Kaplan Fights For What She Believes In:
Honored at NYU School of Medicine
Pola Rosen, Ed.D.
was a grand turn-out for "Tea with Our Doctors," an innovative
approach to disseminating information about women's health, honoring
an individual whose contributions to medicine have been outstanding
and raising money for the New York University School of Medicine,
one of the oldest and most venerable in the nation. Founded by
Carol Levin, the 14th conference had gaily-colored tables with
one or two physicians at each, specialists in disciplines such
as cardiology, advanced cancer treatments, alternative medicine,
mood swings, and radiation therapy. Along with the plentiful tea
sandwiches and sweets, women asked questions about their own health,
those of their families and of general concern. Every 10-15 minutes
a bell rang and women could change to another table or stay where
According to Dr. Daniel Roses, a breast surgeon, the traditional
methods of treating cancer, surgery, radiation and chemotherapy,
will gradually yield to the new phase of molecular biology and
genetic testing to identify high-risk populations. This holds
a great deal of promise for the future. Currently, among the three
screening devices used, sonography, MRI and mammography, the latter
is still the best.
Dr. Martin Blaser, Chief of Medicine, spoke about the "terrorists
being successful and unsuccessful. They are successful in getting
our attention and making us worried. They are successful in disrupting
our economy; they are not successful in conquering our spirit."
He went on to say, "If I were the President of the United States,
I would make sure that every American would get the smallpox vaccine
if needed. We should be stockpiling it."
In discussing increasing heart disease in women, Dr. Larry Chinitz
recommended taking a baby aspirin daily. "Empower yourself with
knowledge of the symptoms, which can be a pressure sensation in
the chest; it could go into your jaw or arm and stops when exertional
activity stops." Dr. Chinitz believes in treating the elderly
just as aggressively as younger people.
Rita and Stanley Kaplan founded the Kaplan Cancer Research Center
in 1983. Speaking about her compassion for all the patients at
the medical center, Rita Kaplan's thoughts went back to 1947 when
she wanted to be a physician. Her father underscored the difficulties
she would have as a woman in medicine so she turned to a career
in social work. Stanley tried to get into medical school in 1937-38
and even though he was Phi Beta Kappa at CCNY, he was turned down.
"Through his brilliance in knowing what doctors needed to learn,
he helped many, many others become doctors," said Rita. She continued,
"I fight for what I believe in. If you do that, people will eventually
hear you. Clinics are the most important thing in our building.
My grandparents went to Bellevue for health care. I want New York
women to be healthy and their children to be healthy." She referred
to her three children, one who had been ill, one who had died
and said these heartfelt words: "When you get bad news, you grieve
for 48 hours and then you fight." The theme of the new center
will be butterflies and will be decorated with photos of immigrants
from all over New York City.
Rita Kaplan is an inspiration to all of us to fight for what we
believe in, to never lose our sense of compassion for others,
and to truly become victors.
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