I first fell in love with rheumatology in 1999 as a medicine resident. I realized that making the right diagnosis alone can often be a great relief for patients who suffered from long term debilitating illnesses yet not know the cause. Since then, my passion for rheumatology has grown through an internal medicine residency at New York Presbyterian/Weill Cornell, a rheumatology fellowship at Hospital for Special Surgery, and a research project on immunopathology of autoimmune diseases.
To me, being a rheumatologist is about building a lifelong professional relationship with my patients by getting to know their past and envision their future. Autoimmune diseases are often an unfortunate combination of “vulnerable genes” and environmental triggers which lead to chronic illness. Symptoms may develop over a long period, often vague, and can mimic other diseases. Treatment is even more complex since a patient’s background, diet or habits can affect the approach.
We are in an exciting era for rheumatology thanks to the continuous advances in understanding the disease mechanism and new therapy development. I firmly believe that by working together with my patients, we can make a positive impact on all aspects of their lives.