Why is Women’s History Month important to you?
This month is significant because it celebrates women and their indelible role throughout history as thinkers and dreamers, learners and teachers, advocates and challengers. The fabric of life is woven by diverse threads, each integral to its strength and composition.
Have you encountered any challenges in your journey as a woman, and if so, how did you overcome them?
My international experience with health care as a trainee and a professional took me across several continents with work among different cultures in myriad circumstances. Certainly there are challenges to functioning in a male-dominated society, especially to women in authority or leadership roles, but with each adversity, I also encountered respect and support from colleagues and friends. I saw those experiences as an opportunity to grow and reflect in my own self.
Has there been an influential woman in your life who supported or inspired you on your journey into health care/medicine?
I have seen incredible joy and beauty in this journey but also significant adversity. It is during those trying times that one reflects on what brought them to medicine in the first place. My mother has been that inspiration for me. As a constant guide that focuses me on ‘”the purpose of life” and “to see beyond one’s self.” Because the sweetest joy comes from doing good in life, for there can be no better good than sharing knowledge and helping those in need. It reminds me of the verse by Iqbal that reads “Be not afraid of the furious gales, O Eagle. They only serve to elevate you.”
Describe your journey into health care.
I went into medicine as a very reluctant teenager. It was the “noble” profession. My heart was in the arts but advice was to be able to apply my mind and serve humanity. And so it was, a child helping birds with broken wings went on a most incredible roller coaster of experiences, from devastating trauma of wars, earthquakes and famine, to the exhilaration of listening to a Nobel laureate and the deepest unmatched joy of a saved life. This journey was dotted with excitement, awe and bewilderment, ferocious courage, tenacity and perseverance. It taught humility and compassion, dedication and curiosity, so much so that the ability to apply my mind and serving humanity became a personal definition.
What is special about MassGeneral Hospital for Children?
It strikes you when you walk the corridors - that buzz of knowledge and advancement, the energy of the new, the stoic foundation of old, the fragrance of compassion and the tactile feel of courage and determination. It’s present and whole.