Lauren Gray Gilstrap, MD, MPH, was a renowned cardiologist and researcher who specialized in advanced heart disease and cardiac transplant. She was also a professor at the Geisel School of Medicine and The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. She passed away on October 21, 2022, at the age of 38. Her death was announced by the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center on Twitter. The cause of her death has not been disclosed by her family or the authorities.
A Passionate Clinician and Scholar
Gilstrap was born in Dallas, Texas, and graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2006 as a Truman Scholar. She then attended Harvard Medical School, where she completed her MD degree with honors in 2010. She also obtained a master’s degree in public health from Harvard School of Public Health in 2012.
She completed her residency in internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and her fellowships in cardiovascular medicine and advanced heart failure and transplant cardiology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She joined the Heart and Vascular Center at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in 2018 and became the head of the Advanced Heart Disease and Transplant Cardiology program in 2021.
Gilstrap was known for her excellence in clinical care, research, and education. She worked to improve the quality of care for patients with heart failure and to advance the field of cardiac transplantation. She published over 50 peer-reviewed articles in prestigious journals such as JAMA Cardiology, Circulation, and Journal of Heart and Lung Transplantation. She also received several awards and grants for her research, including the American Heart Association Career Development Award and the National Institutes of Health K23 Career Development Award.
She was also a dedicated teacher and mentor who inspired many students, residents, fellows, and colleagues. She was an associate professor at the Geisel School of Medicine and The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. She also served as a faculty advisor for the Dartmouth Outing Club.
A Person of Deep Faith and Love
Gilstrap was not only a brilliant cardiologist and researcher, but also a person of deep faith and love. She was a devout Christian who attended the River Church in Hanover, New Hampshire. She cherished her family above all else. She is survived by her wife, Janet Milley, and their two children, Katelyn and David. She is also survived by her parents, Stephen and Susan Gilstrap, her brother, Matthew Gilstrap, her sister-in-law, Jennifer Gilstrap, and her two nieces, Emma and Lily.
She enjoyed many outdoor activities such as skiing, snowboarding, paddleboarding, mountain climbing, and traveling. She also loved music, art, literature, and history.
A Loss Felt by Many
Gilstrap’s death has left a void in the hearts of many who knew her personally or professionally. She was remembered by her colleagues and friends as a “force to behold”, a “dynamo”, a “firecracker”, a “team player”, a “triple threat”, an “amazing person”, a “passionate teacher”, a “kind” and “thoughtful” person, a “compassionate” and “honest” doctor, a “patient advocate”, an “inspiration”, and a “gift” to the world .
Her patients also expressed their gratitude and sorrow for losing such a caring and skilled physician. One patient wrote on Twitter: “Dr. Gilstrap saved my life when I had heart failure last year. She was so kind and supportive throughout my recovery. I am heartbroken to hear of her passing. She was an angel on earth.” Another patient wrote: “I am so sorry for your loss. Dr. Gilstrap was my cardiologist for two years. She was always smiling and optimistic. She gave me hope when I needed it most. She was the best doctor I ever had.”
Her family also shared their grief and appreciation for the outpouring of love and support they have received from the community. They wrote on her obituary page: “We are overwhelmed by the love that has been shown to us during this difficult time. Lauren touched so many lives with her brilliance, compassion, generosity, humor, and joy. We are proud of her accomplishments, but more importantly, we are proud of who she was as a person. She was our daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt, friend, doctor, teacher, mentor, leader, adventurer, believer…she was our everything.”
Lauren Gilstrap cause of death remains unknown to the public. However, what is known is that she was a remarkable woman who made a lasting impact on the world of cardiology and beyond. She will be dearly missed by her family, friends, colleagues, patients, and students. She will also be remembered as a role model and a legacy for future generations of cardiologists and researchers. May she rest in peace.