Dr. Alina Sholar, a board-certified plastic surgeon, has her own practice, Serenity Medical Center, with locations in Austin and San Antonio. In 2018, she also started her plastic surgery practice, Skin, Science, Soul, with a mission to empower women to feel their best. As an artist and scientist, her medical illustrations and academic publications have been published in medical journals and textbooks. She also has a third business in medical consulting and offers her expertise as an aesthetic consultant for other physicians all over the United States and in Canada.
Dr. Sholar currently serves as on the 2021 Austin Heart and Stroke Walk Executive Leadership Team. We sat down with Dr. Sholar to share why she is continuing the fight for a world of longer, healthier lives right here in Austin.
American Heart Association (AHA): What is your reason “why?” What is your personal connection with the AHA?
Dr. Alina Sholar (DAS): With the female empowerment mission I have, heart disease is the leading cause of death for women and gets less attention than other predominantly female diseases. People also think of heart disease as a man’s disease, but it affects just as many women as it does men. On a personal level, I have a cardiac arrhythmia that was diagnosed when I was in general surgery residency. It was recommended for me to have. I was advised by my cardiologist that there was a concern for me in my practice if I was to have a pacemaker as I would use electrocautery devices all day long as a surgeon.
With some novel treatment options, I was able to receive treatment without the pacemaker and without the risk of losing my livelihood with . using a novel treatment method. Recently, my mother developed atrial fibrillation and underwent a cardioversion procedure. Unfortunately, she had a stroke and she’s in recovery now getting physical therapy and speech therapy.
I’m thankful that AHA funds are being used to take care of me and my family to develop new ways to treat cardiovascular disease and stroke.
AHA: What made you say yes when asked to be an ELT member of the Austin Heart & Stroke Walk event, taking on more responsibility, especially during this time? What are your plans on getting your company, friends, family members, and colleagues involved in this year’s Austin Heart & Stroke Walk event?
DAS: I was excited to contribute in a meaningful way. There’s a lot of responsibility and a lot on my plate between my medical practice and seeing patients, but I also feel a responsibility to lead and to make a meaningful community impact and part of that is leading my teams and showing that eating healthy and moving your body is important.
We’ve got some fun things planned and have recruited 3 of our company leaders to be coaches. We have competitions between the coaches for best costume during the walk and most walkers recruited. One of the prizes is that they get to throw a cream pie at me! So, they get to do some fun things they don’t normally get to do otherwise. So, we aim to have some creative ideas and some healthy incentives and challenges in the months leading up to the walk as well. It’s also a great team-building opportunity and to get my team involved in a community service project and to improve their health along the way.
AHA: How do you and your family stay heart-healthy? What are some of your go-to ways to get active?
DAS: I always tell people it does not have to be chore. Find ways you can cultivate habits on a daily basis that reinforce healthy eating and that incorporate moving. Build it into your daily routine. We don’t eat heavily processed foods. We rely on fresh farmer’s market veggies. I also do yoga a couple times a week to keep my joints moving. I try to find ways to incorporate movement with self-defense classes and hiking around Austin, but it’s also regularly walking my dogs. If you shift your mindset as something you’re doing good for yourself and your mind, it can become a more pleasant thing rather than a chore that needs to get done.
Join Dr. Alina Sholar at the 2021 Austin Heart and Stroke Walk
Cardiovascular disease, including stroke, remains the No. 1 killer of Americans. The American Heart Association’s top priority is the health and well-being of individuals and their families today and in the future, in every community, from here to everywhere. No matter where you choose to walk, participating and donating to the Austin Heart and Stroke Walk, continues to support the lifesaving mission of the American Heart Association. To join our efforts, register for the 2021 Austin Heart and Stoke Walk at www.austinheartwalk.org and encourage your friends, family, and team to do the same.
Meet Austin’s Community Impact Director – Catalina Berry
Catalina Berry is passionate about inspiring healthy living, community and giving back in her personal and professional life. After being an active volunteer for the American Heart Association for over ten years, Catalina is now the Community Impact Director for the American Heart Association Central Texas Market. Her work in her current role is around policy, systems, and environmental changes in the community with a focus in health equity. Growing up bi-cultural and bilingual has helped shape Catalina into who she is today as she strives to be a positive influence in the community.