Getting to know your CF Team

Paul Mohabir, MD

What led you, initially, to consider a career in the medical field?

Have wanted to pursue a career in Medicine since the age of 7. My undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto was focused on Human biology and physiology which kept me on a straight path to the field of medicine.

What sparked your interest in focusing on CF, as a specialty?

During my Pulmonary Medicine Fellowship, I focused specifically on Cystic Fibrosis. I found that I could relate much better to this patient population and was fascinated by the advancements in disease treatment. I was committed to being part of a team that could treat and possibly cure one of the most common genetic diseases known to man.

When you have to deal with a particularly difficult or challenging day at the hospital/clinic, how do you unwind at the end of the day?

After a long and difficult day, a long run and yoga class brings me back to Zen.

From your perspective, what helpful guidance or “words of wisdom” might you offer the Adult CF Community?

Our patients need to control CF and not let CF control them. Eat, drink, laugh, and smile like everyone else. You are some of the strongest and most dedicated people I have ever met!

Elika Rad, NP-C

What led you, initially, to consider a career in the medical field?

As a child I was fascinated with needles, medical devices and biology and was inspired by my grandfather who was a physician assistant with exceptional bedside manners.

What sparked your interest in focusing on CF, as a specialty?

I started my career in healthcare as a research assistant/coordinator for asthma and allergy studies which gave me the opportunity to interact with patients as well as our pulmonary fellows; one particular physician was interested in Cystic Fibrosis and would always tell me interesting facts about the disease process. His enthusiasm for new therapies that were improving life for CF patients inspired me. After becoming a Registered Nurse, I had the privilege of taking care of CF patients after lung transplantation.  When faced with the opportunity to practice as a Nurse Practitioner with the CF team, I did not hesitate...this has been the most rewarding career path thus far.

When you have to deal with a particularly difficult or challenging day at the hospital/clinic, how do you unwind at the end of the day?

Hiking, running and yoga really help me unwind; if time is lacking or weather does not permit these activities, cooking for my family really grounds me and helps me relax.

From your perspective, what helpful guidance or “words of wisdom” might you offer the Adult CF Community?

Taking care of CF patients has made me realize that this group of patients and their families are the strongest people I have met; dealing with chronic pain and the healthcare system is not easy.  I have seen that those with the best quality of life are proactive, and put their health first, instead of letting their illness control their life.  For any person sick or healthy, occupying your time with something meaningful, be it work or a hobby is the best medicine (after your airway clearance of course).

Jennifer Cannon, MS, NP-C

What led you, initially, to consider a career in the medical field?

I have been interested in health care for as long as I can remember.  From removing my sister's splinters as kids, to working in a stem cell research lab throughout college, I never pictured a life without a carreer in the medical field  On a more personal level, I lost one of my closest friends to cancer-her journey has and will always be an inspirational touchstone in my life.

What sparked your interest in focusing on CF, as a specialty?

During my time at Columbia University School of Nursing, I found that I appreciated the opportunity to develop long-term relationships with patients and their families.  Working in Cystic Fibrosis allows for me to marry my professional passions-growing with patients throughout their lives as well as working in a cutting-edge field with unbelievable advancements in therapy.  It is a special community that I am so very proud to be a part of.

When you have to deal with a particularly difficult or challenging day at the hospital /clinic, how do you unwind at the end of the day?

Good food, good music, exercise and reading books to my two little kids.

From your perspective, what helpful guidance or "words of wisdom" might you offer the Adult CF Community?

You are stonger than you will ever know.

 

Gauri Pandharkar, RRT

What led you, initially, to consider a career in the medical field?

I come from a family of Physicians in India, so was always very interested in a career in the medical field.

What sparked your interest in focusing on CF, as a specialty?

I have worked in this hospital doing inpatient care for close to 18 years, so have got to know the CF population very well.  It is a great new experience to see them as outpatients, and makes it easy knowing them from their admissions here at Stanford.

When you have to deal with a particularly difficult or challenging day at the hospital/clinic, how do you unwind at the end of the day?

Family time, gardening and music are some of the things that help me de-stress after work.

From your perspective, what helpful guidance or "words of wisdom" might you offer the Adult CF Community?

