When I was a child, I lived for a time in a refugee camp in Ethiopia. There I had an opportunity to watch missionary doctors treat many people, including my own family. At times it seemed that they performed miracles − bringing patients out of comas and healing serious diseases. I decided then and there that when I grew up I would be a doctor.
I first attended medical school in Ethiopia. When the opportunity came to further my education in the United States, I jumped at the chance. I served my internship and residency at the UCLA King/Drew Medical Center in Los Angeles and then went on to perform a fellowship at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. I began working with Kaiser Permanente in 2009, after running into the challenges of traditional insurance-based, “payment for services rendered” style of medicine.
When I was in medical school, a family member was suffering from leukemia. As I helped care for him, I had the chance to see firsthand the complexities of the disease and the compassion of the caregivers. It indeed helped me to choose hematology and oncology as my medical specialties. Cancer is a disease we still need to conquer. However, by taking a multi-disciplinary approach we’ve made great progress. Here at Kaiser Permanente, our team consists of chemotherapists, radiation therapists, surgeons and a host of other experts. We also work with the staff at City of Hope to review each case to develop and implement an effective treatment plan.
With four children in my household, my wife and I keep very busy. I am also a fanatical distance runner and try to complete a half marathon, about 13 miles, almost every weekend. Soccer is also a personal passion. I belong to a multi-national group of “football” aficionados who compete on a regular basis. When things quiet down, I revel in reading great books.