Ian Woollett, MD
Dr. Woollett describes his childhood as “unusual.” The son of a commercial airline pilot who was able to select his own home base, Dr. Woollett grew up in the Bahamas. Not only did he not come from a science background, he was also the first person in his family to go to college.
“I was always interested in science,” he recalls, “but I just wasn’t sure what I wanted to do.” He enrolled in an MD/PhD. program in the School of Medicine at the University of Colorado with the idea of going into basic science, and pursuing a PhD. in neuroscience. Instead, he was drawn to electrophysiology, and became what he calls “kind of the electrician of the heart.”
He did both his internship and residency in the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of Washington in Seattle, followed by a year as a hospitalist in Denver.
Dr. Woollett did a two-year clinical fellowship in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at Yale University, and a second two-year clinical fellowship in the Division of Cardiac Electrophysiology at Columbia University, New York Presbyterian Hospital. He then spent a year at Brown University/Rhode Island Medical Hospital as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology.
He enjoyed the research component of his fellowships, but found that he was much more interested in research as it directly impacts patients, where he could see real, tangible results from the latest advances and technologies. He also discovered he preferred directly supervising the research rather than writing grants and papers – and thus decided to leave academics and go into private practice.
Dr. Woollett came to Norfolk in 2005 to join Cardiovascular Associates, an independent medical practice with offices in Virginia Beach and Chesapeake. He is an attending physician at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, Sentara Virginia Beach General Hospital and Chesapeake Regional Medical Center.
Dr. Woollett and Cardiovascular Associates are closely affiliated with the Sentara Cardiovascular Research Institute, part of Sentara Healthcare, one of the nation’s leading not-for-profit health systems and an acknowledged leader in patient safety and quality innovation. Established in 2005, the Sentara Cardiovascular and Research Institute is now among the top cardiac research programs in the country, with about 70 ongoing studies per year.
Dr. Woollett’s position allows him to routinely incorporate clinical research studies into his clinical practice in situations where the technologies are advanced enough to include human patients, rather than animal models. He’s currently principal investigator in a number of ongoing studies in all aspects of heart arrhythmias, including HeartLight, an FDA randomized pivotal trial for CardioFocus endoscopic laser balloon for pulmonary vein isolation, and the DEEP AF trial for hybrid endocardial/epicardial ablation for chronic atrial fibrillation, among others.
Dr. Woollett is married to Christine Truman, MD, a psychiatrist who practices at the Hampton/Newport News Community Services Board. Dr. Truman has received statewide and national attention for her work in women’s health in general and postpartum depression in particular, and for the annual conference she organizes on these subjects.
They have two children, a 7-year-old son who wants to be an ornithologist, and a 5-year-old daughter who’d like to become a veterinarian.
Dr. Woollett might like to become a pilot like his father – but for personal pleasure, not commercial gain. He and Dr. Truman have agreed that can wait until after their kids have graduated from college. Until then, he’ll fly closer to earth – on his sailboat, the Tachycardia.