Renowned cardiologist and author Dr. Nieca Goldberg kicked off the College of Saint Elizabeth (CSE) Women in Science Day and the Annual Health and Wellness Fair at CSE on March 14, 2012. Dr. Goldberg, medical director of the Joan H. Tisch NYU Langone Center for Women’s Health, stressed the importance of studying and acknowledging differences in health issues for men and women. She also outlined career opportunities for CSE students as well as the more than 200 high school students in attendance. Her visit was made possible through a grant from the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies in collaboration with the Independent College Fund of New Jersey.
Dr. Goldberg was joined at the Women in Science portion of the day by four CSE alumnae – Amber Dessaigne, DMV, ’03; Erica Salerno, Ph.D., ’04; Michelle Luc, ’99, ’04; and, Emily Pomykala, ’11 -- who have careers in the science field. The day also included a health fair, demonstration of heart healthy deserts, as well as a book signing -- all open to the public.
“Inside men and women are different,” said Dr. Goldberg. “You can’t take studies based on men and use that research to treat women…It doesn’t work. Inside we are different.” She explained that the “Hollywood heart attack,” a middle-aged man holding his chest, is a misrepresentation of heart attack symptoms in a woman. Women often experience shortness of breath, upper back discomfort, fatigue, nausea and dizziness. Also, cholesterol builds up differently in women’s arteries, and aspirin for heart attack prevention works differently on men and women. “The health care industry needs more studies on women,” she added. She does, however, see strides being made as more women are becoming cardiologists and as heart disease rates decrease.
“I went to a women’s college and it inspired me to look at the other side of the population deeply,” Dr. Goldberg said, “My passion is preventing heart disease in women.” She has authored Dr. Nieca Goldberg’s Complete Guide To Women’s Health and The Women’s Healthy Heart Program—Lifesaving Strategies for Preventing and Healing Heart Disease. She is also a national spokesperson for the American Heart Association’s “Go Red” campaign where she has volunteered for more than 15 years.
CSE Alumnae Speak
Four CSE alumnae told students of their paths to science-related careers. Dessaigne, a veterinarian, studied biology undergrad and went on to study veterinary science at Tufts; Salerno, also a biology major, went on to earn her Ph.D. and has taught at Drew University, was an oncology analyst and is now a medical writer specializing in cystic fibrosis; Pomykala, a foods and nutrition graduate is continuing her education at CSE in the registered dietitian program; Luc, a chemist for L’Oreal USA in hair color research, was a chemistry major undergrad as well as a graduate student in management at CSE.
All expressed thanks to CSE for paving their career paths. “I thoroughly enjoyed my time at CSE,” said Dessaigne. Pomykala chimed in, “CSE is my second home. I feel as comfortable on this campus as I do in my living room.” Salerno added, “I was well prepared for graduate school,” And, Luc concluded, “In the small classes you get the attention you need…it’s great academically and CSE gives you the tools you need to be a powerful woman.”
The annual CSE Health & Wellness Fair also ran throughout the day in Saint Joseph Hall on campus. The Fair featured numerous vendors and exhibitions related to health issues, including Morristown Memorial Hospital which screened for cholesterol, glucose, and blood pressure; and the Mind, Body and Wellness Center, Summit, which had information on yoga and acupuncture.