Physicians with Heart

  • November 6, 2019

William Mahle, MD, Co-chief, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Heart Center, and CEO, Sibley Heart Center Cardiology

As a pediatric cardiologist, William Mahle, MD, wants to be able to look himself in the eye each morning knowing that he can assure his patients’ parents that they cannot get better care for their children anyplace else.

“If I can’t say that, I either need to change or refer them elsewhere,” Dr. Mahle said. “I must have the internal integrity to know, without hesitation, what I would say to a parent who asked if I would want my own kid to be cared for by this hospital and this doctor. The answer should always be yes.”

Dr. Mahle joined the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Heart Center in 2001, where he is now Co-chief and CEO of Sibley Heart Center Cardiology. He has achieved national recognition for his leadership in pediatric cardiology and has published more than 150 research and review articles, four book chapters and is an accomplished national and international speaker. Dr. Mahle came from Philadelphia and says the unique culture at Sibley drew him to Atlanta.

“I’m in a very fortunate position to have a job as a physician and particularly a physician who works with children who sometimes have life-threatening conditions,” Dr. Mahle said. “I’m privileged to enter the lives of these families and walk with them on their journeys.”

When he first came to Sibley, Dr. Mahle’s Marietta office was small and featured just an X-ray room shared with another doctor. His staff included a nurse and a sonographer, and together, they were determined to ensure that the patient experience was exceptional even though the facilities were challenging.

“Families gave us very high marks at that time,” he said. “It was emblematic of the approach we take at Sibley to provide excellent care, refusing to look for excuses but rather solutions. Families can sense it when that’s your attitude.”

Dr. Mahle said Sibley is a special place for many reasons. In addition to being on the forefront of all the latest findings and research in the field, Sibley’s culture puts patient care first and foremost.

“We pride ourselves on providing good communication and experiences for families,” Dr. Mahle said. “We interact with referring doctors to ensure we’ve met all their needs in such a way that when they send us a patient, they can feel confident in advising the parents we provide the best care available.”

Building an excellent team is an important part of what makes Sibley so special. Dr. Mahle says they have established strong norms in their practice with the core principles of teamwork, integrity and service imbuing everything they do.

“Part of what makes Sibley unique is that we recruit others who are likeminded,” Dr. Mahle said. “This is not a place for big egos. It’s a place where people say, ‘I will do whatever needs to be done to help the team.’ In doing that, you provide the best care for the patient.”

Dr. Mahle’s view of Sibley is confirmed anytime he has interactions with other parts of the Children’s system or referring hospitals across Georgia.

I always hear that no other pediatric specialization provides the kind of care that Sibley does,” he said. “That is a point of tremendous pride that helps us retain the best people. I don’t ask for those kudos, but it’s what I’ve heard consistently for the past 19 years.”

Dr. Mahle said that he’s been with Sibley long enough now that he’s followed patients since counseling their pregnant mothers, caring for them as babies, all the way to transitioning them to their adult care teams. Walking with families through their entire CHD journey requires a level of empathy and a commitment to education and communication that can be rare in today’s world.

“When we walk into that room with a patient, we try to put ourselves into their shoes as much as we can,” he said. “Would I want my own child to be cared for by this group of people? That is the question we must continue to ask ourselves.”

William T. Mahle, MD

  • Professor of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine
  • Marcus Professor of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine
  • Division Director of Cardiology, Department of Pediatrics, Emory University School of Medicine
  • Co-chief, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Sibley Heart Center
  • CEO, Sibley Heart Center Cardiology

Education

  • Medical school: University of Maryland
  • Residency: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Fellowship: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Areas of focus / Clinical interests

  • Heart Failure/Heart Transplant

Research Interests

Functional outcome and long-term sequelae of congenital heart surgery have been the primary focus of research. Particular attention is given to neurodevelopmental outcome in intermediate-term survivors of heart surgery. In addition, various projects have investigated myocardial and endothelial abnormalities in patients with palliated congenital heart defects.

Professional Affiliations

  • 2014 – Present – Pediatric Heart Network – Finance Committee – Chair
  • 1993 – Present  – American Academy of Pediatrics, Fellow 1993
  • 1996 – Present – American College of Cardiology, Fellow 2005
  • 2004 – Present – American Heart Association, Fellow, 2010
  • 2005 – Present – International Society of Heart and Lung Transplantation

For more information about Sibley Heart Center Cardiology and our pediatric cardiology specialists, click here.