“Is it true that there is an injection for HIV now?”
This is a common question many patients have asked me at the outpatient clinic over the past six months. It felt like a dream come true for most of my patients who had been taking daily medications since their diagnosis. To me as well, it was a remarkable advancement in the treatment of this disease, which has defined much of my J-1 physician training experience thus far.
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.
“One day at a time.” These exact words I continue to say to myself even after matching and beginning my residency. I had always known my goal was to pursue a residency in the United States. I would read medical books, articles, and other research done in the United States to complement my learning back home. I always thought to myself: “I want to find out how they’re discovering all these new things, participate in them, and hopefully bring innovative techniques back home.”
“This cannot happen… I just started my career. Open your eyes. Move your fingers. Wiggle your toes. Do anything you can to let them know you’re ok!” These are the things I said to myself as I heard the commotion around me. As I felt the excruciating pain of the freshly inserted chest tube between my ribs, I heard someone say, “She might need to go on ECMO, let’s call the team.”
This year we celebrated a historic day! On August 1, 2021, an original “IMG Event” brought together more than 400 international medical graduates (IMGs) in Central Park, New York City, with hundreds more connecting virtually.