Name: Sucheta Doshi
Profession: Physician, with Specialty in Family Medicine & Public Health/General Preventive Medicine
Location: Boston, MA
Tell us a little about your educational background
I am a Physician but I didn’t take the traditional route that most South Asians think of when they think of medicine. I studied Political Science and History for my undergraduate degree at Wellesley College and then went to graduate school at Boston University where I completed a Master’s in Public Health, focusing on health policy and global health. I worked for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, GA for two years before deciding to go to medical school at Trinity College School of Medicine in Dublin, Ireland, after which I completed two residencies in family medicine and preventive medicine and public health at Dartmouth and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, respectively.
What led you to where you are today?
I am fortunate that after residency, I was able to return to the Centers for Disease Control to pursue the Epidemic Intelligence Service program in Applied Public Health where I was able to work on the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in Uttar Pradesh. It’s interesting to note that back then it was also the hotbed for all polio activity in India, a country that recently became certified by the World Health Organization as polio-free earlier this year. To have been able to participate in the movement to eradicate the next human disease after smallpox, especially one that impacted India so greatly, is what fuels my dedication to improving vaccination coverage and controlling disease outbreaks.
What pushed you to become involved with the Indian medical community?
I became active with the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) while I was a medical resident. My experience there led me to become more active on the local level with the Indian Medical Association of New England (IMANE) where I started off as the young physician representative in 2007 and eventually became the youngest President of the 34 year old organization in 2012. IMANE has a huge scope to provide quality improvement initiatives, through community outreach on important health topics affecting the Indian community such as tuberculosis and diabetes, through physician advocacy, mentorship for young physicians, and educational activities.
How would you respond to someone who was interested in a career in medicine?
I believe being a doctor is one of the most rewarding professions that one can belong to since you have the flexibility to address the needs of the entire community through various sectors. You can find a cure through research for a deadly disease affecting millions, you can inspire a young medical student through teaching to become an accomplished healer, you can touch an individual’s heart through direct patient care, or you can impact populations by developing national or international health policy. The possibilities are endless but the personal satisfaction of helping even one person lead a healthier life is priceless.
What advice do you have for budding professionals?
I have three pieces of advice that are all linked together. Choose a career that will help you make an impact in this world to create a better world for future generations. In order to make that impact, introspection is crucial so you can understand the type of impact you wish to make. Take the time to develop your creativity and communication skills, your knowledge base, and become friends with your inner self. With insight and perseverance, the right career path will materialize to help guide you toward future happiness.
What is your favorite thing to do when you are not at work?
I love to travel; exploring new countries and cultures is as essential to my life as breathing! I have been to six out of the seven continents and eagerly hope to be able to venture to Antarctica someday. I love spending time with my family and friends and all forms of dancing from Classical Indian to ballroom; above all, no summer is complete for me without several trips to the beach to listen to and swim in the ocean.
Do you practice any Stress Relieving methods?
Aside from swimming, I recently realized the true importance of understanding ones inner self as a form of stress reduction to help achieve inner peace and prevent future stressors. It turns out, reflection is quite important. I used to worry about the future a lot and this would prevent me from appreciating everything I have in the present. I have begun meditating more regularly adding mindfulness techniques to my daily activities as a way to increase awareness of my current state and be thankful for every blessing.
Give us a key mantra to live by.
I have always followed Mahatma Gandhi’s principle that “you must be the change you wish to see in the world.” People will often say they want things to be different but in order to truly change the status quo, it is up to ourselves to change first and then put our best foot forward toward making the positive impact in the world we wish to see.