Behind the Scenes: Inspiring Women of the Capital Region

Meet Drs. Phelan and DeTommasi

The unique friendship and common bond two cardiologists share in the Capital Region

This month, Capital Cardiology Associates has been proud to sponsor WTEN’s “20 Inspiring Women of the Capital Region.” Each weekday we are introduced to a woman in our community that are difference makers, recognized for their contributions and impact. Our sponsorship commercial features two inspiring women and their team from Capital Cardiology Associates; Drs. Allison DeTommasi and Donna Phelan.

It became very clear within minutes of our production filming that Drs. DeTommasi and Phelan share a special connection. “I’ve known Dr. Pheland from medical school… we basically grew up together,” Dr. DeTommasi shared. “We met in medical school and have been close friends ever since,” added Phelan. “It’s wonderful to have a partner in this profession that you can talk to and have commonality with.”

Their stories however, have quite different beginnings

“My father was a psychiatrist who also taught, my mother was a nurse. They met at Albany Med,” DeTommasi recounted. Dr. DeTommasi is proud to call the Capital Region home. She graduated from Union College, attended Albany Medical College, and was the “second female to graduate the Albany Medical Center fellowship program, Donna (Dr. Phelan) was the third.”

Dr. Phelan, “grew up in California, came here for medical school and fell in love with the Northeast. I met my husband and we decided to stay here and raise our family here.” She always enjoyed math and science as a child. “My parents instilled a very deep desire to pursue and a great deal of importance in education when I was young. My mother worked full-time and instilled the desire and love to do a greater good for humanity.”

The balance of career and family

Both doctors are also busy mothers. Dr. DeTommasi has an 11-year old son, Dr. Phelan three children. Both mothers acknowledge the daily challenge of being a professional and a parent. “Raising children takes a lot of time. A career in medicine is demanding, especially a line of medicine like cardiology where emergencies happen 24 hours a day. When we are on call, we are summoned in. I have been asked by my children several times why I have to go into the hospital in the middle of the night or why I can’t make it every one of their games. It’s a struggle but my children have seen the value in the path that I have chosen,” said Phelan. Dr. DeTommasi shares similar advice. “Young girls come to me often, I try to mentor them and tell them that you really have to love this. You have to be able to compromise in life to practice medicine. There is compromise with family, your immediate family and then later with your children. We take calls when we are not home. You have to absolutely love what you do.”

One topic that came up during our conversation was women in medicine. Both doctors are excited to see more women follow the journey they began together at medical school. As Dr. Phelan commented, “I really value the fact that so many schools are placing a emphasis on science and math, especially with girls. Its wonderful now that so many young women are choosing to pursue professions in medicine as opposed to even fifteen or twenty years ago when Dr. DeTommasi and I chose this path. The proportion of young women going in to medicine has escalated tremendously and there is great value in that.”

Written by: Michael Arce, Social Media Specialist, Capital Cardiology Associates. Commercial director: Daniel Perretta, Commercial Production Manager, WTEN-TV.