For the media

Women leading the way in cardiovascular medicine

By The Health News Team | August 25, 2023
Heart doctors at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center

From left to right: Dr. Meena Narayanan, cardiovascular disease and medical director of cardiac rehabilitation; Dr. Deepthi Sudhakar, interventional cardiology; and Dr. Nancy Ly, cardiovascular disease

Heart disease affects millions of people in the U.S., many of them women. Among women, a staggering 90% have at least one risk factor for heart disease at some point in their lives, including stress, obesity or pregnancy-related complications, such as high blood pressure.

Fortunately, the majority of incidences of heart disease are preventable, and many can be successfully treated through lifestyle changes, medication or surgery.

This is why the unique heart health needs of women require the skill and experience of trained physicians. At Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, patients have access to a multidisciplinary team of doctors representing nearly every subspecialty of cardiovascular medicine, including interventional cardiology, electrophysiology, cardiothoracic surgery and cardiac rehabilitation.

And among these heart experts at Sharp Chula Vista, a group of female cardiovascular medicine physicians are uniquely suited to deliver quality women’s heart care.

Heart health becomes personal
Women physicians have historically been underrepresented in the field of cardiovascular medicine. While women comprise nearly 50% of medical school graduates in the United States, the field of cardiology remains male-dominated.

Currently, women represent about 1 in 5 general cardiology fellows. Beyond the post-graduate training physicians must complete, the percentage of women cardiologists in practice drops to just 12.6%, which is why there are few female cardiovascular physicians on staff at hospitals.

However, at Sharp Chula Vista, there are six: Dr. Farah Dawood, cardiovascular disease; Dr. Alexandra Kharazi, cardiothoracic surgery; Dr. Nancy Ly, cardiovascular disease; Dr. Seemal Mumtaz, cardiothoracic surgery; Dr. Meena Narayanan, cardiovascular disease and medical director of cardiac rehabilitation; and Dr. Deepthi Sudhaker, interventional cardiology.

A few of them are leading the charge at a dedicated women's acute cardiac care unit located within Sharp Grossmont Hospital for Women & Newborns, and the Postpartum Heart Health Clinic located in the Burr Clinic.

For these doctors, heart disease among women can feel deeply personal.

“My mother had a heart attack my first day of medical school, which motivated me to be a cardiologist and help other women with cardiovascular disease,” says Dr. Dawood. “My experience truly helps me relate to patients and their families. I’m honored they trust me to be part of their journey.”

Dr. Narayanan adds that cardiology is a rewarding field to work in because physicians have a direct impact on a patient's health.

“As a female cardiologist, it is important for me to empower our female patients,” says Dr. Narayanan. “Often, women are busy caring for loved ones and managing careers, so their own health becomes less of a priority. We need to encourage women to care for their hearts as well.”

For the news media: To talk with a cardiovascular medicine physician from Sharp Chula Vista, contact Erica Carlson, senior public relations specialist, at

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