February 24, 2020

H. Lee Kanter, MD


H. Lee Kanter, MD

Cardiac Electrophysiologist

Dr. Kanter is a native of Hampton Roads. Coming from a family of prominent Norfolk attorneys, no one would have been surprised had he pursued a career in the law. But he had different ideas.

He attended Norfolk Academy, graduating from Phillips Academy Andover in Massachusetts. From there, he enrolled at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, where he began the study of electrical engineering. The decision to become a physician was made gradually, but with purpose. “As an undergraduate, I was involved in research in lasers,” Dr. Kanter explains. “I was always very intellectually interested in the science, and over the course of my college years, I realized that I wanted to spend my time doing something that would help people.” By the end of his college career, he knew medicine was where he belonged.

He returned to his home state to attend the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, where he was named to the Medical Honor Society. During medical school, he found time to do significant volunteer work, including, notably, in his fourth year as a medical extern at a rural hospital in Zambia, Africa.

Dr. Kanter then did his internship and residency in internal medicine at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. During his residency, he worked as a locum tenens on the Navajo reservation for Indian Health Services in Shiprock, New Mexico. He also met his wife, Janet, during residency. From Michigan, they went to St. Louis, Missouri, where Dr. Kanter was awarded the Kenneth M. Rosen Fellowship in Cardiac Pacing and Electrophysiology by the North American Society of Pacing and Electrophysiology (now the Heart Rhythm Society.) The Kanters together volunteered for several months at St. Jude’s Hospital in Santa Lucia in the West Indies.

They also had two sons and, as Dr. Kanter describes it, he was “blessed enough to get a job in my hometown.” He joined Cardiovascular Associates, Ltd. in 1995.

He became a member of the staff of Chesapeake Regional Medical Center in 1995 as well, and he has spent the ensuing years contributing to Chesapeake Regional’s Cardiovascular Services’ recognition as a high-level cardiac care center, which provides state-of-art technology to patients in Hampton Roads – including emergent cardiac catheterizations for people suffering an acute heart attack, all methods of cardiac diagnostic testing, cardiac catheterizations and interventions. He established and is currently director of Chesapeake Regional’s Electrophysiology Lab, which offers electrophysiologic testing, implantation of pacemakers and defibrillators, including cardiac ablations. He was the first electrophysiologist to perform a biventricular pacemaker procedure at CRMC.

He is also the main cardiac electrophysiologist at Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital, and is affiliated with Sentara Norfolk General and Sentara Princess Anne Hospital as well.

He is still actively involved in volunteerism, but today his efforts revolve around health care leadership. He’s past-president of the Department of Medicine at Virginia Beach General Hospital and has served on the boards of the Medical Society of  Virginia and the Medical Society of Virginia Foundation. He has recently become interested in becoming involved in a leadership role in efforts to improve health care quality and costs effectiveness. He is a staunch proponent of the importance of trust in the physician-patient relationship. “It’s absolutely invaluable when someone is sick and vulnerable,” Dr. Kanter says. “If that trust is eroded, everybody loses. If I’m a spokesman for anything, it’s that.”

Dr. Kanter and his wife, now a PhD. in public health, live in Virginia Beach. They have two sons, ages 18 and 21. Right now, he says, “it doesn’t look like either of them will go into medicine,” but adds, “I’d be surprised if my younger son didn’t become a lawyer like his grandfather. He has the gene.”