Follow the treatment plan from your CF team with great discipline.  Call on the various resources that are offered to you.  Be your own advocate and do the best you can for all your home regimen.

 

 

 

Meg Dvorak, LCSW

What led you, initially, to consider a career in the medical field?

Very interesting and exciting work.  Health is a universal experience for all humans and I felt I could have the most impact in this area.  I enjoy working with people during intimate times in life such as a health crisis or health improvement.

What sparked your interest in focusing on CF, as a specialty?

I used to be the CF social worker at Kaiser 10 years ago which gave me exposure to this field.  When an opening came available at SHC, I hopped on the opportunity.  I feel like people with CF are a unique group with special abilities such as adaptation, perseverance, and strength.  I am constantly amazed by this group--they make me a better person.

When you have to deal with a particularly difficult or challenging day at the hospital/clinic, how do you unwind at the end of the day?

I am a long distance runner so that is my therapy and "antidepressant".  I also spend time with my young children and my friends.  I enjoy relationships with others.

From your perspective, what helpful guidance or “words of wisdom” might you offer the Adult CF Community?

Never stop caring for yourself or lose sight of the future.  Great things are happening in this field which will change the course of your disease.  Try out the CF support group-it's there to help people connect and share similar experiences.

 

Michelle Stroebe, MS, RD

What led you, initially, to consider a career in the medical field?

I left my first career out of college that was in a non-medical field looking for a field in which I would be challenged intellectually and where I could work hands-on with people on a day to day basis. I came across the world of nutrition during a volunteer experience and instantly fell in love with it, as it has all the characteristics I was looking for in a career. After my first introduction to nutrition, I couldn’t get enough. I enrolled in nutrition classes and read everything I could get my hands on…. Shortly thereafter, I was enrolled in grad school and have been excited about my career choice every day since!

What sparked your interest in focusing on CF, as a specialty?

I was first exposed to the world of CF during my dietetic internship here at Stanford. I was so impressed by the CF patients, families, and medical team – the way they all work together with the same end goal in mind: the patient’s health and wellbeing. I love how influential nutrition is in the world of CF, and the way it can empower patients to take their health in their own hands. I particularly love how close knit the CF team is with their patients. The ability to get to know patients beyond the medicine forms a level of trust that is unique in the world of CF and helps us, as medical providers, to provide a higher level of care.

When you have to deal with a particularly difficult or challenging day at the hospital/clinic, how do you unwind at the end of the day?

I’ve found the best way to unwind after a long and particularly tough day is with a great session at my gym – either rock climbing with friends, yoga, or getting in a good run. Exercise is the best way I’ve found to destress and improve my mood, almost instantly!

From your perspective, what helpful guidance or “words of wisdom” might you offer the Adult CF Community?

Managing your CF can be exhausting; we as your medical team understand that.  Stay positive and keep living your life to its fullest! You are some of the strongest group of people I have had the pleasure to work with… your dedication to your care and your sense of community within the CF world is truly inspiring. Keep challenging yourself to be your best every day, and make sure to allow yourself some room for error… and fun!

Sheldon (Shelli) Porter, RRT, BSRT

What led you, initially, to consider a career in the medical field?

One of my first jobs was a phlebotomist in a blood plasma clinic.  At that clinic I not only learned how to draw blood, but I also learned that I was very good with people and had a true passion for medicine and patient care.

What sparked your interest in focusing on CF, as a specialty?

I have always enjoyed working with patients who have CF.  However, at Duke Hospital in North Carolina, I worked specifically with a group of CF patients who were awaiting lung transplants.  I think it was their tenacity, dedication and passion for life that led me to develop a strong admiration and respect for cystic fibrosis patients.  They have taught me so much more than I could ever begin to teach them!

When you have to deal with a particularly difficult or challenging day at the hospital/clinic, how do you unwind at the end of the day?

I unwind by playing catch with my dog Tulle or relaxing with my kitten Langston Hughes.

From your perspective, what helpful guidance or "words of wisdom" might you offer the Adult CF Community?

You have such an excellent team of caregivers here at Stanford.  Stay focused, stay the course, keep communicating, learning and teaching.