I have been a geriatrician at Weill Cornell Medical Center since 2009 when I joined the Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine as a faculty member. I knew I wanted to pursue Geriatric Medicine during my internship after I had the opportunity to work with some amazing clinicians. I focused on this goal throughout residency and was able to complete my fellowship in Geriatric Medicine at Weill Cornell.
I became interested in medicine as a kid, when I used to spend summers filing papers at my dad's primary care office. He eventually let me tag along for home visits and nursing home visits. I enjoyed seeing him connect with his patients and their families.
I studied Anthropology in college. I like learning about people, beyond their medical diagnoses. As I thought about my career during residency, I realized that all of these experiences contributed to my interest in geriatrics.
India has been a special place for me. I spent countless summers visiting my grandparents and family here. I even participated in a study abroad program here.
Over the past several years, family and friends have reached out to ask about the care of their older relatives which prompted me to start exploring geriatric care in India.
I am privileged to receive a Fulbright Award and collaborate with the Janaseva Foundation to explore geriatric care in India. I have so many people to thank for this opportunity including my family, my co-Chiefs and colleagues within the Division of Geriatrics at Weill Cornell, Dr. Vinod Shah and the Janaseva Foundation and the Fulbright team.
I have an 11 year old son Soham and a soon to be 9 year old daughter Sia. When they first heard about my opportunity to work in India, I have to admit they were both in shock and there were some tears. The idea of living in another country was so foreign to them that they weren't sure how to feel.
It's been a few months since we started planning for this trip and they have now accepted that we will be going on this adventure together. They have packed their books and journals and we've talked about some of the fun activities they can try in Pune, from tennis to yoga. Fingers crossed that they will have an experience of a lifetime!
Everything that I have accomplished thus far, I owe to my parents who have been with me every step of the way. I clearly remember my first day of college, I was only an hour away from home but I still cried. It hadn't even been a full 24 hours and my dad came back to visit. My first week of medical school and we were already knee deep in reading assignments. My mom drove two hours to drop off books that I had left at home. When I gave birth to Soham, my entire family made it to the 2am birth and my mom stayed with me for 4 months to help me adjust to being a new mom.
I clearly had not thought through all of the personal logistics when I applied for a Fulbright Award with a project based in India. My mom being who she is immediately volunteered to travel with me. And my dad also jumped in on the opportunity to spend some time in India with our family.
In addition to my parents, I am lucky to have a very supportive husband in Vaibhav. I landed in New York City and have been able to grow as a wife, mother and physician with his endless support.
So when I contemplated applying for the Fulbright Award, he encouraged me to move forward with it. When I found out I received the award, he was ecstatic.
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