Q&A with the Director of Women’s Heart Clinic

Dr. C. Jennifer Dankle, D.O., F.A.C.C.

Dr. C. Jennifer Dankle

Director of Women’s Heart Clinic
University of Minnesota Physicians Heart,
Fairview Southdale, Edina

Tell us a little bit about your background. I grew up in Iowa, in a family of 8. I am the sixth doctor in my immediate family. I received my undergraduate degree in biology from the University of Iowa and my medical degree from Des Moines University, completed my internal medicine residency at the U of M, and completed a fellowship in cardiovascular medicine at UW-Milwaukee.

Are there great strides being made to improve quality of life for people with cardiovascular disease? I believe that the current cardiovascular medicine and technologies—including better imaging modalities with reduced risk (ie radiation exposure)—have contributed to a longer lifespan and better quality of life for those who suffer from heart disease. The mortality rates over the last 20-30 years continue to decline for both men and women.  However, there is a gender gap in mortality rates, with more women dying from heart disease than men each year.  I have focused my practice on tackling this issue by improving/providing community education, offering a primary prevention women’s clinic, and starting a support group for young women suffering with heart disease.

What do you love most about your job? I love helping people change their future by taking control of their health and vitality.

What are your hobbies/interests? My pets (two Siberian huskies and three cats), hiking, watersports, art, photography, and spending time with my large extended family.

Would you like to add anything else? I practice what I preach—I follow a Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH)-style diet—predominantly fruits/veggies, low-fat, low-sugar, low-sodium, I don’t smoke, I exercise up to six times per week, and I always use the stairs!