Dr. Richard Willes' main goal is to keep kids heart healthy – providing specialized care for children with heart issues and connective tissue diseases. All of which can be very scary for parents.
"I want to make sure that the parents have the information they need to not be scared when they leave the office," said Willes. "This is not always possible, but I at least want them to have the tools to get there."
This understanding of how parents feel and helping them overcome being scared comes from his own experiences as a father.
"Having children makes everything infinitely more important," said Willes. "When you look at a sick kid from the eyes of parents, you realize the intense emotional investment that patient brings with it."
This is why Willes works to establish trust with his patients and their families by finding common ground and a mutual interest in helping the child. He feels empathy is the best way to approach what can be scary conversations for parents.
Willes attended residency at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City, and is fellowship-trained in pediatric cardiology by Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.
Besides video games and "goofing off" with his children, he enjoys rock climbing, surfing, playing guitar poorly and writing.