Zachary and Joanna Dreyfuss – 20 Under 40

Zachary, 36

Dallas Pulmonary and Critical Care
Education: Tulane University School of Medicine

Joanna, 35

UT Southwestern
Education: Baylor College of Medicin

Zachary and Joanna are high school sweethearts who fell in love with Dallas while doing their medical residency training at Parkland/UT Southwestern.

“Even though Zach and I both grew up in Houston, we chose to come back to the Dallas area to settle,” Joanna said. “There is something about the connections that you make in residency that really tie you to a place – most doctors stay in the cities where they train.”

When picking a place to settle, they became drawn to the Park Cities because of the strong public school system, she added. “Obviously, as doctors, we have been in school for a long (long) time, and so education has always been very important to us.”

Zachary works in pulmonology as a partner at Dallas Pulmonary and Critical Care seeing pulmonary patients, including those with COVID-19, COPD, asthma, and other breathing problems. Joanna works in the Park Cities office of UT Southwestern’s Obstetrics and Gynecology department. 

“Obviously, as doctors, we have been in school for a long (long) time, and so education has always been very important to us.”

Joanna Dreyfuss

Zachary’s group covers many different ICUs across North Texas and sees pulmonary patients in hospitals and the clinic.

“This entire year has been the most challenging, from planning with hospital administration and staff regarding COVID prior to making its way to DFW, to seeing two to three times the number of critically ill patients that I normally see,” Zachary said. “Obviously, when the COVID numbers were so high, it was hard to make sure that I was giving all my patients the high-quality care that I expect myself to give. Sometimes I would have to take a break in my day and step out of the ICU so that I could recharge. It was also hard outside of work being isolated from friends and family and not being able to do the things we usually do to recharge (for us travel).”

Outside of work, Zachary coaches their daughter’s soccer team through the YMCA. 

When COVID-19 first hit, he did an online forum about it through Park Cities Chatter.

Fun fact that someone wouldn’t know about you:

Zach: I was the mascot at Rice University, Sammy the Owl

Joanna: I was a cheerleader at Duke University

Favorite nonprofit causes(s)?

Both: North Texas Food Bank. We also supported other food banks in cities around the country this holiday season where different family members live instead of giving traditional gifts.

What’s on your bucket list?

Both: Travel the world with our children. Our 5 month old already has a passport and global entry, but COVID is keeping us stateside for now.


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Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at [email protected]

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