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Getting to know Dr. Chris Snyder: 7 questions with our new chief of cardiology
July 19, 2022
Girl smiling with stethoscope in her ears

    Dr. Chris Snyder recently joined our heart center team as chief of cardiology. His expertise, approach to care and visionary leadership make him the perfect fit for ensuring the best care for kids’ heart health today and paving the way for the future.

    Meet Dr. Snyder and learn about his plans for the future of heart care at CHoR

    What are your areas of specialty?

    Dr. Chris Snyder headshotI’m a general pediatric cardiologist and electrophysiologist. I see patients with a wide variety of cardiac health care needs, including congenital heart anomalies. My primary areas of specialty include:

    • Arrhythmias
    • Murmurs
    • Palpitations
    • Syncope
    • Sudden cardiac death
    • Tachycardia

    What do you want patients, families and referring providers to know about you?

    In addition to knowing that I trained at Texas Children’s Hospital and have been practicing medicine for 22 years, I want them to know that I’m the father of two daughters and spouse to my wife who is a psychologist. I understand what it’s like to want the best for your children and I’m committed to providing accessible, compassionate, safe and cost-effective care.

    What would your past patients say about you?

    I think most of my patients would say I have a great sense of humor and I put them at ease. I’m straightforward and honest. I paint all sides of all pictures, so families understand what is happening with their child and what their choices are. It’s important to me to work with each family as a whole with a humanistic approach.

    I think they’d also affirm that I take the Hippocratic Oath seriously, which is my commitment to be ethical in everything I do.

    What is your vision for the Division of Pediatric Cardiology?

    While great care is being provided today, there are always new opportunities. I’d like to establish super-specialized clinics within pediatric cardiology so patients can see someone who specializes in exactly what they need. Collaboration is also important, both within CHoR as well as across the health system, university and commonwealth. Our new congenital heart surgery partnership with UVA Children’s is a great example of the fruits of collaboration – children now have access to exceptional outcomes, close to home. We’re also working to build a dedicated cardiac procedure suite within the new children’s tower to provide interventional and diagnostic catheterization and electrophysiology studies for children and families. We’re open to anything that will ensure the best care for our kids.

    I’d also like to continue building our portfolio in clinical and basic science research.

    Why is research important to you?

    I’m involved in research looking at several things, most notably cost-effective treatment of patients with congenital heart anomalies and electrophysiology. I’m also the voice for the American Academy of Pediatrics in cardiology. I’m a past chair of the AAP’s Section of Cardiology and Cardiovascular Surgery and was most recently involved in developing the AAP’s guidelines for COVID-19 and MIS-C treatment as they relate to children.

    Research is critically important to advance the field of pediatric cardiology. With knowledge gained through research, we don’t have to run every test to figure out what’s going on – and without it we can’t say how things should be done. It helps us know how to help the next child that comes along in a safer and more cost-effective manner. Our research not only impacts patients and families here at CHoR but could result in better care for kids around the world.

    What inspired you to specialize in pediatric cardiology?

    During medical school you spend the first year studying the “normal” human body and the second year focusing on the “abnormal” human body, i.e. what can go wrong and why. I loved every rotation I did, but the thing that made inherent sense to me during this process was how the heart worked.

    Then I met a wonderful mentor, the chief of cardiology, as a third-year medical student and he helped me realize that pediatric cardiology was my calling. I even remember the specific patient I was caring for when it clicked. As pediatric cardiologists the difference we can make spans more than just what we’re doing for that one patient though. We’re doing it for their families too and there’s nothing better for my own personal wellbeing. What we do, it helps your soul. We’re here to help kids and families.

    Having someone who is truly invested in you and your career is life changing. I hope to offer the same generosity my mentor has always provided me to my residents and fellows, the next generation of pediatric medicine.

    Why did you choose to come to CHoR?

    I came for a number of reasons. CHoR serves a unique community of people who live in Richmond and surrounding communities and we care for all children who need us. I also love that there’s a university and medical school engrained in the health care system.

    Next is the new hospital. Building a children’s hospital is not an easy task and the fact that it’s being done, and done well, tells me that the community is 100% behind this. I’m looking forward to the dedicated pediatric catheterization and electrophysiology lab and pediatric cardiology operating room with teams solely dedicated to children. We’re creating a wonderful, children-centric environment to care for kids and families.

    Two leaders I met during the interview process were also particularly influential in my decision to come to CHoR. Elias Neujahr, CHoR’s president, has a vision to care for children and their families above all else. Dr. Karen Hendricks-Muñoz, interim physician-in-chief, is a neonatologist who wants to see pediatric cardiology grow and flourish, which is of course what I want too. My wife was actually born in Richmond as well but that wasn’t a factor in our decision to come here – it was all about leadership and community.

    Find out more about how Dr. Snyder and team care for kids with congenital heart defects and acquired heart disease.

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