The heart, weighing under a pound, beats 2.2 billion times in an average 70-year lifetime and pumps the equivalent of 2,500 to 5,000 gallons of blood daily. Blood travels through 60,000 miles of tiny, pipe-like vessels to supply every vital organ in the human body.
Houston has long led the world as a center for the study of cardiovascular disease – the leading cause of death in both men and women—for innovations in treatment, and, increasingly, as a site for preventive medicine. This series of talks will explore the heart itself, the emotional repercussions of heart disease, the future of heart repair and replacement, and will include a tour of research labs at the Texas Heart Institute.
April 15—Dr. Stephanie Coulter, a cardiologist, is dedicated to preventing heart disease through research, education, and outreach. Focused on discovering the symptoms of cardiovascular disease in women, she is developing the most effective, least invasive diagnostic tools, treatments, and prevention strategies as director of the Center for Women’s Heart & Vascular Health. Dr. Coulter will give a virtual tour of the heart using state-of-the-art animation tools and explain what the heart is, what it does, and what can be done to keep it healthy.
Dr. Coulter earned her MD at the University of Texas Medical School, Houston. She completed internships in medicine and internal medicine at Beth Israel Hospital in Boston and completed fellowships in general cardiology and echocardiography at the Massachusetts General Hospital and in clinical epidemiology and clinical trials at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
April 22—Lisa Bundick Hulick and Rebecca Trahan both experienced life-threatening episodes of heart trouble in 2011. Both were healthy, young women at the time of their health crises. Ms. Hulick and Ms. Trahan will discuss how they live with heart disease. As the faces of Women Heart Houston, the self-described “co-hearts” have launched initiatives designed to assist other patients and also to increase awareness of heart disease in women
Ms. Hulick, a wife and mother, had just turned 50 when she experienced sudden cardiac death in 2011. After she was stable, she received a stent and heart catheterization. Today, Ms. Hulick continues to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Ms. Trahan, a long distance runner, dismissed her heart symptoms until a visit to her doctor revealed she had suffered a spontaneous dissection of her left main coronary artery. She received an emergency triple bypass. Today she is back to work and back to running.
April 29—Dr. M. Cristina Ivan is a psychiatrist with a special interest in treating patients suffering from the psychological distress caused by medical conditions. Depression, anxiety, and grief are all recognized symptoms that arise in the aftermath of heart disease. Dr. Ivan will explain the emotional shifts that follow these events and treatments that assist in recovery.
Dr. Ivan trained in nephrology in Romania and France, and in internal medicine in the United States. She received her psychiatric training at Baylor College of Medicine. She remains at Baylor teaching and providing inpatient treatment and consultations at Methodist hospital.
May 6—In his quest to repair damaged hearts, surgeon and scientist Dr. Billy Cohn has turned to invention and innovation. He is best known for his role in the development of a continuous-flow artificial heart pump. The continuous-flow heart pump mechanically moves blood through the body but does not generate a pulse. Holder of numerous patents and in great demand as a speaker, Billy Cohn is changing the landscape of heart repair.
Dr. Cohn is a cardiovascular surgeon and the director of minimally invasive surgical technology at the Texas Heart Institute. He is the co-director of the Cullen Cardiovascular Research Laboratory, an associate professor of surgery at Baylor College of Medicine, and adjunct professor of bioengineering at the University of Houston. Dr. Cohn received his BA from Oberlin College and his MD from Baylor College of Medicine.
May 13 - Dr. Doris Taylor, a pioneer in the emerging field of regenerative medicine, bases her research on the concept that the body will accept an organ generated from its own stem cells. Her ground-breaking research strips hearts and other organs of their cells, leaving a scaffold that serves as the foundation for a bioartificial organ reseeded with healthy stem cells. In September 2013, Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced the creation of a Center for Cell and Organ Biotechnology, a collaboration between Texas A&M University and the Texas Heart Institute, led by Dr. Taylor.
Dr. Taylor is the director of regenerative medicine research at the Texas Heart Institute. Dr. Taylor holds a BS in biology from Mississippi University for Women and a doctorate in pharmacology from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas.
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