JWS Lecture Series: Protecting Women's Heart Health and Advancing Economic Equity

Through its Jane Wilson Smith (JWS) Lectureship Series, MAC partnered with Tulane’s National Institutes of Health (NIH)-supported Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health (BIRCWH) program and Newcomb College Institute’s (NCI) Fridays at Newcomb series this spring to host lectures focused on educating women to become more aware of themselves in both health outcomes and economic equity. These lectures specifically had focuses on heart disease in women from Dr. Bairey Merz and gender economic equity from Ms. Ariane Hegewisch.


This spring’s first lecture was given on February 19 in collaboration with the BIRCWH program, where distinguished speaker Dr. C. Noel Bairey Merz presented an “Update in Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD) in Women: Monet vs. Manet, or why women have more adverse IHD outcomes.” Dr. Merz is a Professor of Medicine at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, and she currently holds the Women’s Guild Endowed Chair in Women’s Health, is Director of the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center, the Linda Joy Pollin Women’s Heart Health Program, the Erika J Glazer Women’s Heart Research Initiative, and the Preventative Cardiac Center at Cedars-Sinae Heart Institute. She is a fellow of the American College of Cardiology and a fellow of the American Heart Associate. Currently, Dr. Merz is serving as the chair of the NIH WISE (Women’s Ischemic Syndrome Evaluation) initiative, which researches diagnosis and evaluation of ischemic heart disease in women. Her research that she presented at this lecture focused on women’s heart health and disease, mental stress and heart disease, the role of exercise and stress management in reversing heart disease, the role of cholesterol and nutrition in management of heart disease, and heart disease and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Dr. Merz is both an abundantly published researcher, with over 260 scientific publications, and an excellent lecturer on her work, as seen by her many television appearances, providing insight as an expert in heart disease and stress. To learn more about Dr. Merz’s research and to hear her speak, check out her 2011 TED talk on The Single Biggest Health Threat Women Face, where she explains what we know and what we still need to learn about women’s heart health today.


The second JWS lecture series partnered with NCI’s Fridays at Newcomb series, where most Fridays Newcomb College Institute hosts a free lunch and lecture that is open to the public on Tulane’s uptown campus. This Fridays at Newcomb lecture on April 13 partnered with MAC to host Ms. Ariane Hegewisch, the Program Director for Employment & Earnings at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research in Washington, DC, a Think Tank organization focused on women’s economic and social equality. Ms. Hegewisch participates in research on the gender wage gap, occupational segregation, and workforce development. She has a background working as a senior researcher and lecturer on human resource management at Europe’s Cranfield School of Management, one of Europe’s top business schools, and as a policy advisor on gender, employment, and industrial policy in London. At this Fridays at Newcomb lecture, Ms. Hegewisch spoke and presented data on “The Gender Wage Gap: Why so little progress towards equal pay?” The lecture compared the U.S. to other country’s economic systems and discussed what policies can lead to achieving economic gender equity. To hear Ms. Hegewisch speak on the economics of equal pay, check out her CSPAN appearance.