Annabelle Santos Volgman, MD, FACC, FAHA

Role: Clinician, Researcher, Faculty
Joined Rush in 1990


I am Professor of Medicine and Senior Attending Physician at Rush Medical College and Rush University Medical Center. I am also the Medical Director of the Rush Heart Center for Women and the recipient of the Madeleine and James McMullan-Carl E. Eybel, MD Chair of Excellence in Clinical Cardiology. I received my undergraduate degree with honors from Barnard College, Columbia University, and my medical degree from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York City. I am a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association. I completed my residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Chicago Hospitals and Clinics and my Cardiology and Clinical Electrophysiology fellowship at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. I am board certified in Internal Medicine, Cardiovascular Disease and Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology.  

My research interests include preventive and management strategies of atrial fibrillation, especially antiarrhythmic drugs and anticoagulants for the prevention of stroke in atrial fibrillation. I am an active member of the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology. I have written numerous abstracts and articles on multiple topics, including women, stroke and heart disease, as well as cardiac electrophysiology. I have been invited to present my research at national and international conferences. In addition, I have given hundreds of local and national lectures and have served as an editor/reviewer for several scientific journals, including the American Journal of Cardiology and the Journal of the American Medical Association.


I am a board member and Past President of the Metro Chicago Board of Directors, and I recently finished serving on the Midwest Affiliate Board of the American Heart Association. I am also a member of two national AHA committees – Council of Women and Special Populations and Council on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research & Council on Epidemiology and Prevention. I am very active with efforts to increase awareness of heart disease in women. I have been a prominent leader of the Go Red for Women movement and have received numerous awards from Rush University Medical Center, the American Heart Association, Girls in the Game and the Asian American Hall of Fame. I have also been listed in the Marquis Who’s Who in the fields of education and science and on several lists of Top Doctors. In fact, I was  featured as a Top Doctor in the January 2008 -2016 issues of Chicago Magazine and was selected as a Top Doctor for Women in the field of Cardiology by Women’s Health Magazine.  I was also listed as a Top 1% Doctor in the Castle Connolly Medical List of Top Doctors in 2012 and as a Top Doctor in the Castle Connolly Medical List 2007-16. In addition, I serve on the national Scientific Advisory Board of WomenHeart. I received the Coeur d’Or Award at the 2011 and 2012 American Heart Association Heart Ball and wrote the foreword for the book, “Prevent a Second Heart Attack,” by Dr. Janet Bond Brill, which was released in February 2011. I am also a contributor to the Bates’ Guide to Physical Examination and History Taking, 11th Edition. In 2011, I received the honor of being named one of 100 women who make a difference in Today’s Chicago Woman Magazine, and, in 2013, I was listed as one of the 100 most influential women in Chicago. In November 2013, I was featured as a Today’s Chicago Woman Game Changer and, in 2014, was named one of Chicago’s 100 most inspiring women. I was awarded the 2015 leadership award by Concern Worldwide and have been interviewed by numerous newspapers, magazines, radio and television news shows about various health issues. I was also featured in O Magazine as Ms. Oprah Winfrey’s cardiologist in 2002 and in her profile that was published in Crain’s Chicago Business in 2003 and 2014.  I have served on the boards of the Menomonee Club for Boys and Girls and on the Tony award-winning Lookingglass Theatre Board. I currently serve on the Board of the Giordano Dance Company.

What inspired you to get into your field?

In 1984, there were more women who died of cardiovascular disease than men. Cardiovascular disease was the number one killer of American women and was responsible for more female deaths than all cancers put together. Women were being treated differently than men. For example, they were given hormone replacement therapy for high cholesterol instead of the more effective, cholesterol-lowering medications called statins. This resulted in thousands of women dying from cardiovascular disease.

In 2001, the American Heart Association started a campaign to increase awareness about heart disease in women. In 2003, this campaign was named the Go Red for Women campaign. Lynne Braun PhD, ANP, and I were involved with the inception of the awareness campaign, and we both continue to be involved with Go Red for Women. In 2003, the Rush Heart Center for Women opened its doors to prevent and treat heart disease in women. In addition to our services, we also offered complimentary nutrition counseling, which we were able to offer through funding from donors to whom we are very grateful. We wanted to provide comprehensive evaluation and compassionate care to prevent devastating cardiac events in women.

Heart disease continues to be the number one killer of American women and men, but there has been tremendous progress over the last decade. In 2013, as a result of these efforts, there are now fewer women dying of heart disease than men. This year marks the 13th anniversary of the Rush Heart Center for Women. Since the opening of the RHCW in 2003, we have taken care of thousands of women by treating and preventing heart disease. Many of the women we have taken care of have noted that stress, anxiety about their disease and concern about how they will be able to care for themselves and for their loved ones is their top priority. To accommodate these concerns, we have expanded our services to include a nutritionist, an integrative cardiologist, a cardio-oncologist, a genetic counselor and a cognitive neurologist to provide innovative care and offer prevention strategies to increase the quality of life of the women who receive care at the RHCW. Our mission is to help women and their families live healthier lives through prevention and treatment of heart disease and strokes. To show my support for the Go Red for Women campaign, I wear red every day to remind people that the number one cause of death among women is still heart disease.