From as early as I can remember, my family physician inspired me to help others. His ability to care for everyone in the community, from old to young, left me in awe. It became my life goal to follow in his footsteps. Before entering medical school, I knew I wanted to become a family physician. After all, growing up in Oracabessa, Jamaica, a very rural community, that was the only type of doctor I knew. Fast forward to now, years later, I have traveled to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to complete my residency training to become a family physician.
In 2010, as a young and ambitious medical student, I found myself at a crossroads in my career; I was considering leaving my home country of India to pursue advanced medical training in anesthesiology in the United States. A decade later, in 2020, I was presented with a remarkable opportunity to serve as the program director of the anesthesiology residency training program at The University of Toledo. My passion for anesthesiology and my experience as an international medical graduate (IMG) led me to take this role supporting aspiring physician IMGs, like I once was.
The decision to pursue cross-cultural experiences in one’s medical career takes courage and an eagerness to explore new frontiers. I write this blog in hopes that some of you reading this are international medical graduates who are considering this option and will derive some inspiration from my experience. My desire to do a residency in the United States ignited as I was finishing medical school in India. The infrastructure and advancement of modern medicine in the United States and the opportunities for career development and research intrigued me.
The pursuit of a career in medicine has been a lifelong dream for me. I inherited a passion for learning and an unwavering commitment to achieving excellence from my academically focused Indian family. Encouraged by the values instilled in me by my parents, I attended and graduated from one of the most prestigious medical colleges in the state of Gujarat in my home country of India. After I completed my education, I dreamt of taking the next step in my medical career in the United States, where I could study the intricate inner workings of the human brain and have the opportunity to contribute to the global advancement of neurological care.
Since I was a young child, my father taught me to dream. That is how a young me, with no medical background or exposure to the healthcare profession, dreamed of becoming a provider one day. I graduated from B.J. Medical College, which is affiliated with one of the largest hospitals in Asia, Civil Hospital, Ahmedabad. I was introduced to research and the science behind it during my practice, and it was then that my dream expanded: I dreamed of one day becoming a physician-scientist. The idea of juggling caring for patients, where every patient poses a new question for science, and working in the lab to discover answers to those questions, sent an adrenaline rush to my system. It was then that I decided to pursue the dream of furthering my medical education in the United States, due to its large investment in the research sciences.