#MiFamMed Member of the Month

Through our featured #MiFamMed Member of the Month, MAFP shares the experiences of members via a question-and-answer format to highlight their qualities and career pathways and showcase the variety of practice settings open to family physicians.

To be featured, please answer these 12 questions.

Selected members will be contacted by MAFP Director of Communications & Member Services, Dana Lawrence, for follow up and to request photos. Questions? Contact Dana at [email protected].

January 2023

Charan Cheema, DO

Which practice settings/types have you experienced throughout your career?

Since graduating from Michigan State University College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2012 and completing residency at Henry Ford Hospital in 2015, I have worked in outpatient and in-patient medicine, urgent care, emergency medicine, and in a nursing home. I also have administrative experience, having served as a site medical director for a physician group.

In December 2021, I transitioned to director of the family medicine residency program at Trinity Health Hospital in Livonia. In total, I have been working for Trinity for the past five years.

My clinical interests are preventive health, women's health, pediatrics, osteopathic manipulative medicine, and outpatient procedures.

What led you to this career, and was your path inspired by anyone?

My path to medicine was interesting. I come from a family of engineers and thought that is what I wanted. I did get a biomedical engineering degree but realized through shadowing physicians that interacting with patients and being an investigator of sorts fit my pattern of thinking. As I went through clinical rotations, I liked everything and excelled at in-patient, surgery, and ambulatory medicine. I picked and applied to family medicine because I was confident that I could make a difference in our field and be able to practice medicine anywhere.

What has been the most unique aspect/experience of your practice of medicine thus far?

I'm so thankful for the experiences I've had in clinic and the hospital. My patients have taught me what's important in life and I get to help many families achieve their health goals. The patient is a human being first and I really try to listen to what is going on in their lives that is impacting their health. Once we have narrowed down the barriers to achieving their goal, I work together with the patient to work towards their goal. It's rewarding when patients achieve even the small successes. It's even more amazing when the patient states, "I thought I couldn't get rid of my diabetes but working on eating habits and physical activity did work! Thanks Dr. Cheema!".

What advice would you give your student or resident self?

Don't be so hard on yourself.

What is one professional skill you're currently working on?

To keep up to date on new guidelines and the constant changes happening in medicine, I'm listening to different podcasts while driving.

Why is it important for you to be a member of Michigan Academy of Family Physicians and American Academy of Family Physicians?

Being a part of MAFP has expanded my viewpoint on different issues family physicians face in our healthcare system. I've realized there are many other family physicians in our state who are just as invested in their patients as I am and also want to improve our health system so it's better for our patients.

How do you achieve work-life balance and maintain your own wellness?

I learned a few years ago that I have to disconnect when I come home. Setting my phone aside has helped. I also meditate every morning, which helps me keep grounded throughout the day. I also was selected for the first round of the AAFP Leading Physician Well-Being Program, which gave me many resources to help improve my work environment - this led to better downtime at home.

In the beginning of my career, I used to think after a long day at work about how I could I possibly keep going like this. When I burned out and started reflecting, I realized I must always prioritize myself no matter what. It takes confidence to say no and stay within your physical and mental limits. Of course, you have to set those first for yourself and then stick to them. I am always reflecting on what really makes me happy or energizes me and that helps me figure out the path forward.

What book/podcast/Netflix series are you currently enjoying?

I've recently started watching The Middle. It's an older show but I'm really relating to the mom - I have three kids too!

If you could choose one superpower, what would it be?

I would love to have the superpower to change the weather!

Past Members of the Month