This Cardiologist Loves the Stage
By Frank Rizzo
CALLICOON May 4, 2007 Despite continuous advances, cardiovascular disease continues to be the leading cause of death in this country and indeed the advanced world.
Dr. Saeeda Mahmud, M.D., wants to play a part in making a dent in this mortality rate as she assumes a part-time practice in cardiology and internal medicine on Tuesdays and Wednesdays starting May 1 at the Grover Hermann Division of the Catskill Regional Medical Center (CRMC).
“I want to practice preventive cardiology,” said the native of Pakistan recently as she sat in the bare room that would be transformed into her office at Hermann. “To educate people [in this region] and make them aware of what their chances [of having heart problems] are.”
Public health education has been one of the themes of her professional life. Dr. Mahmud hosts a program on cable called “Keys to Your Heart” and is busy on the lecture and seminar circuit with what she calls “state of the art info for both the public and doctors.”
Cardiology has come a long way in techniques and procedures, “but not a long way in education and public awareness,” she said. “Most people think [heart problems] are not going to happen to them.”
Dr. Mahmud believes that men should have a full cardiac work-up beginning at age 35, and for women, when they reach menopause.
“It’s a very dynamic disease,” she noted. “Genetics are very important and so is diet and cholesterol and smoking… and 101 things yet to be discovered.”
Ultimately, prevention begins with what she calls “tremendous discipline of lifestyle modification. Diet is very important we must ration our intake. We kill ourselves through our mouths.”
Dr. Mahmud has been practicing for 10 years, and after getting her medical degree in Pakistan studied in England and held fellowships at such prestigious hospitals as Maimonides and St. Luke’s-Roosevelt in New York City.
Her other affiliation is with St. Anthony’s Hospital in Warwick.
She had been approached by CRMC several years ago but was too busy at the time.
Recently she approached CRMC CFO and interim top executive Nick Lanza and they came to an agreement.
“We’re trying to serve better the western part of the county,” said Lanza. “It’s an underserved area medically.”
Dr, Mahmud will also be on call at Harris, according to Stuart Hirsch, the administrator of the Hermann Hospital, who noted that she gave a lecture on ‘Preventive cardiology and theory of wellness” at the April 28 Women’s Health Day at Hermann.
“Women don’t regard cardiology as their health concern,” Hirsch said.
Her other life
Dr. Mahmud is also proud of her work on the local stages. She has acted with, among others, Muddy Waters Players in Warwick and the Sullivan County Dramatic Workshop at the Rivoli Theatre in South Fallsburg.
She took on an italian accent to play the character of Emma Costanza in the latter’s production of “Over the River and Through the Woods.”
She had stage experience in both Pakistan and England and also did TV work in her native country.
“[Acting] gives you a better perspective on human emotions, what happens to families [in crises],” she noted.
“I love cardiology and I love dramatics, and you have to give 100 percent to each specialty,” she said.
Contact Dr. Mahmud at Hermann (887-5530) or her office (858-4666.)