Introducing the Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute Board of Ambassadors

Atrium Health Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute has been a leader in cardiovascular care in the region for more than 50 years. Founded by Dr. Paul Sanger and Dr. Francis Robicsek, who pioneered advanced heart care in the Charlotte area, Sanger has grown to more than 100 physicians and 25 care locations throughout the Carolinas. Atrium Health’s commitment to providing exceptional patient-centered care remains constant and is the force behind significant breakthroughs in heart care over the years. Sanger is home to some of the world’s most renowned surgeons – pioneers who not only perform the most complex procedures but who also developed the techniques and tools behind these surgeries. Virtually every type of cardiac surgery, including minimally invasive techniques and thoracic surgery, are offered, ensuring patients have the most innovative treatments available.

The Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute Board of Ambassadors was established in 2021 “to help advance Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute’s mission to improve health, elevate hope and advance healing for all, and its vision to be the first and best choice in the region for cardiovascular care.” Comprised of community leaders and donors, each member is an important champion for Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute, collaborating closely with Sanger’s physicians and leadership to advance care in the region.


Meet Charlie Izard, Chair of the Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute Board of Ambassadors

As a founding member and chair of the Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute Board of Ambassadors, Charlie has two primary goals: to ensure that members of the community think of Sanger first when faced with any cardiac event; and to inspire others, through his family’s giving, to invest in Sanger as it recruits some of the world’s best medical talent.

The Izard family’s recent $500,000 gift, coupled with a planned gift commitment, has established the Izard Family Fund for Excellence in Women’s Cardiovascular Care and the Izard Family Distinguished Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine. This funding will help Sanger recruit experts to address the unique needs and conditions associated with women’s cardiovascular health.

The generous investment into Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute was motivated by Charlie’s own life-altering health experience. In 2013, while Charlie and his wife Kathy were visiting their daughter at school in New England, Charlie suffered a major heart attack. At their hotel, Kathy witnessed her athletic husband – an avid fitness enthusiast – experience unusual and frightening symptoms that led the couple to a local emergency department. There, the Izards learned that the event was no ordinary heart attack, but one caused by an exceedingly rare cardiac condition: Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection (SCAD). Prevalent among young and middle-aged females, the life-threatening heart condition is diagnosed in less than a dozen male survivors worldwide. While the Izards were grateful for a successful outcome and for the excellent care Charlie receives locally at Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute, the experience of having to travel for care inspired his family to invest in making Sanger one of the world’s most preeminent destinations for cardiac care.