In this issue, HCV Next asks five questions of Zarine Shah, MD, MBBS, assistant professor in the Division of Abdominal Imaging, Department of Radiology at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Shah completed her medical degree at Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College in Mumbai in her native India at the beginning of 1998. For her residency, she attended King Edward Memorial Hospital, also in Mumbai. She worked at Changi General Hospital in Singapore for 2 years and then moved to Boston where she conducted research in the division of abdominal imaging. After that, it was off to The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center to complete fellowships in Abdominal Imaging and Nuclear Medicine in 2009. She received her certification from the American Board of Radiology in 2011. Dr. Shah is fluent in Gujarati, Marathi and Hindi in addition to English. Her specialties include diagnostic GI and GU radiology.
Dr. Shah has published in a wide variety of journals on a wide variety of subjects, from prostate cancer in Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging to serous cystadenoma in World Journal of Gastroenterology to pancreatic adenocarcinoma in Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.
What are your hobbies outside of practicing medicine?
Outside of medicine, I enjoy travelling to new places and spending time with my family. Despite their young age, my kids love to travel and we try to take family vacations as often as possible. I enjoy reading fiction and also enjoy listening to music.
Who has had the greatest influence on your career?
I don’t think there is any one person I can name, but I know that pursuing a career in medicine has been a long road where my parents have stood by me through all the ups and downs. Also my husband, a surgeon himself, has supported and encouraged me to continue to excel in what I do. To see the wide-eyed expressions on my 6- and 9-year-old kids’ faces when I tell them what I do every day, and how the technology available to us today can look at intricate details of the human body and help treat people, gives me great satisfaction and reminds me why I love what I do.
What was the defining moment that led to your field?
As a medical student I was very keen to pursue a career as a surgeon. However, in my last year of medical school in Mumbai, I was asked to accompany a patient to the interventional radiology suite for treatment for a life-threatening intracranial arterio-venous malformation. This was the first time I realized the scope of radiology and the rapidly advancing field of imaging. That non-invasive interventional approach saved the patient’s life and changed my career path. I chose radiology and have been fascinated by how much this field has grown since I started as a resident. There has never been a dull moment or a lack of stimulation and every day has been an exciting one for me.
What area of research in hepatology most interests you right now and why?
My current research interest is in understanding the way non-invasive imaging can help evaluate functioning of the liver. There have been exciting new developments in determining the amount of liver fat since fatty liver and steatohepatitis can play a part in progressive deterioration of liver function. Early detection of fatty liver disease and effective treatment given at the early stages can slow down or even reverse the adverse effects on the liver parenchyma. Radiology techniques are now available to see these changes and quantify them, which I believe is a significant development.
What advice would you offer a student in medical school today?
Keep your mind and heart open and find the field that interests you most, one that you are passionate about. This is what will take you through the tough times, which we all face as physicians, and you will be doing something you enjoy. There are many exciting opportunities available in every specialty in medicine. Radiology is a fascinating field and is a lot more than just about interpreting images. The role of the radiologist has evolved and we are now a very critical part of clinical decision-making and have a significant influence on the treatment of our patients.