Welcome to our Provider Spotlight feature, which gives you an opportunity to get to know one of our skilled providers each month as they share some friendly details about themselves.
Disha Mookherjee, MD, FACC, is a cardiologist at Saratoga Hospital and a member of Saratoga Hospital Medical Group – Cardiology. She is board certified in Internal Medicine with a subspecialty certification in Cardiology. Dr. Mookherjee completed her fellowship at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL. Following ten years of service as a cardiologist at St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth, MN, she joined Saratoga Hospital, returning home to Upstate New York. Dr. Mookherjee was born and raised in Syracuse and has family locally, including a sister who is a cardiologist at Albany Med. Dr. Mookherjee and her husband live with their two daughters in Saratoga County.
Q. Why did you choose a career in medicine, and why this specialty?
A. I come from a family of cardiologists—my father, sister, and brother-in-law are all in the field. I grew up in medicine, going on rounds with my father as early as five years old.
But I didn’t choose cardiology because of my family. I chose it because, in medical school, it was the organ that made the most sense to me. Not to mention, heart disease is one of the most researched areas of medicine. With new innovations frequently changing the field, there is always something new and exciting to learn and offer patients. Cardiology also allows me to help patients one-on-one. I can let them know I see and hear them as a whole person, that I am committed to their health and well-being. Helping my patients heal is the number one reason I love my work.
Q. What about the heart makes more sense to you than the other organs?
A. Since the heart is a pump, we can relate to it as we would our own home. It has rooms, plumbing, and electrical wiring. All of these things have to work properly together for you to be healthy. It’s the center of your entire self. There’s so much we can do today to prevent heart disease, and, if you have it, so much more we can do to help you live a long life.
Q. Busy women tend to push through pain to get work done. How does a woman know if her pain warrants calling 9-1-1?
A. As a general rule, you should always take your pain seriously—it’s telling you something is wrong. But whether or not it’s a 9-1-1 call? Trust yourself. You know when something’s really wrong. Intuition is real. Unfortunately, it’s been characterized as hysterical or overdramatic to the point that women don’t even take themselves seriously. We’ll take a pain reliever and lie down for a bit, or work through the pain to finish a task.
There is a dedicated effort around the world to help women recognize heart attack symptoms. If you are experiencing any kind of chest discomfort that you’ve never had before, if it’s radiating into your arm and shoulder blades, and if you are sweating or having nausea, call 9-1-1. The best thing that could happen is that you show up in the emergency room and they say it’s not serious. No, you don’t look overdramatic, you aren’t wasting anyone’s time. That’s their job.
We don’t need permission to call 9-1-1. Trust your intuition. Make the call. Remember, you are priceless.
Q. What might patients be surprised to learn about you?
A. I am a Chopra Center certified meditation teacher. I used to teach cardiac rehabilitation patients how to use meditation as a part of their recovery. I hope to do that again soon.
I like to say that I am a cardiologist who deals with all matters of the heart. I treat the whole person as much as I can. Many patients have not considered meditation or other stress-reduction activities. We can put stents in your heart, bypasses, give you medication, but I feel we haven’t done enough to heal your heart if we don’t talk about the stress that led to the problem.
In 2008, my husband and I lost our first daughter, Ria. Our lives changed forever. My journey through grief has taught me many lessons, especially compassion. It also taught me the importance of taking time to be at peace. Meditation is such an important tool for overall well-being, even in the darkest times.
When you see me, we’ll talk about why life is important to you. The “why” does matter. It’s why cardiologists come in at three o’clock in the morning to save your life. It’s why your heart pumps. It's about life, love, and joy.
My role is to guide and partner with patients who are ready to change their lifestyles so they can live at their healthiest, even after a heart attack. I’ve seen patients completely turn their lives around, lose weight, stop smoking, and become the best version of themselves. It is my honor to be a part of that.
To learn more about Dr. Mookherjee and the cardiovascular services at Saratoga Hospital, click here.