• November 27, 2020

Physicians feel called to teach - Odessa American: Local News

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Posted: Friday, November 20, 2020 11:51 am

Although they weren’t looking for recognition, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Medicine recently feted many of its physicians/faculty members for their efforts.

Dr. Gary Ventolini, regional dean and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at TTUHSC, said the awards ceremony has been held since he came to the Permian Basin almost nine years ago to thank the deans and faculty. Usually, it is held in a restaurant with top administrators from Lubbock, but this time it was a drive-thru event due to COVID-19, he said.

Dr. Sarah Kiani, associate program director for the residency program and assistant professor in internal medicine, the regional dean’s teaching award and the outstanding faculty award voted on/chosen by the residents; Dr. Shailesh “Bobby” Jain, in psychiatry, won the outstanding faculty award voted on/chosen by the students and the outstanding faculty voted on/chosen by the residents; and Dr. Lee David Moore, an obstetrician-gynecologist, won the outstanding faculty award voted on/chosen by the students, and the outstanding faculty award voted on/chosen by the residents.

Ventolini said there are six awards because there are six specialties. Everyone looks forward to them and some carry a small cash prize, he said. He added that it is rare to be recognized by faculty and students and/or residents.

“When you receive an award by all the residents and all the students, that’s very meaningful,” Ventolini said.

Usually, Ventolini said, people go into academics because they love to teach. Otherwise they would be in private practice “making a lot of money.”

He added that it also takes a commitment to learn more than the residents “because they know a lot.”

Jain said winning the awards is a gratifying and validating. You can think you’re being effective, but others may not always see it that way. In this case, perception was reality.

“What I thought I was doing right was perceived as beneficial and helpful,” Jain said.

Medical students are required to undergo two months of psychiatry rotation, Jain said.

This will be his 10th year with Texas Tech. Jain practiced psychiatry in India before coming to the United States. He has been an assistant professor at University of Texas San Antonio, did a fellowship at Baylor University and UT Southwestern in Dallas.

“My family and myself have struggled with a lot of emotional psychiatric issues ourselves, so that actually incited me to look into these kinds of illnesses to get a better understanding as to what I got exposed to and I’m glad I did because I find it very rewarding and very fulfilling,” Jain said.

It’s also a challenging field. Every patient is different, even if you are dealing with similar illness manifestations and presentations.

“It’s very different in every patient and even in the same patient over a period of time, so it keeps you very much on your toes …,” Jain said.

It is an interesting time for psychiatrists as people are slowly accepting psychiatric illnesses like any other.

Moore, who hails from Marlin, has been with Texas Tech for six years.

“As far as choosing my field, I was in my third year of medical school and I thought I was going to do internal medicine. I had taken different spots. I did a tour in Galveston and really liked their program. I came back home after spring break and my OB-GYN rotation was my second to last rotation in medical school. I delivered 12 babies in six weeks and loved it and had to tell my internal medicine mentor, ‘Sorry, I fell in love somebody else’ and I became an OB-GYN. As far as why I do it, it is the most fun you can have in the hospital,” Moore said. “If I’m downstairs and I’m walking around and I’m getting breakfast in the cafeteria and I see somebody smiling and upbeat, or a patient family member smiling and upbeat then I’m pretty sure I’m going to see them later in labor and delivery. … So all in all that’s why I do it and why I chose it.”

Moore, who also teaches, decided on Texas Tech health sciences because it was a chance to be in academic medicine.

“My main job is overseeing the residents’ position. Basically, once you get out of medical school you go to residency and you get a lot of book knowledge, but you may not know exactly how to apply it to patient care so I’m there to make sure that we are doing things right and treating patients correctly and teaching residents how to deliver a baby, how to do a C-section, how to perform different procedures and every now and then I’ll get to teach the medical students also,” Moore said.

Kiani’s specialty is internal medicine, but she started off in OB-GYN. She enjoyed the volume of what you can learn in internal medicine.

Now in the middle of her third year with Texas Tech health sciences, Kiani went to medical school in Pakistan and did her residency training in Dallas. She came to Odessa because her husband was doing his residency here.

Kiani said the environment at Texas Tech is very supportive.

“… I think it’s true for all the Permian Basin faculty, all of us see patients but a part of our job is to teach students and residents. How much of our job is to teach depends on how much we like it and what kind of work we do,” she said.

Moore said one of the best parts of his job is the month of July because it brings renewed energy and makes him feel refreshed.

“July gets a bad rap in the academic medicine circle,” he said. “Don’t go to hospital in July. The new interns are starting and nobody knows anything. The doctors have just graduated. They don’t even know where the bathrooms are. Don’t go to the hospital in July. On my end of things, it’s totally different. I enjoy July because everyone gets moved up. I get to see how my residents have progressed. Are they ready for the next challenge? And those new interns that just got their medical degree, they are ready to just set the world on fire. They have so much energy and spunk. They would run through walls for you just to go see a patient with their new MD degree and their new title …,” Moore said.

Kiani said she got more involved with students around when she started her final year of residency. Recognizing the limitations of her own knowledge attracted her to teaching.

“…You sometimes forget the gap in your knowledge until you have to explain it to someone else, so the humility that teaching brings is so profound because you’re constantly challenged because you’re around students and residents who are fresh and they may have learned newer things. But they have such a big knowledge gap and you’re trying to fill that. It keeps you on your toes. To me that is recognizing the limitations of my knowledge and learning as I’m teaching and appreciating that humility I think that is the most rewarding part,” Kiani said.

Moore agreed.

“The academic medicine bit, it’s a love. It’s a passion. If you enjoy teaching, then you don’t get tired of it. I’ll stay a little bit extra some nights to make sure the residents understand something. They have a case they want to do and it’s going to go overtime, or over my shift sometimes I’ll stay a little bit late. If it’s a passion; if it’s a love you enjoy doing it, you’re called to it then you’ve got to remember that somebody took that time for you five years ago or 10 years ago. … One way to repay the good training is to try to pass that on to the next generation of doctors, the next residents. That’s how I feel about it. I feel like I’m called to do it,” Moore said.

Moore and Kiani said they were thrilled to win the awards. Moore said it was unexpected and he was glad to be nominated by the other doctors on campus for it.

“I had not even expected it in my wildest dreams because I’m so new here,” Kiani said. “It’s so nice to be recognized by the regional deans for something that I hadn’t even known that I was that good at to begin with. It feels wonderful. COVID has made teaching so challenging, but for me it’s recharged my passion again.”

She added that the patient population here is very appreciative.

“… I’ve worked in Canada, Dallas and New York,” Kiani said. “I have not encountered a more appreciative patient population. It just makes my work worthwhile to have patients that actually value the time and the effort you put into it. I would want to share our thanks to the community that has helped us.”

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