#MiFamMed Member of the Month

November 2022

Katie Mirzaee, MD

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

Throughout my residency training I have experienced hospital, academic, and rural healthcare settings as well as global health and outpatient care delivery at our residency clinic, a patient-centered medical home. I am in my final year at MyMichigan Family Medicine Residency in Midland, with graduation coming up in June 2023. I am looking forward to taking the next step in my career, when I finally figure out what that might be!

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

I have always wanted to give back to the world. In my teenage years, that meant joining the Peace Corps, but this required a degree or skills so I went to college. I then planned to be a livestock veterinarian and give back by helping to feed the world.

I ultimately decided to pursue medicine as the most effective way to help improve the daily lives of people around the world. Family medicine fits perfectly with Global Health as we (family medicine physicians) are uniquely trained in the entire spectrum of care from birth to the grave, and in all settings: outpatient, urgent care, emergency departments, and in the hospital. Our breadth of knowledge and skills provide the greatest benefit in resource-limited settings.

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

I have had the opportunity to travel to Honduras twice and provide care through a well-established clinic and through rural site visits. This experience challenged my medical knowledge and diagnostic skills in order to help patients while having extremely limited resources and diagnostic tools. We used our point of care ultrasound skills, our pharmacist used her compounding knowledge, and it was always a team effort to provide the best care and the most help.

What advice would you give your student or resident self?

When things feel overwhelming, focus on the patient in front of you. When you do the best that you can for the patient in front of you, things will simplify and you can keep moving forward while making a difference for your patient.

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

POCUS (Point of Care Ultrasound), which is transforming the quality and efficiency of care that we can provide to patients. This skill set is well worth the additional hours of study and practice that it requires to be able to interpret the shadows inside of shadows that comprise ultrasound images.

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

Our roles as physicians go beyond patient care. We are also researchers, teachers, and advocates. Being aware of and involved in enacting change for the better of our field and communities is critically important. Staying appraised of the current goals of the Academy and other members around the state allows each of us to best support each other and our communities.

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

As a resident, balance feels impossible most of the time. There is always something that needs more attention, which pulls energy from another area of my life. I try to shift my energy on a regular basis to make sure that overall, every aspect of my life gets the attention that it needs. When I spend a month in the hospital, my weekends are entirely focused on my husband and our dogs, I do not do work or study on those few days off. When I have lighter months at work, I spend my evenings studying and catching up on research projects. This is certainly an oversimplification of the reality of life as a physician, but recognition that certain areas will need more attention at different times allows me to accept days that the house is messy or my inbox remains unaddressed.

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

I am currently on the third book of the Court of Mist and Fury fantasy series and re-watching The Big Bang Theory with my husband. Although I regularly buy works of non-fiction, I get easily distracted by easier reads that bring me joy or by watching TV shows that are light-hearted and absolutely unrelated to medicine. When I have had a particularly hard day, I rewatch Encanto and allow my racing mind to relax away from thoughts of work and refocus on being at home.

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

I would like the power to communicate with any living thing. To speak all of the languages of the world, communicate with animals, and plants - that would allow me to listen and learn about the entire world. After all, no one can truly help without understanding the true needs and goals of those around you.

Is there anything else you would like everyone to know about you?

I am grateful for the honor of being a physician, but ultimately it is a job and I am not defined by what I do, but instead by the love and support that I show my family, friends, co-workers, and neighbors.