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Lokvani talks to Sameer Kapasi, the 39th President of IMANE

Saturday, January 07, 2017 8:08 AM | Anonymous member

taken from Lokvani

Ranjani Saigal 

Sameer O. Kapasi M.A., M.D. hails from the Boston area and attended the Johns Hopkins University where he earned his bachelor's degree in Philosophy with coursework in Image film studies. He then returned to Boston, where he earned an M.A. in Medical Sciences. Following graduate school, Dr. Kapasi worked with MDLinx, a small medical internet startup, as a content editor. Dr. Kapasi received his medical degree from the St. George’s University School of Medicine. Dr. Kapasi again returned to Boston to complete a Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation residency at the Tufts Medical Center. He completed his training with a fellowship in Spine and Rehabilitation Medicine at the New England Baptist Hospital.

Dr. Kapasi is published in peer reviewed journals and regularly lectures in local and national meetings. Dr. Kapasi is a faculty member for the North American Spine Society spinal injection workshops and is actively involved in training residents and spine rehabilitation fellows. He is board certified in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and was elected a fellow of the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. Dr. Kapasi is a member of the American Academy of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the International Spine Intervention Society, and the North American Spine Society, and is a Clinical Assistant Professor at the Tufts University School of Medicine.

Sameer talked to Lokvani about his vision as President of IMANE. 

Congratulations on being elected the President of IMANE. Why did you chose to give time to this organization? 

Thank you.  IMANE has done so much much for our community including providing free health care at regular clinics and health fairs, and lectures on a variety of topics to both the lay and health professional audience.  I have always appreciated this work and worked with IMANE to facilitate the good work that IMANE does.  Ultimately, I want to help IMANE with its outreach efforts and make it into an organization that can work hard to provide for the underserved and its own members.

What opportunities do you see for this organization? 

IMANE is an organization that can promote healthcare change.  Some of our members have gone on to become valued members of the healthcare community: Dinesh Patel as chief of arthroscopic surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital, Raj Goyal as a full professor at Harvard Medical School, and Jag Bhawan as a full professor at the Boston University Medical school to name a few.  We also have some great younger members: Paul Mathew as a chief medical editor at practical neurology and Darshan Mehta as the Medical Director for the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, and, of course, Vivek Murthy as surgeon general.  It continues to be our job to help these physicians expand their network and help them ascend into greater roles.

This organization has primarily attracted first generation doctors. You are a second generation doctor. What seems to be the challenge to attract the next generation of doctors? How do you plan to address them? 

That's one of the primary questions that I have for the organization: what can IMANE do to bring on this newer generation.  We are no longer in the 1st generation world where having an Indian physician was a novelty. Now, we have the same walk and talk as our non Indian colleagues.  Now, at least 1 out of 10 patients has seen an Indian physician.  That statistic is probably higher in New England.  

The challenge is to promote the relevance of IMANE by promoting mentorship and networking opportunities for career advancement and continue to provide service opportunities for our members.  We can do this by further bolstering our existing clinics, as well as partnering with other organizations for health fairs.  Further, we can put together networking fairs for our young physicians and residents, so that they can meet and interact with our more established physicians to expand our greater network.

We have an Indian Surgeon General and now an Indian woman doctor has been nominated to head the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.  Does it mean Indian Doctors have now been mainstreamed? If so is there still a reason to have an ethnic professional organization like IMANE and AAPI? 

Yes, it does mean that we have started to mainstream.  We are proud of our peers and colleagues being elected to these roles.  However, it does not make our organization any less necessary.  Our country is following the international movement toward political isolationism and nationalism.  It is that much more important that our organizations exist as a network for our physicians.  It is also that much more important that we continue to present ourselves with the highest integrity so that others can see the importance of having a diverse community.

How do you see the health care system morph under the new presidency? 

Obama made great strides to provide an expanded version of the Massachusetts 'Romney care.'  While it has made the lives of some physicians more difficult, it has also provided for healthcare for a previously under served country.  I think Trump is the ultimate wild card and no one has any idea how things may change in the future.  

How do you see technological innovations impacting health care in the future? 

Health care depends directly on technology, whether through the pacemaker/defibrillators that keep your heart beating or through improving electronic record systems that allow better communication between physicians.  While both of these have had their initial stumbling blocks, they are making our jobs as physicians easier and making our patients that much healthier.

For young people considering a career in medicine what advice do you have? 

Healthcare is a labor of love.  When I have been away from the healthcare field, working at an internet startup, I knew I had to leave because that love was a core feeling.  This feeling was strong enough to last me through college, graduate school, medical school, residency, and my sub specialty fellowship. So, young people, if you are interested in medicine, explore that interest.  Work in a doctor's office taking blood pressures. Get involved with Boston's Healthcare for the Homeless. Work in the IMANE free clinics or come out to one of our health fairs. See whether providing healthcare moves you the same way it moved me and continues to move me. 

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