UMHS graduate Dr. Banafsheh Motazedi (Class of 2015) is busy completing her internal medicine residency at Providence Health System/George Washington University Hospital in Washington, DC. She starts an endocrinology fellowship at Georgetown University Hospital this summer.
The UMHS Endeavour spoke to Dr. Motazedi about her journey through medical school, meeting her husband during clinical rotations in Michigan, what interests her about endocrinology, and more.
Dr. Motazedi is from Richmond Hill, Ontario, Canada. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a double major in integrative biology and health studies with honors.
Always Dreamed of Becoming a Physician
Dr. Motazedi always dreamed of becoming a doctor. She especially enjoyed biology courses during high school. She volunteered at a local hospital and a senior health center in Toronto. That “helped seal my fate and commitment to becoming a physician.” Therefore, she knew she wanted to study science once attending university.
“I decided to explore my passion further during my undergraduate studies by majoring in integrative biology,” she said. “To further supplement my appetite in this field, I doubled majored in health studies where I got the opportunity to enroll in various courses that enabled me to learn about biological and social determinants of health, disease epidemiology, and child health and development.”
Why Study at UMHS?
When it was time to apply to medical schools, she heard great things from a friend who was completing basic sciences at UMHS.
“From my own research, I learned about its well-structured program which was comparable to medical education in North America,” she said. “Moreover, its small class sizes, accessible professors, courses taught by teaching faculty from US/Canadian medical schools, state-of-the-art campus, its large and well-equipped anatomy lab and incredibly remarkable simulation lab were amongst the pluses that drew my attention toward UMHS.”
Furthermore, she was also impressed with the UMHS clinical program. “The opportunity to spend my 5th semester in Maine, rotate with preceptors at various hospitals in Maine, sit in on live Kaplan review courses, and their extensive clinical sites and notable Match list were also particularly impressive to me,” she said. “All of which made me confident that UMHS would be a great fit for me.”
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Consequently Dr. Motazedi has high praise indeed for the school itself, especially professors and staff.
“My educational experience at UMHS has been incredible,” she said. “Office doors are always open and professors are extremely approachable and welcoming. Class sizes are small and the students are known on a first-name basis by the faculty. The library is conducive to learning. It has many individual and group-based study spaces and access to a large number of books and online research databases. Mentoring, tutoring and block reviews are provided by faculty and teaching assistants regularly. In addition, Block and NBME exams are analogous to Step questions which really prepare you well for taking the USMLEs. Overall, I really felt well supported by the faculty and staff at UMHS.”
Giving Back at UMHS
After completing clinical rotations and before starting residency, Dr. Motazedi decided to “give back” and worked with VP of Enrollment Management, Michelle Peres in the UMHS Michigan office. In addition, while preparing to move to DC for residency, she was also planning her wedding (she met her husband during clinical rotations).
“When Michelle found out about my wedding, she went above and beyond to help me plan the most beautiful wedding a girl could ever ask for,” she said. “Michelle has truly been an amazing confidant and a true friend. This really shows how much the faculty and staff at UMHS genuinely care about you and are deeply invested in your future success as a physician.”
Lessons Learned from Residency
Dr. Motazedi is completing her third year of internal medicine residency at Providence Health System/George Washington University Hospital. What are some of the greatest things she has learned?
“During my residency, I've had a broad clinical exposure to a good mixture of common and rare disease conditions,” she said. “Therefore, I have learned the fundamentals of outstanding patient care in both inpatient and outpatient settings from our knowledgeable attendings and mentors. I’ve had strong teaching and educational experiences through our daily conferences and didactics that have truly helped me become a strong and a confident clinician”
She starts her endocrinology fellowship at Georgetown University Hospital in July. Endocrinology focuses on the endocrine system (including the thyroid gland, ovaries, testes and diabetes). Dr. Motazedi discussed why this area of medicine interests her and outlined her goals.
“I have always considered myself to be a thinker,” she said. “During medical school and residency, I found the thinking process of endocrinology to really match my interests. The complexity and intellectual stimulation in the endocrine field gives me the analytical challenge I crave and enables me to put my understanding of biochemistry, cell biology and physiology into patient care which is what I most love about this specialty.”
Above all else, what does she wish to accomplish during her fellowship?
“My fellowship goal is to gain as much exposure as possible to a wide variety of sendocrine conditions and to master the skills in diagnosis and management of patients with diabetes and thyroid disorders,” she said. “Moreover, I would like to pursue a career as a clinical endocrinologist and join an endocrine-based faculty group at a teaching hospital.”
Advice for Future Doctors & Prospective Students
Dr. Motazedi remains thankful to UMHS for helping her make her dreams reality.
“I’m extremely grateful to UMHS for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to fulfill my dreams of becoming a physician,” she said. “I would not be where I am today without UMHS. For those aspiring physicians, I would like to say ‘don’t ever give up on your dreams and don’t ever allow anyone to deter you from achieving them.’ Remember, ‘If you can dream it, you can do it!’”
(Top photo) Dr. Motazedi. Photo: Courtesy of Dr. Motazedi
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Scott is Director of Digital Content & Alumni Communications Liaison at UMHS and editor of the UMHS Endeavour blog. When he's not writing about UMHS students, faculty, events, public health, alumni and UMHS research, he writes and edits Broadway theater reviews for a website he publishes in New York City, StageZine.com.