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Several pictures of doctors who are featured on the Local Legends web site

MEET LOCAL LEGEND: Debra R. Judelson, M.D.

Picture of Debra R. Judelson
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Debra R. Judelson, M.D.

“I'm passionate about raising women's awareness of heart disease. Our biggest challenge is helping our patients understand their risk.”


Brad Sherman


In PDF format



Debra Judelson was an award-winning engineering student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology preparing for a career in metallurgy and materials science engineering when she decided to take some pre-med courses. "I loved engineering and materials, but my friends kept taking me to these great courses they had in the life sciences," she recalled.

So after her junior year, she enrolled in a new Health Sciences and Technology program offered jointly by MIT and Harvard Medical School in which she could complete her engineering degree and earn an M.D. Her undergraduate research in engineering was to become one of the pillars of a long and meritorious career in cardiology encompassing innovative outreach programs for women's cardiac health.

To Judelson, the switch from engineer to cardiologist was not surprising. "When you think about it," she said recently, "there is a lot of engineering in cardiology. The heart is an electrically triggered pump served by arteries and veins carrying fluid in flexible tubes, and all the engineering principles apply to the flow of blood and development of blockage. So for me, it was a natural transition."

A former president of the American Medical Women's Association (AMWA), in 1995 she created its Education Project on Coronary Heart Disease in Women, a continuing medical education program enlisting 30 AMWA master faculty who lecture to primary care physicians in their local communities about the risk factors, symptoms and diagnostic testing for heart disease in women. The program y has reached more than 16,000 physicians and health care providers and is credited with increasing national awareness of heart disease in women.

Nominated as a Local Legend of Medicine by Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA-27), Judelson is a senior partner with Cardiovascular Medical Group of Southern California and Director of their Women's Heart Institute, where she is acknowledged for her clinical practice, work in health education and community outreach. A vocal advocate for women's heart health, she also chairs the Women's Health Policy Council of Los Angeles County's Office of Women's Health which develops and implements local health programs for women.

She was honored by the American Heart Association in 2002 with its Excellence in Women's Cardiovascular Education award, and in 2000 by The National Coalition of Women with Heart Disease ( with its Excellence in Educating the Healthcare Profession award. Active in national medical groups, Judelson chaired the Women Physicians Congress of the American Medical Association from 2000 to 2003 and, in 1999, received the Camille Mermod Award from AMWA for helping to initiate and manage its website.

She is a sought after speaker on women's health and heart disease who has appeared on Good Morning America and the Oprah Winfrey Show, and has been published in numerous medical journals, popular print publications and websites. She is the lead author of The Women's Complete Wellness Book

"I'm most proud of creating the Women's Heart Institute and in educating American women and their physicians about heart disease," Judelson says. "My goal has always been to make things better for my family and my community."



Joins the Cardiovascular Medical Group of Southern California, making Senior Partner in 1991


Elected 81st President of the American Medical Women's Association


Founds and becomes Medical Director, Women's Heart Institute (associated with the Cardiovascular Medical Group of Southern California)


Receives Excellence in Women's Cardiovascular Education Award-American Heart Awards, American Heart Association Western States Affiliate, Los Angeles




Harvard-MIT Joint Program in Health Sciences and Technology, Harvard Medical School, Boston



Sub Specialty

Internal Medicine