A Leadership Style with Odayme Quesada, MD

A Leadership Style with Odayme Quesada, MD

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Celebrating female leaders who have advanced in their careers because they have integrated work and life through whole-self wellness.

Did you know at heart disease is the #1 killer of women, taking the lives of 1 in 3 women across the country? February is American Heart Health Month and I’m thrilled to welcome Odayme Quesada, MD of The Christ Hospital Health Network to our region.

Dr. Quesada at Cedars Sinai Women’s Heart Health Day with colleagues, 2020

Dr. Quesada has spent the last 17 years of her life completing education and training to become what she dreamed of when she was a child. Her journey in patient care and clinical research has led her to become a cardiologist and NIH clinical investigator in women’s cardiovascular health and disease and now the founding medical director of the first Women’s Heart Center in the tri-state area at The Christ Hospital Health Network.

Odayme has made it her life’s mission to support women’s heart through not only delivery of care but also through important research. Critically, Dr. Quesada has built the Women’s Heart Center around recognizing unique risk factors for women, such as pregnancy, and the distinctive ways heart disease can present in womenShe is currently leading research focused on understanding the link between pregnancy health and heart disease, specifically with women who suffered from preeclampsia as they are known to have three to four times the risk of high blood pressure and double the risk for heart disease and stroke later in life.  “There is still a lot we don’t know about women’s heart health- it is important for women to sign up for research to support future advancements.”

Dr. Quesada, MD was born in Cuba and immigrated to the US when she was 5 years old.  Knowing she wanted to become a cardiologist as early as elementary school, she attended Yale Medical School and has moved coast-to-coast pursuing her dream. There is no doubt about it: Dr. Quesada is likely the hardest-working person in any room.  She’s a hustler like many physicians at the top of their field, but is her hustle sustainable? According to a recent study 51% of female physicians claim to be experiencing burnout. This alarming statistic highlights an important issue of long-term, unresolved stress in healthcare workers.    

Photography & Styling by Jerin McIntosh

How does she combat burnout? By staying active, eating a healthy diet and following her passion for women’s heart health, Odayme is able to find her “center” amidst a demanding career and lifestyle. “It is imperative to integrate wellness to daily life for life fulfillment” said Dr. Quesada. “Physical activity and yoga are ways I stay active-  I just got a Peloton and I’ve really enjoyed using the bike during the winter months.”

Dr. Quesada walks the foundation of her nutrition is based in the Mediterranean diet which largely high in fiber, low in saturated fat and include “healthy” monounsaturated fats, like those found in olive oil, which do not raise cholesterol levels.  

In part 2 of this story we’ll share more about Dr. Quesada’s areas of strengths and opportunity across the 8 pillars of wellness and unpack more of her wellness survival kit.

To learn more about Odayme Quesada, MD visit The Women’s Heart Center at The Christ Hospital.

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Glossary of terms: 

Womxn: noun, plural wom·xn [wim-in] /ˈwɪm ɪn/. a woman (used, especially in intersectional feminism, as an alternative spelling to avoid the suggestion of sexism perceived in the sequences m-a-n and m-e-n, and to be inclusive of trans and nonbinary women)