Dr. Jeannette Nee

Meet The Neighbor
Dr. Jeannette Nee
By Callie Thomas

In life, each decision leads one toward a specific path, and as those decisions gain momentum, they create a fabric of adventures, challenges, loss and love.  For Dr. Jeannette Nee, the heart of the matter has always been about making a difference.  Whether that’s improving the lives of others as an interventional cardiologist with Cardiovascular Consultants of Nevada, now a division of Healthcare Partners, or fostering and caring for animals through The Animal Foundation. 

Dr. Nee received her degree in molecular biochemistry and biophysics from Yale and did her cardiology fellowship at Stanford, which places a heavy emphasis on research. Her decision to move toward the research side extended her stay at Stanford by two years doing laboratory research, but a desire to work directly with patients moved her to Henderson in 1997 where she became part of the cardiovascular team at Cardiovascular Consultants of Nevada. “For nearly twenty years I had the privilege of improving the health of my community, one patient at a time,” says Nee. “I retired at the end of 2016 and looked for rewarding volunteer opportunities that involved physical activities, but were low stress, especially after having been in a high stress profession for decades.” Over her career, Nee has volunteered in emergency rooms, rape crisis programs and battered women’s shelters.  She and her husband, also a physician, had even volunteered for six months at a medical clinic in Southern Highlands Province of Papua New Guinea and wanted a change. “I’ve always had a love for animals and looked for opportunities to work with them.”

That decision led to volunteering at Spirit Therapies, which uses therapy horses to help people with physical or mental challenges, but it was thirty miles one way from her home.  Although it was an active and highly rewarding experience, she eventually transitioned to volunteering at the Nevada SPCA.  After socializing with the shelter dogs and cats and walking their dogs, Nee’s desire to foster animals led her to The Animal Foundation. “Fostering promotes effective socialization and improves an animal’s chance of getting adopted,” she said. “I realized I could help, not to mention the sheer fun of interacting with kittens and puppies!” The Nee family started by fostering a puppy for The Animal Foundation’s Best in Show fundraiser last year and became hooked. This year’s Best in Show event takes place later this month and involves over 100 volunteers.  “After my first foster experience, I became one of the many volunteers and, so far, have fostered two puppies and twenty-two kittens!”

Nee’s entire family have enjoyed fostering animals for the foundation, and even their yellow lab, Max has gotten into the act, being a very kind and patient big brother to the other animals. “Some of our funniest laugh ‘til it hurts moments have been with the foster pets.  I believe that caring for them has helped bring my family even closer together.”  The Animal Foundation’s mission is to provide a humane and compassionate community for all animals and to save the lives of all healthy and treatable animals in the Las Vegas Valley. “Like people, each animal has their own personality, problems and issues but communicates differently. It can be very fulfilling to figure out how to help one particular animal and see them improve with each visit.” As a doctor, Nee also acknowledges the health benefits of fostering. “Interacting with animals lowers blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides and provides opportunities for exercise, outdoor activities and socialization.”

Dr. Nee has led a very successful life and is proud of her career and her two daughters.  Although her life has not been without its challenges and losses, she attributes her accomplishments to being very focused, determined and independent, and having a strong work ethic that she learned from her parents. “You can never work too hard. Always do your best and never give up a struggle worth fighting for.”