Dr. Rachana Kulkarni was given the Woman of Distinction award by the American Heart Association for her work in creating awareness on women’s heart disease.
The award was presented to her at the Garden State Go Red for Women luncheon held in Princeton, New Jersey, which according to NJBiz, was celebrating 15 years.
NJBiz said that Dr. Kulkarni is a managing partner and a cardiologist at Medicor Cardiology. She is also the chair of the department of medicine at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in Somerset.
Kulkarni stated the “award is presented to individuals who raise awareness of cardiovascular health among women and empower women with resources to improve the health of the community and advance women’s issues in the Garden State.”
Kulkarni said that she has been passionate about women’s heart disease for years.
“Twenty years ago, when I went into the field of cardiology, I understood I am going into a field dominated by my male colleagues. Little did I know how deep the disparities ran…Lack of representation in the field of cardiology … translated into a lack of understanding of (heart) disease, lack of recognition of the disease, which lead to delays in the treatment, and later on translated into adverse problems for women,“ she said in an interview with NJBiz.
And so not only did she want to represent women in this field but she wanted to look out for them as well and raise awareness of women’s heart disease.
“I made it my professional life’s goal to raise awareness of heart disease in women so that we can do better. Eighty-five percent of heart disease is preventable, and we just need to grab that opportunity,” she said to NJBiz.
“Women do not pay attention to their symptoms. Heart disease is atypical in women,” she added informing NJBiz that each individual experiences different symptoms and that women, especially business women, “don’t take enough care of themselves.”
Kulkarni also explained to NJBiz that not much research has been done on women’s heart disease because it is said to be more prominent in men and that “women’s heart disease is poorly understood.”
“Lack of awareness, on the part of even physicians, led to lack of diagnosis and a lot of women had their symptoms written off as anxiety and stress,” she told NJBiz noting that every working woman has stress as she is “always in caregiver mode, juggling 10 balls in the air.”
NJBiz also stated that “according to Stephern Allison, chairwoman of the Garden State Go Red event, at least 670 women’s lives have been saved through greater awareness.”