1. In less than a minute, tell us who you are and why we keep hearing good things about you?
I am an Infectious Diseases specialist and have been practicing in Miami Beach for nine years. I work in HIV and sexually transmitted infection treatment and prevention, along with all infections in general, including COVID-19.
During my time in practice, I have also expanded my career as a physician to include medical education, deriving great joy from working with medical students, international observers, interns, and residents over the years.
I began experiencing fatigue, unhappiness, and overall dissatisfaction with my work some years ago, leading me on a journey of self-discovery and mindfulness, along with collaborations such as with this wonderful foundation, to integrate mindfulness into medical education. I want to create a space during residency training that opens the door to transforming paradigms in healthcare, to vulnerability, to healing.
2. What were the pivotal roadblocks and challenges you encountered along the way that helped you define your path?
Looking back, the biggest roadblock I encountered along the way was my mindset. I like to refer to this mindset as “my saboteur,” otherwise known as my inner critic, a term coined by my life coach. It took many years, but I learned that I am not my thoughts, that I am not an imposter in this life, that I have a unique purpose. In order to get to this place, I had to understand how the culture of our medical training lends itself to these mindsets and to approach this transformation with self-compassion.
3. Why did you choose this field? Who were your role models? And what pushed you to learn and become who you are?
As with many of us when starting out medical training, I had a strong curiosity about the ability of physicians to heal people and had a reverence and honor for this. I had a strong interest in disease states, anatomy, systems, etc., all throughout medical school. However, in residency, things began to shift. I noticed that the science behind the diseases no longer interested me as much. My passion and focus shifted to the human connection, to how I could best understand and empathize with my patient. My role models became physicians with humanistic qualities, with bedside manners and empathy for others and the unique story of their suffering.
4. What is your legacy? Do you care about leaving a legacy?
I have only recently begun to think in terms of leaving a legacy. For many years, my thinking has been more about “what’s next,” as I progressed through phases in school, training, more training, initial career moves, etc. What I can say now about what I want my legacy to be is to learn to live life dedicating myself to SERVICE, to always being up to something bigger than myself, to connecting to a healing force through cultivation of compassion and connection, and inspiring others, particularly other physicians, to do the same. I wish for all suffering with illness to understand their healing powers.
5. What can we all do right now to make this world a better place?
Our world is incredibly polarized right now. Social media and technology allow us to isolate into echo chambers of opinions and belief systems. Add a quarantine to the mix, and this separation at times feels unsurmountable. I say what we can do right now is engage in conversation with those whose viewpoints drastically differ from ours and listen with a beginner’s mind, with an openness to understanding.
6. In less than a minute, without sounding like a used car salesperson, tell us where to find you and what is the next big thing that everyone should be anticipating from you?
You can find me on a yoga mat and with my nose in a book! (when I’m not working long hours in the hospital, of course). I am on a beautiful and introspective journey to cultivate compassion and connection with colleagues and patients. I am powerfully committed to transformation right now, starting with helping young physicians understand that peace is a mindset away, that mindfulness is accessible to everyone, and that our future as healers depends on our own healing. One dream I have is to study MBSR and adapt this curriculum to medical residency programs across the country, a student and absolute novice (me!) bringing teachers together within the medical community.
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