Dr. Joseph to Study Women’s Heart Health
After a competitive interview process, Lee Joseph, MD, MS, has been selected as the next Telemachus and Irene Demoulas Family Chair for Women’s Health and will lead a cooperative effort between Winchester Hospital and Lahey Hospital & Medical Center (LHMC).
Dr. Joseph is a cardio-vascular physician in the vascular medicine section of LHMC’s Division of Cardiovascular Medicine. Her clinical work and research are focused on women’s cardiovascular disease. Under the Demoulas-funded program, she will be creating a Center for Comprehensive Women’s Heart Health.
“We are thrilled that the Demoulas Family Chair is funding a unique program that is focused on cardiovascular disease, the number one killer of women,” said Glorianne Demoulas. “When we established the Telemachus and Irene Demoulas Family Foundation Chair for Women’s Health, we wanted to be part of programs that would truly make a difference in women’s lives.
“Raising awareness for women’s cardiovascular health issues is crucial. Together with Dr. Joseph’s exciting heart health program, our family is looking forward to making a huge difference in the future of women’s healthcare,” she said.
Cardiovascular disease kills the same number of women each year as cancer, respiratory disease and diabetes — combined. About 75 percent of cardiovascular events in women are preventable, but much stands in the way. Symptoms of cardiovascular disease vary between the sexes, and women react differently to medications at different ages and stages. Men traditionally have been the predominant focus of medication studies, so research and data for women’s cardiovascular health are limited. “We extrapolate data to treat a female patient,” Dr. Joseph explained. “Women’s cardiovascular disease has unique features and can appear at any stage of life — during pregnancy, well before or after menopause — and we do not yet have the benefit of data to help manage women’s disease. It’s time for a new approach.”
The clinic will be based at LHMC and include care by several medical specialties. Women with or at risk for cardiovascular disease will be recruited starting in mid-2021 from both Winchester Hospital and LHMC. Over the next three years, the center will create support groups with wellness components, expand the number of patients involved, participate in clinical trials, organize community awareness programs, and educate providers and researchers about cardiovascular disease in women.
“The new Center for Comprehensive Women’s Heart Health has some unique features that no other programs around the country have,” said Frederic Resnic, MD, chair of the division of Cardiology at LHMC. “It includes both the hospital-based clinic and a community component, which is critical for educating women and men about women’s cardiovascular disease so that we can prevent it. The hospital clinic, too, is unique in that it is more comprehensive than others, including having behavioral medicine specialists as part of the patient’s team.”
Patients treated as part of the new program will be cared for by a team including but not limited to primary care providers, cardiologists, obstetricians, gynecologists, endocrinologists and behavioral medicine specialists.
“As a physician, I am devoted to treating women with cardiovascular disease, so I am extremely appreciative of the Demoulas family’s generous support of this program. This is a win for the program and the community we serve,” Dr. Joseph said. “My goal is that this new approach will lead to advances, innovations and discoveries that will improve outcomes for female patients and increase their longevity.”