BY DONNA CRARY
For more than 30 years, cardiologist Dr. Joseph Gage has helped patients overcome heart disease so they can remain healthy and preserve their quality of life. He says being a physician is a privilege that allows him to build long term relationships with his patients.
“There’s really no other job out there where you have the opportunity to help so many people in such important ways,” he says. “There is no other job where you can make that kind of difference in people’s lives.”
Gage is also the managing partner of his medical practice, Stuart Cardiology Group, which has 90 employees and two locations in Stuart and Tradition in Port St. Lucie. The practice, he says, is centered on the philosophy of putting patients first.
Gage quickly credits his team of medical professionals, who share the goal of achieving that mission. “A large part of me looking good professionally is what they do for me, for the patients and for the practice,” he explains. “I’m the frontman. My success is built on the determination and commitment and loyalty of the people who work here. My administrators have been with me for over 25 years. There is a high level of satisfaction among the clinicians here, so our attrition rate is very low.”
Born in Brooklyn, Gage grew up in New York City, where his father, Frank, worked hard as a mechanic. No one in his family had gone to college before, much less attended medical school. While in high school, Gage imagined becoming a musician, but his father had other plans.
“My father wasn’t a man of a lot of words,” Gage recalls. “During this time, we were at dinner and he said, ‘You’re going to college.’ And to let you know where I was at, I said, ‘Four years? Or can I just go two?’ I had asked one question too many. He furrowed his brow and said, ‘I don’t care. Just go to college.’”
Gage’s father made sure he was enrolled at an academically challenging all-boys high school on Staten Island, where his teachers took a genuine interest in his studies. Initially, Gage still clung to his dreams of becoming a musician and resisted applying himself. But soon he rose to meet the school’s high educational standards as he discovered a love for learning. He became an advanced student and earned a college scholarship.
He attended New York University, where he received an undergraduate degree in biology and a medical degree. He studied internal medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, doing research on congestive heart failure that was published in international journals. After completing his medical education and training in New York, he moved to Stuart in 1991 and began his cardiology practice.
Gage treats patients who have a variety of heart conditions. He commonly treats those with chronic illnesses, which include coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure or arrhythmia, such as atrial fibrillation. Other patients who have risk factors such as family history, high cholesterol or high blood pressure come in for early prevention to detect and manage their cardiovascular disease. Depending on the condition, he comes up with a specific treatment plan to stabilize the patient.
“Stabilization can be just treatment with medicine and then adjustment, addressing their risk factors,” Gage explains. “Or it can mean that they came in very unstable and they needed cardiac surgery. We stabilize them and afterwards, we work on preserving the improvement they initially got from their cardiac surgery. It’s very satisfying to me to take a patient who has some degree of cardiovascular disease and stabilize them and celebrate their fifth, 10th, or 15th anniversary of care.”
Robert Lord, former president of Cleveland Clinic Martin Health, is one of Gage’s patients. He has had three cardiac stents and double bypass surgery — and is grateful to be under Gage’s care.
“Dr. Gage helped me through some of my life’s biggest challenges,” he says. “He not only skillfully treated my physical condition. His recognition, compassion and wise counsel regarding how my heart-disease diagnosis and later open-heart surgery had affected me mentally have been a tremendous blessing for me.”
To provide exceptional healthcare, Gage says he’s always learning and honing his skills, so he is up to date in the field of cardiology. He also enjoys educating his patients to be advocates of good health.
“What I have witnessed over the years is that, while it’s always possible that people can get broadsided by unexpected illness, most of our destiny is in our control,” he says. “If we eat the right foods, stay active, and we stay happy — these are all things that contribute positively to health. I include happiness because I treat a fair amount of depression here. It’s an epidemic.”
When Gage is not busy treating patients and saving lives, he enjoys running in marathons, flying airplanes and is currently working on his commercial rating. He also builds computers, does aerial photography, 3D modeling and printing, and has even taken Italian lessons.
As the busy cardiologist looks into the future, he says he has no plans of retiring from medicine.
“I live through people that I work with. I live through my patients,” he says. “My life is in the job. I also have a good marriage and truly a happy life. Between my successful home life and my professional life, I just feel like I can keep going.”
DR. JOSEPH GAGE
Lives in: Stuart
Family: Wife, Patricia; sons, Mark and Christopher
Education: Bachelor’s degree in biology and medical degree from New York University; completed internship and residency at Bronx Municipal Hospital Center and internal medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York; certified by the American Board of Cardiovascular Disease and the American Board of Internal Medicine
Hobbies: Distance running, competing in marathons, including New York; flying; building computers; 3D modeling and printing
Who inspires you: “I’m inspired in different ways by different people. My biggest inspiration has been my wife. She is a clinical child psychologist and is extremely altruistic and productive. Most importantly, she has enormous compassion.”
What most people don’t know about me: “I think my appearance to the community is, ‘You’re Dr. Gage: physician leader, practice manager, board member, pilot and high achiever.’ But fundamentally, I’m extremely sensitive and a caring person. I don’t think people realize that I’m a softie.”
Sept. 27, 2023