As a young medical student, I learned how tiny organisms could wreak great havoc in this world — which exposed me to the world of ID early in my medical career. I attended medical school with the goal of understanding and conquering them. During my ID rotation, I cared for a patient who had fever, vague symptoms and a rash that was biopsied. They called us, the ID service, hoping that we could offer answers. This role of a detective, collaborator, thinker and doctor is what still appeals to me the most about the practice of ID. I was in awe of the ID specialists who ascertained the etiology as secondary syphilis and treated this patient with penicillin — and I hoped someday to emulate them. Intriguing cases like this sparked my interest in this field, which only grew stronger in the years to come.
I was fortunate to train at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, which has a very robust ID/HIV division. I was part of the initial team that started a hepatitis C virus clinic within our HIV division. Encouraged by the positive impact of this endeavor, I went on to set up an HCV clinic de novo, at an underserved area in western Massachusetts, where I worked for the next 3 years. My experience there stood me in good stead — since then, I moved to a relatively smaller hospital in rural Oklahoma. It has unique challenges, including limited resources. It gives me immense job satisfaction to be directly involved in patient care delivery in an area where it is needed the most! I hope to be able to make a bigger and better impact in this area, work to introduce newer beneficial programs, increase awareness regarding infectious diseases and most of all, help to address the health care disparity. This has been a gratifying challenge thus far, and I am determined to make a difference to the community!
Gitanjali Pai, MD, AAHIVS
Infectious Disease News Editorial Board member
Infectious disease physician
Memorial Hospital and Physicians’ Clinic