Meet Dr. Monica Shah. She shares her steps to becoming a medical professional and public figure!
Sam: Could you share a little about yourself & background?
Dr. Monica Shah: I am a first-generation Indian American born and raised in Tampa, FL. I am a Rheumatologist, a physician specializing in autoimmune conditions, former Miss India Florida beauty pageant winner turned fashion model, and public figure. I have been blessed to have the opportunities and experiences to makeup such a diverse resume.
I am so passionate about inspiring young women to be both Beauty & Brains. I also am passionate about spreading awareness and knowledge about Rheumatology and exactly how Rheumatologists may be able to help many people out there.
Sam: Why did you want to become a Doctor, and more specifically a DO with specialization in Rheumatology?
Dr. Monica Shah: I wanted to become a Doctor after I experienced the direct, positive impact physicians had on patients lives after serving an underprivileged community in a third world country during mission trip. It was an epiphany moment. Life changing, not only for the patients, but for myself. It was then I realized that this was my true purpose in life.
I applied to Osteopathic Medical schools because I loved the Osteopathic principle of treating the body as a functional unit - an integrated unit of mind, body, and spirit. Furthermore, Osteopathic physicians can offer manipulative treatment (OMT) which is basically a set of hands-on techniques used to treat mechanical pain. I wanted to be able to offer this service to my patients as well.
Now as far as Rheumatology is concerned, I was fascinated by the pathophysiology of Rheumatic diseases. In the last few years, the field has been emerging with new therapies and it is truly an exciting time to be a Rheumatologist. I have so many tools to help my patients. Most importantly however, I loved the life-long relationships I would have with my patients.
Sam: What has been the most challenging aspect so far?
Dr. Monica Shah: The road to becoming a doctor is a long, challenging one. I knew that before I started, but it wasn’t until I started medical school and residency did I really feel challenged. It is a huge sacrifice. I missed so many weddings, births of babies, family events, and simply even sleep. However they always say anything worth having does not come easy. And boy is that the truth. The challenge of that part of my journey however makes being on this side so much sweeter.
A challenge I now currently face has to deal with being a young, female in a very male dominated world. I find myself having to prove myself to others more, both older, male colleagues and patients. However, I treat it as an opportunity to change their mind about people like myself, and once they see that I am just as capable, it hopefully allows them to be more open-minded going forward.
Sam: Do you have any insight or advice for people still in medical school or pursuing a career in your field?
Dr. Monica Shah: Yes! First and foremost, believe in yourself, especially when times get hard. You are so much capable than you give yourself credit for, so don't psych yourself out and get out of your own way.
Secondly, ask for help when needed. I would shy away initially because I felt embarrassed, however in this journey of life, we can learn so much from others. Thirdly, have a good support system- whether that be family or friends. It is so important. Sometimes we all need a pick-me-up and those people in my life really helped me throughout my journey.
Sam: You also appeared on "Family Karma". Can you describe how you became involved & your experience on the series?
Dr. Monica Shah: I did! I became a part of season 2 of the Bravo show showcasing my personal relationship. The series showcases Indian culture and relationships of first-generation Indian American friends living in Florida. It was an exciting time, very memorable. I made some great memories, learned a lot, and am so grateful for opportunity to build this amazing platform and break stereotypical cultural barriers.
Sam: Finally, where can people find you and follow your journey?
Dr. Monica Shah: They can find me on Instagram @Dr.Monica.Shah_
I encourage everyone to follow the account, I like to share all aspects of my life and provide medical knowledge as well as positive inspiration. If anyone has any questions, I encourage you to message me. I look forward to hearing from all of you!
Disclaimer: All Photos Provided Courtesy & Authorized by Dr. Monica Shah. Potential minor edits for transcript's length, flow, grammatical/formatting.
NEXT: If you enjoyed this, please read our interview with international model Giselle Lisboa