Young Leader

“I Admire American Working Methods”

Nicole Karam is an epidemiologist and cardiologist at the Georges-Pompidou Hospital in Paris, and was a Young Leader for the French-American Foundation last year. After studying medicine at Saint Joseph University in Beirut, she moved to France in 2010 to specialize in interventional cardiology. Her research is focused on the epidemiology of sudden cardiac death in adults and its link to coronary diseases.
© Jami Mathewson

France-Amérique: What have you learned from de coronavirus crisis?

Nicole Karam: These weeks devoted entirely to patients, during which our teams were more united than ever, revealed the true beauty of the work we do as caregivers. In social terms, the crisis has made me admire our ability to adapt to new situations, no matter how unpredictable.

You are a member of the Sauver le Cœur des Femmes association, which aims to raise awareness about cardiovascular problems. Why?

Women have traditionally been seen as less affected by cardiovascular diseases. As a result, they are tested less and receive fewer warnings about these problems than men. However, while women are relatively shielded from cardiovascular diseases until the menopause, their risk quickly rises afterwards to equal that of men. What’s more, the contraceptive pill can aggravate risk factors among young women by increasing cholesterol levels, for example. In the current context, cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death among women, greater than breast and cervical cancers. I wanted to join this association and carry out research into cardiovascular diseases to raise awareness among women (and, unfortunately, certain doctors) about this danger, and to try to improve prognoses.

You traveled with French and American leaders to Chicago in October 2019. What aspects of U.S. culture would you like to see more of in France?

I admire American working methods and the fact their ideas are often pragmatic and explicit. This avoids the ambiguity and vagueness of the French method. However, I find that these differences tend to be less obvious in the medical field, where French-American interactions are frequent.

Interview published in the June 2020 issue of France-AmériqueSubscribe to the magazine.