imaging at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She will discuss pathophysiology, gender differences, and management options for women at risk for cardiovascular disease – the number one cause death in America, killing more women every year than all forms of cancer combined.

“From being the first woman to graduate from Georgetown University with a bachelor’s of science degree in biology to being one of the first female interventional cardiologists at AGH, Yvonne left an indelible mark everywhere she went,” said Srinivas Murali, MD, Co-Chairman, AHN Cardiovascular Institute and Director, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at AHN. “We were fortunate to have the opportunity to work alongside her, and we know her patients were grateful to have been cared for by her. The establishment of this professorship in Yvonne’s name is a fitting way to permanently honor her legacy and impact at AGH.”

Indu Poornima, MD, a cardiologist and director of AHN’s Women’s Heart Center, was a colleague of Dr. Maher’s for several years.

“Yvonne entered the world of medicine at a time when it was rare to find female cardiologists,” Dr. Poornima noted. “But because of the outstanding care provided by physicians like Yvonne, what had once been an all-male profession is now nearly one-third female. We are proud to follow in her footsteps and continue her mission of being fully devoted to providing the best possible care for each and every patient.”

After completing medical school and her internal medicine training at Georgetown, Dr. Maher moved to Pittsburgh in 1979 with her husband, Thomas D. Maher, Jr., who came to AGH to train in cardiothoracic surgery and later served on the staff at AGH. Yvonne Maher practiced internal medicine before completing AGH’s cardiology training program from 1986-89, when she moved into interventional cardiology. She spent the next quarter-century treating patients at AGH and St. Francis Medical Center. She retired from clinical practice in 2014 and passed away two years later.

“To have this honor for Yvonne means so much to our family – and, hopefully, to her patients, too,” said Thomas Maher, who raised five children with his wife, including three who are pursuing careers in medicine. “Caring is the word that really comes to mind about Yvonne. She was a great study of the human condition, and she really understood human nature and what her patients needed, and she cared for them in all senses of the word – for the whole patient.” 

In establishing the professorship, AHN aims to continue to work toward transforming care delivery in western Pennsylvania and minimizing the significant burden of cardiovascular disease while honoring the work and impact of Dr. Maher.  

“Endowed professorships empower AHN to attract and retain leading physicians and support their work as clinicians, teachers, and researchers in perpetuity,” said Allie Quick, Chief Philanthropy Officer, AHN. “It is an honor to recognize Dr. Maher’s enduring legacy with this named professorship in the Cardiovascular Institute at Allegheny Health Network. We are grateful to the many donors who have made possible this tribute to such a remarkable woman.”