“I wanted the immediacy and directness of
taking care of people who need help.”
“When I decided to go to medical school,” Dr. Valli-Harwood remembers, “I was an investment banker.” Having spent almost a decade on Wall Street, she decided to return to an earlier passion. “I wanted the immediacy and directness of taking care of people who need help. It was a tough decision and a tough process, later in life, but I am very proud and very happy that I stuck with it.”
Today, she is a cardiologist. “In a way, being a doctor is a very straightforward job. People are sick, and you need to take care of them,” she says. But Dr. Valli-Harwood’s medical curiosity runs deep. As an undergraduate at Yale, she helped conduct research in neuroanatomy; more recently, she has worked on stress testing and the care of depression in cardiac patients.
Dr. Valli-Harwood pursued her medical studies at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons, then did her residency and cardiology fellowship at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. She has worked with the elderly as a visiting doctor and with immigrant populations in Queens, New York. Her abiding interest in the human form (before medical school she studied at Cooper Union) has resulted in a series of drawings of the human hand and of a dancer in motion. The combined body of her research, doctoring, training and a more general engagement in life have led to a particular interest in prevention. “I want to treat the whole person, not just the illness,” she says.
Moving to the Berkshires has been an adjustment for Dr. Valli-Harwood; though a native of Connecticut, she has called New York City home for twenty years. She does, however, have happy memories of cross-country skiing weeks in Sheffield with her architect husband in years past. Today they and their three children reside in Lenox.