Raised in Patchogue, NY, Debra R. Judelson, MD attended college at MIT, where she majored in Metallurgy and Materials Science Engineering, won a national student award, and entered medical school planning to go into orthopedics. She found cardiology more to her liking, and ended up in Southern California where she joined Cardiovascular Medical Group of Southern California, married her college sweetheart and raised two daughters.
The most important events in her career started when AMWA gave her the opportunity to promote her passion, heart disease in women. As one of the few female cardiologists of her generation, she often spoke at AMWA meetings on heart disease in women, especially in the 1980s and early 1990s. It was at one of those meetings that an audience member offered to sponsor Dr. Judelson with a major grant to develop a program for training primary care physicians about risk factors, symptoms and diagnostic testing for coronary heart disease in women. She brought this grant to AMWA after the American College of Cardiology declined, stating “at this time, heart disease in women does not merit the focused attention such a program would bring.” Thus began AMWA’s ‘train the trainer program’ to educate master faculty and raise awareness in primary care physicians about heart disease in women in the early 1990’s, and to shape our CME curriculum. Dr. Judelson also helped develop a Gallop Survey that found that “4 out of 5 American women did not know that heart disease in women was their number one cause of death, and 1 out of 3 primary care physicians didn’t know this either.” The Gallop Survey results triggered a media frenzy, and Dr. Judelson traveled all over the country, on radio and TV to speak on heart disease in women.