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About the Event

Birthplace    
Montserrat

Current residence    
New City, NY

What are your favorite hobbies or activities you do for fun?
Reading, gardening, travelling.

Do you play any musical instruments?
I like playing the piano.

Do you play any sports or do any athletic activities?
I like swimming and walking.

What is your favorite non-science book, magazine, or blog?
Harry Potter series.

What’s the most frequently played song on your mp3 player (or other music-playing device)?
Ed Sherin’s new song Thinking out loud, last year it was “Happy” by Pharrell.

How do you describe yourself?
Fun loving, optimistic, happy and eager to help.

Who do you look up to and admire?
I admire Oprah, Michelle Obama, and Hilary Clinton.

Other bio info that you’d like to share    
I have a great family including two wonderful pets.

Highest degree attained    
Medical doctorate

Future degree(s) planning on pursuing, if any
Master of Public Health

Schools attended    
Columbia University, SUNY Downstate

Favorite classes/coursework in elementary school, middle school, high school, college    
I always loved science throughout, loved chemistry, biology and English the best.

What educational accomplishments are you most proud of?    
I am proud of my medical degree.

What kinds of challenges did you overcome during your education?
Having a family while attending school is challenging but can be overcome.

Employer    
Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Official title    
Associate Professor of Medicine

“Layman’s” title
Doctor

Years in this organization/position    
4 years

What does your organization do?    
It is a medical center.

What is your role in the organization?    
I take care of patients, teach and educate including educating the community

Describe your work environment
It varies depending on what I am doing on a day to day basis. I can be with patients in a office, or in the hospital or at a meeting or conference

What tools and/or techniques do you use in your job?
I use a stethoscope to examine patients, I review certain tests like EKG’s and other heart studies

Describe a typical day in your job
The day differs but for instance on a Monday, I will come in and perform office duties, followed by seeing patients and then meetings. On some days I will go offsite to see patients. On some Wednesdays, I go into the community to lead a workshop

Describe an atypical day in your job
An atypical but notable day is seeing patients on an island far in the Caribbean sea, and having to improvise sometimes as I don’t have all of the usual equipment available to take care of patients.

How is the work you do important to society?
My work is important to society as it improves the health of people but especially the sickest and the ones who need the most help.

What accomplishments are you most proud of in your current role?
I am proud of being able to provide so much help and care to the people who need it most around the United Sates when I teach in various communities. I am proud that my team and I have been able to provide care on the island of Montserrat for four years in a row.

What projects or goals are you currently pursuing?
I am hoping to establish a state of the art cardiovascular center on the island of Montserrat. That island and many of the neighboring islands do not have this much needed care.

What are the biggest challenges you face in your work?    
The biggest challenges that are faced include not being able to provide all of the essential things to patients in a timely way sometimes because of insurance issues or lack of resources.

What is the most exciting, most amazing, or scariest thing that has happened to you during your work?
The most amazing, exciting but scariest thing that happened to me is when the brakes gave away during a trip on the island of Montserrat when I was driving my team to see patients at the hospital. I had to steer very carefully and pray that we would get to a flat stretch of land on that very hilly island before going over a ravine. Luckily we saw a good space to steer into and we were safe.

What would a teenager find interesting about what you do?    
A teenager would be interested in the work I do in the communities, providing education and showing people how to engage in proper nutrition. They would also enjoy travelling to the island of Montserrat and seeing how the people live but how they have similar health issues as do the people in the USA.

What’s the coolest part of your job?
The coolest part of my job is getting to meet so many different people each day and learning a bit about them.

What are some of the perks of your job?
Some of the perks are that I get to travel to unusual places. Next year I will be talking at a session in Egypt but later will get to visit the Pyramids and the river Nile.

What are the downsides of your job?
Downsides of my job involve the amount of time that I spend, sometimes I am away from home and I miss my family during these times.

If asked to “sell” this career to someone, what would you say to convince them to pursue it?
The career is very cool, it is very versatile – one can add or create other activities in addition to the main one of seeing patients. One can travel and meet new people.

What’s something that most people don’t know about your job/work?
People do not know how hard we work but also the very long time it takes to get trained and finally become an attending physician.

What are the biggest misconceptions people have about your job/work?
The biggest misconceptions that people have about this type of work are that all doctors are rich and famous. It takes many years to begin to realize one’s potential.

What personal traits make you well suited for the work that you do?
I am patient, kind and caring. I also listen carefully to people before making conclusions

What career-related awards or other forms of recognition have you received?
I have receive several awards for my contributions to the community and for volunteering with organizations such as the American Heart Association

Previous employers and positions that have lead to your current role
I trained at Albert Einstein School of medicine during my residency. I trained at Cornell Medical Center for my Fellowship. I worked at New York Hospital of Queens and Harlem Hospital Center all of which helped to shape my current position.

Other positions not necessarily related to your current career
Volunteer membership on the board of the American Heart Association.

Best job you’ve ever had and why    
I have enjoyed all of my positions so I don’t really have a best one

Biggest career “break” or notable moment    
One of my proudest moments was being recognized as a “Luminary” by the American Heart Association for my work with heart disease in women.

Proudest career accomplishment    
Proudest career accomplishment was being elected as National President of the Association of Cardiologists

What were you like as a kid?
I was very adventurous and inquisitive. I was often the leader of the pack.

What were your favorite books/shows/movies when you were a kid?
I used to like books about mystery and adventure. My favorite movies were the Sound of Music and Mary Poppins.

What did you think you were going to be when you grew up at age 12? At age 15? At age 18?
I wanted to be a doctor.

When did you know you wanted to pursue your current career, and what drove you towards it?
I always knew that I wanted to be a doctor but when I saw and injured animal as a teenager I really knew that I wanted to aid in helping people to be well.

Who inspired you on this path?
I was inspired by the research that I saw on sick dogs while I was doing college work study

What did you believe about this career before entering into it that proved to be different once you were in?
In this career, one has to always study and always be up to date on facts and new developments. I didn’t know that I would have to keep taking tests throughout my career

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing now, what other career(s) might you have pursued?
I might have perused interior design or decorating.

Why did you agree to become a STEM Role Model?
I love to pass on my knowledge and experience to kids. I hope to inspire someone to follow in my footsteps.

What advice would you give a student interested in pursuing your career?
It is a great career to pursue, lots of opportunities. If you are interested identify a mentor early on so that you can ask questions and be prepared.

What advice would you give students in general?
Students should follow their dreams, any thing is possible as long as one is persistent.

What are some interesting places you’ve traveled?
I have travelled to the Rock of Gibraltar that was quite interesting and scary. I saw the population of monkeys (wild and tame) who live there. I was driven up the rock on a steep single street incline which was fascinating. The Andalusian Mountains in Spain were also very interesting. Also the underground caves in the Cayman Islands.

What question should we have asked you but didn’t?    
What do I do to relax? Music therapy, gardening, having some down time away from the career.

Additional resources
Learn more about the Montserrat Healthy Hearts project on YouTube 

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