Sakinah Omar Sakinah Omar

Name: Sakinah Omar   

Position: Tobacco Cessation Health Educator, Tobacco Quit Coach

Division/Program in department: Employee Occupational Health & Wellness/LIVE FOR LIFE

Start date: Nov. 1, 2018

Years at Duke: Summer 2009; 2013-2016; November 2018-present

Where I worked prior to accepting this role: UNC-Chapel Hill, Adjunct Clinical Instructor/Counselor

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Britta Weed, PA-S Britta Weed, PA-S

“You’re shy?” I remember my new freshman college roommate asking me. We were discussing what course of study each of us was pursuing, and the conversation had focused on why I had chosen to study medical laboratory science. In all honesty, I had chosen the major because I liked the idea of working by myself, away from people.

Now, almost 10 years later, I ask myself, “How is it that a shy lab tech is so excited about patient care?” I have worn many different hats in my life, but the one that I am currently wearing, that of a physician assistant student, has been one of the most rewarding ones so far. That is because I am doing the one thing that I was so hesitant to do when I was a freshman in college: work with people.

So, how did the tides change enough for me to decide to pursue a career where you interact with patients nearly all day, every day? The answer lies within the power of human connection. The relationship that occurs when people openly express their vulnerability, in the context of health care, pulled me out of my shell.

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Rafia Rebeck Rafia Rebeck, MA, LPC

Name: Rafia Rebeck, MA, LPC

Position: Counselor

Division/Program in department: PAS (Duke Personal Assistance Service)

Start date: 4/1/18 (as a contract employee), 11/12/18 (as full-time)

Where I worked prior to accepting this role: As a private practice counselor in Boulder, CO

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Patrick Whitman Patrick Whitman, PA-S

It’s a question we remember being asked from our earliest memories: What do you want to be when you grow up? (For me, I wanted to be a fighter pilot.) It’s a ridiculous question to ask a child, but gets more serious as you work your way into adulthood. Deciding what career you want will help determine where you study, where you live and the people you will call your peers.

You’re asked a similar question in PA school: What do you want to specialize/practice in? As a first-year student, you have ideas of the type of medicine you might want to practice. Some of us are adamant about working in a specific field from Day 1, while others don’t know. The truth of the matter is that a new PA student is as prepared to answer that question as a child is to know what they want to be when they grow up.

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Janaka Lagoo, MD, MPH Janaka Lagoo, MD, MPH

In getting the opportunity to write this blog, my brainstorming list of topics started to grow. And so I moved from a café napkin to an actual piece of paper. Possible topics included:

How can reverse innovation be championed and scaled in global health?
How can doctor well-being be prioritized from training to practice?
How can we move from buzzwords to lasting action in comprehensively tackling social determinants of health?

The list continued, and I’m already looking forward to more reflection and writing. For now, though, I keep returning to the old adage: start with your story.

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