Pathways in Medicine
The purpose of our initiative "Pathways in Medicine" is to highlight success stories in our Kurdish American medical community. These stories and experiences will provide inspiration and motivation to our generation and communities.
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Azad Karim MD
Field of Specialty:
University of Tennessee Health Science Center
Why did you pursue a career in medicine?
There were many factors including my desire to work with and help people, be an educator, and have a career that allows me to support my family. I made the decision while volunteering in high school. After I saw small glimpses of what doctors did in the hospital, I realized it was a career that was encompassing and more.
Why did you choose your current specialty?
Choosing a specialty is very difficult, and often changes for some. I initially wanted to be a cardiologist because I was always fascinated by the heart and wanted to learn more. Then, after experiencing aspects of surgery and having the immense satisfaction of literally fixing something with my hands, I knew surgery was my career of choice. It all culminated in my first heart surgery, which combined my interest for interesting for life long learning with a desire to be a great surgeon.
What is the importance of mentorship in medical education?
Mentorship is very important to all aspects of life, comes in different forms, and often changes through time. In medicine, mentorship is an evolving part of your journey. Early on, a mentor can be someone who helps spark your interest, helps explain the field, or simply answers your questions. But as you go deeper into the journey, mentors become people that you would like to emulate both in your career and in life. The key to mentorship is taking initiative to find a mentor and then becoming one yourself.
What is your advice to students interested in medicine?
A career in medicine does not come without great sacrifices. The journey is long but very fulfilling if you are doing it for the right reasons. Do not be discouraged by the difficulty of the process, do not let small obstacles (i.e. tests and grades) stop you, do not feel like you need to do it all yourself. Find help, support, and encouragement in family, friends, and mentors through the process. Every doctor you see today had help and most are willing to help you.