For heart health month, we hear from cardiologist Dr. Nandita Gupta. For almost 25 years, Dr. Gupta has put women’s heart health at the center of her career. She offers woman-centered care through the Women’s Heart Program at OHSU and is Medical Director of Cardiovascular Service Line and Associate Chief Medical Officer at OHSU Health Hillsboro Medical Center. She has repeatedly been voted as a Portland Monthly Top Doctor in cardiology, including for 2022.
Dr. Gupta is also is a member of the Board and President-Elect for American Heart Association of Oregon and Southwest Washington, and she heads up the local chapter of Mended Hearts, a program for survivors of cardiac events.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was raised in Delhi and graduated medical school from the University of Delhi. I moved to the United States in 1998, and completed my residency at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. I came to OHSU for a cardiology fellowship; my husband, who is also a cardiologist, and I thought Oregon would be a great place to raise a family.
What made you decide to become a doctor?
I was born with a congenital heart defect. When I was 8 years old, I underwent open heart surgery and spent several weeks in the intensive care unit. The experience inspired me to go into medicine, and, more specifically, to become a cardiologist.
You specialize in cardiovascular health, with a particular focus on women’s heart health. What made you choose that path?
Heart disease is the leading cause of death among women by far. Statistics indicate that one in three women dies from heart disease, and most of those women are unaware that they are at risk. Most of the population does not know that heart disease is different for women than it is for men. Symptoms, risks, prevention, and outcomes are all very different for women.
What is one thing you wish every woman knew about cardiovascular health?
It is estimated that 80 percent of heard disease-related deaths among women are preventable. It is important to know your heart risk and to monitor it. For example, many women do not know that certain pregnancy outcomes can put a woman at higher risk for future cardiac events. Identifying postpartum or other risks means that we can focus on prevention and treatment.
"Dr. Gupta’s expertise and commitment to women at risk for and those living with heart disease is truly remarkable. We share a vision for a future women’s cardiovascular program that transforms how women understand their current and future risk for heart disease and empowers women to improve their health and the cardiovascular health of their families and communities." - Dr. Johanna Warren, Director, Center for Women's Health
Cardiology remains a male-dominated specialty, with females representing only 14% of practicing cardiologists. You have followed an inspirational path. What words of wisdom do you have for women interested in pursuing careers in historically male-dominated fields?
My advice would be to follow your passion. There can be many challenges along the way, face them with grit and perseverance. Surround yourself with family members, friends, colleagues, mentors and sponsors who believe in you and your work, support you and lift you. It does take a village.