Pediatric Cardiac Leader Passes Away

Published on: 07/31/2015
MIAMI — It is with deep regret that Nicklaus Children’s Hospital announces the passing of esteemed colleague and exceptional pediatric cardiologist, Dr. Richard M. Zakheim.

Dr. Zakheim made significant contributions to The Heart Program at Nicklaus Children’s. He joined the department in 1977 to lead the expansion of existing medical cardiology services and served as its medical director until 2002. During his role as medical director, Dr. Zakheim’s vision was to establish a center that was second to none with a full cardiac program for children with both congenital and acquired heart disease.

He also served on the hospital’s Medical Executive Committee from 1984 to 1985 and from 1987 to 1988. Until most recently, he specialized in the follow-up and treatment of adults with congenital heart disease. Dr. Zakheim was honored by the Miami-Dade County Commission for his lifetime commitment to saving lives and his contributions to the community. The commissioners declared Tuesday, June 4, 2013 as Dr. Richard Zakheim Day.

“Dr. Zakheim will be deeply missed, however he has left his permanent imprints of hope and commitment to every child he cared for during his remarkable career.  He was an excellent colleague and an outstanding clinician who will always be remembered by all of us and by the countless families and children whose lives he touched,” said Dr. Deise Granado-Villar, Senior Vice President of Medical and Academic Affairs and Chief Medical Officer.
“The Heart Program at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital is saddened by the loss of our beloved friend and colleague Dr. Zakheim. He was an incredible physician who leaves behind a rich legacy of caring for pediatric cardiac patients. He was a teacher, visionary and mentor to all,” said Dr. John Rhodes, Medical Director of Pediatric Cardiology Services and the Adult Congenital Heart Program.
“I had the great pleasure of working side by side with Dr. Zakheim for two decades. He was the consummate physician – devoted to his family, dedicated to his patients, supportive and kind to his colleagues, appreciative of his staff, and deeply knowledgeable about his profession. He was one of a kind and his impact on us will endure,” said Dr. Redmond Burke, Director of Cardiac Surgery.

Prior to joining Nicklaus Children’s, Dr. Zackheim was Director of the Pediatric Cardiology Program at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.  Dr. Zakheim received his medical degree at Albert Einstein Medical School in New York and trained in pediatric cardiology at Children’s Hospital Boston. Additionally, he completed a fellowship in physiology at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Zakheim served in the U.S. Air Force from 1969 to 1971 as pediatrician and cardiologist at Malcolm Grow Medical Center. He was Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatrics and the Sub-board of Pediatric Cardiology. He was also a Fellow in the American College of Cardiology and contributed generously to literature in pediatric cardiology.

Dr. Zakheim is survived by his wife Pamela, daughter Amy, son Alan and grandchildren Brett, Nadine, Emory and Colby.

About Nicklaus Children's Hospital (2022)

Founded in 1950 by Variety Clubs International, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital is South Florida’s only licensed specialty hospital exclusively for children, with approximately 800 attending physicians, including more than 500 pediatric subspecialists. The 309-bed hospital, known as Miami Children’s Hospital from 1983 through 2014, is renowned for excellence in all aspects of pediatric medicine with many specialty programs routinely ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report since 2008. In the 2022-2023 U.S. News ranking, the hospital tied with two other hospitals as the number one children’s hospital in Florida. The hospital is also home to the largest pediatric teaching program in the southeastern United States and since 2003 has been designated an American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet facility, the nursing profession’s most prestigious institutional honor. For more information, please visit

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