SOM Student Runs for a Purpose at the New York City Marathon
Jessica Rosen, SOM Class of 2024, Brings Awareness to Endometriosis One Step at a Time
Jessica Rosen, SOM Class of 2024, brought awareness to endometriosis with every step she took at the New York City Marathon. Representing Team EndoStrong on November 5, Rosen was one of 50,000 runners traveling 26.2 miles across the five boroughs and raised $4,000 for the Endometriosis Foundation of America in a commendable four hours, 19 minutes and 23 seconds.
Being a part of Team EndoStrong holds a special significance for Rosen, who has family members and friends who were diagnosed with endometriosis, a disease that causes tissue similar to the inner lining of the uterus to grow outside the uterus. “My family and friends had consistent pelvic pain, heavy menstrual bleeding and other symptoms from a young age, and were often told that it was all part of being a woman,” said Rosen. “I saw the struggle that they went through just to obtain some validation that what they were experiencing was actually something more.”
While approximately 190 million woman and girls around the world are diagnosed with the disease, studies show it can take as long as a decade or even longer before they receive a diagnosis. Throughout her undergrad studies, Rosen learned more about endometriosis and ways she could help support her family and friends through their diagnosis. Just a couple of years later, during her general surgery rotation at Lenox Hill Hospital, she would perform joint surgeries on women with endometriosis with Tamer Seckin, M.D., the founder and president of Endometriosis Foundation of America.
“I remember meeting all the patients prior to their surgeries and hearing their stories,” Rosen said. “They would talk about how much endometriosis had affected them physically and emotionally, including not being able to fulfill career and educational opportunities due to the severity of their pain.”
Advocating for women’s health and athletics are nothing new for Rosen. Aspiring to become an OB/GYN after medical school, she grew up playing a multitude of sports, including volleyball, basketball, track and her favorite, soccer. As a young athlete, she noticed that women’s health was not being discussed among her peers. This led her to educate herself on ways she could do more for the women in her community. Rosen is also passionate about incorporating nutrition into her studies, helping to found and lead the Culinary Medicine Area of Concentration and Interest Group at New York Medical College.
Rosen started running in 2022 when she joined a local running group in Queens, Team WEPA, and later was accepted as a runner for Lululemon's running group, Noname, in New York City. A few months later, she participated in her first marathon, the New York City Marathon, and continued to run, participating in the IRONMAN 70.3 Atlantic City this past September. “It was an experience like none other. You have the entire New York City community coming together and cheering for you,” she said about last year's New York City Marathon. “I really wanted to run it again this year, but I wanted to give meaning to my marathon journey.” One of the staff members of Dr. Seckin mentioned to Rosen that they had a marathon team running for endometriosis and welcomed her to join.
Balancing medical school, fitness and nutrition, Rosen practices what she will soon be preaching to her patients – putting her health first. Training while in school came with its own challenges, but she knows the importance of making sure her cup is full so that she can pour into others. Scheduling training days and study breaks, while prioritizing her medical career, became a vital part in her getting ready for the marathon.
After seeing what her loved ones endured to finally get their proper diagnosis, Rosen strides to be a doctor who listens and advocates for her patients during the most vulnerable times in their lives. “I think it's really important as a physician to meet your patient where they are, be able to help give them the resources they need and be a team player with them,” she said. “As physicians we have to listen wholeheartedly to what they're going through and help them find the answer.”