From a young age, Dr. Danielle Stone, 39, always had a love for taking care of others.
In her spare time during her elementary school years, you could often find Stone visiting nursing homes to be with and help residents who didn’t always have family members come by.
Through these experiences, Stone knew she wanted to become a doctor, but she didn’t know exactly which specialty to choose.
It wasn’t until her time in medical school, when Stone’s interest in cardiology grew tremendously after her grandmother was diagnosed with a valvular problem that caused her to need a new valve.
Out of every other organ in the body, Stone became invested in learning more about the heart, its physiology, and all the pathologies associated with it.
After several years of study and specialized training, Stone feels thankful the time has finally come to do what she loves.
This month, Dr. Danielle Stone began working with the Harlingen Medical Center as its new cardiologist and is currently Cameron County’s only female cardiologist.
“I’m really excited to be down here and have the opportunity to see patients, help them and work,” Stone said. “I’m still just getting started, but I’m excited for what the future holds.”
Stone is from St. Joseph, Missouri, and graduated from medical school in 2013 from the Universidad Autónoma de Guadalajara.
She then went on to complete her pre-internship year at New York Medical College where she served as chief pre-intern.
Prior to working with the Harlingen Medical Center, Stone completed her internal medicine residency at the University of Texas at Houston in 2018 and completed her cardiology fellowship in 2021 at the same university.
Stone has specialized imaging training in cardiac CT angiography and has also trained in other areas, such as nuclear cardiology, pacemaker implantation, vascular imaging, cardiac transplantation and cardiac disease in women.
Stone said she greatly enjoys being able to help patients feel better and educating them to try to prevent them from developing more debilitating diseases that can change their whole life, such as if they were to have a heart attack.
“I really like to be able to expose my patients to knowledge and education and prevent that from happening and really try to make sure that they understand why it is so important,” she added.
Stone has a diet plan she’s proposed in Spanish and English so that she can give her patients a physical guide to take home to refer to so they know which foods to avoid, what things that they normally do eat that are actually good and what can be eliminated to tighten up their diet.
“We help people in cardiology by educating them and getting them to change the things that they used to do,” Stone explained. “It’s nice to be able to help them and see the outcome.”
Stone’s role model is her husband, Dr. James Stone, who is also a cardiologist.
“He has inspired me over the years with his energy and his positivity to be the best I can be and to never give up,” Stone said. “Together, we have studied medicine and cardiology alongside each other for the last 12 years and continue to learn from each other each and every day.”
Stone describes working in cardiology as never not being interesting because there’s always something new, such as pathologies and technology to help diagnose or manage cardiovascular diseases.
“It’s an exciting field,” Stone said. “You’re always learning every day and trying to help your patients so it’s really nice to get to see that.”
Stone said she was surprised to learn that she is Cameron County’s only female cardiologist.
“Women are still the minority and I think it’s because of the hours and time it takes in getting your education because it’s like three to four more years longer than most residency programs,” Stone explained. “With time, we’ve become more accepting of women being in medicine and even women being in cardiology.”
The advice Stone would give aspiring cardiologists is to never feel intimidated by the competitive field.
“It’s becoming more competitive because a lot of medical students are realizing how much they really do actually enjoy treating the heart and understanding it so it has become very competitive, but that shouldn’t discourage someone who wants to do it,” Stone advised. “It should make them be more eager to learn more about it, get out there, work hard, build their skills, be persistent and do it because it’s a great field that’s very rewarding.”