What inspired you to become a physician?
Growing up in outside of the US, career choices were very few, you could either become an engineer or a doctor. I always had a great interest in biology and deeply enjoyed the subject. Also, I enjoy interacting with people, and what better way to interact with people and touch their lives than being a physician. Furthermore, as a researcher and an educator I can do a lot of meaningful work together with other fellow researchers, colleagues, and mentees. There are very few professions where you can be involved in patient care, do research, teach, and at the same time make a good living, and these are great reasons to be a physician.
Who has had the greatest influence on your career?
I would say my parents and early teachers because I am the product of a family that moved through two countries. My family is originally from India, and they moved to Bangladesh because of financial constraints. Then war broke out and they had to move to Pakistan, so you can imagine it was a struggle for my family. My parents always told me something that they had learned over the years: you can lose everything, but as long as you have a sound mind, you’re still going to retain all the abilities that you have acquired through good education. Where I come from, education is not a right, but a privilege, and my parents, who unfortunately were not able to get very good education, sacrificed a lot and gave me all the possible resources they could so I could get a good education. Their sacrifices served as my biggest inspiration. I would also mention the mentors throughout my professional career. These individuals have given their time, expertise, and advice without expecting anything in return.