Getting to know your CF Team

Our CF team were asked the following questions:

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

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

3. 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?

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

Here is what they said:

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!

2015 CF Center Report

Elika Rad, NP-C

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

As a child I was fascinated wth 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 patients and had many interactions with the patients as well as our pulmonary fellows; one particular physicain was interested in Cystic Fibrosis and would always tell me interesting facts about the disease process and share his enthusiasm for the new therapies that were improving the health of his patients. I then took care of CF patients post transplantation as a Registered Nurse here at Stanford. When faced with the opportunity to practice as a Nurse Practitioner with the CF team, I did not hesitate...which has been the most rewarding career choice 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?

I either exercise-run/yoga or relax with my daughter at home.

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

My goal for our patients is to afford them the best quality of life-the patient who do have that are proactive, positive and put their health first, instead of their illness first. I think for any person sick or healthy, occupying your time with something meaningful, be it work or a hobby is the best medicine (after you do your airway clearance of course).

Carol Power, BS, RRT, CPFT

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

I have had several careers in my life, but when I was faced with having to go back to work, I wanted to work in a field that I thought was important to others.  My father aspirated after a minor surgery and went into respiratory arrest.  The respiratory therapists rushed in, intubated him, and quickly transported him to ICU.  I was so impressed by their knowledge, caring attitude, and professionalism that I knew I had found my “calling”.  I went back to school that following summer and received my Bachelors Degree in Respiratory Care two years later.  I have never regretted that decision.

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

When I came to Stanford Hospital and Clinics in 2006, the CF community was the first population that I had the pleasure of working with on my new job.  I quickly became aware that they were a very special group of people.  Not only the patients were special, but the families were incredible.  I decided that this is where I wanted to be for the rest of my career.

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?

At the end of the day, I love to spend time with my 6 year old grandson.  He is the light of my life and the joy of my soul.  He was born with some medical problems that we are still dealing with, but, at the end of the day, to see his sweet little face is my greatest joy. When he says, “I love you, Nana”, everything is right in my world.

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

When I first started doing spirometry in the CF clinic, I was amazed at how focused the Adult CF-Community was on their FEV1.  That number was all they cared about!  I realized that this was what their visit was all about, and that this number determined their fate.  I have tried over the last few years to try and change their focus and help they realize that they are more than a number.  I have also realized that many in this community have such angst when they come to clinic regarding their FEV1.  It is my goal to try and relieve their anxiety and to help them look at the whole picture, not just look at one number.

 

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 distress 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!

Ronni Wetmore, RN, MS

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

When I was only 6 years old my brother Emmanuel, who was sick w/ Cystic Fibrosis and was hospitalized a lot, died at the age of 3.  I was young, but remember his frequent hospitalizations, and I was always intrigued about the circumstances---

When I was 14, another brother, Patrick, was born and diagnosed w/ CF.  At the time, my parents were told he would most likely never live to leave the hospital (at 6 weeks old) nor at least grow much past toddler-hood.  Over the years, I watched my mother, who was not a trained nurse, give him care at home, from nebulizer treatments to frequent manual CPT.

Patrick lived to be nearly 41 years old, and worked as a licensed Physician Assistant in Hematology/Oncology until his illness forced his retirement.

If I have to give a one sentence answer;  I watched and observed a lot of “medicine” in my growing up years, and was intrigued by it all—how better to get involved than to become a nurse?

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

Prior to becoming a CF Coordinator, I worked as a Staff RN in Ambulatory Care, Post Anesthesia Care and Charge RN in the ED of my hometown Community Hospital.  It was while I was working on my BS in Public Health and then my MS in Healthcare Administration and Policy that I was offered a position as Coordinator of the Adult CF program at Albany Medical Center, Albany, NY.

The coordinator at AMC had announced her retirement, and my brother Patrick happened to be in-patient at the time. He immediately offered my name to her (with no consult from me, by the way), and next thing I knew I had an interview w/ the CF Center Director there, and was offered the job---

The rest, well, is history---

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

Usually, I am able to discuss the issue w/ members of my CF team and we are able to commiserate and problem solve together.

When that isn’t possible, because I like to cook, I will splurge at the market and make a nice dinner for myself and have a glass of wine—

A lap swim in the pool or a long walk to breathe fresh air and look at the beautiful skies and clouds helps too—

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

I often have given talks about this same subject, and I have a list of suggestions I have learned from my years in CF—

Briefly, I advise patients to Believe in themselves as special and unique, and to be Responsible for themselves,  to be Accepting of the situation, to take Care of themselves, to Trust and Communicate with the CF team, to be Aware of their body and their mind, and to be Honest and Communicate with the CF team.  I advise to also Share ideas, frustrations, triumphs, and anxieties with the CF team.  Finally, I advise each patient to find a confidante to share ups and downs with, to have Faith, in God or a higher power, and to be Optimistic and Positive, and that can be hard to do. I also tell patients to Dream ---its good medicine in itself—and continue to encourage Forgiveness of themselves when they don’t always do all their therapies and medications 100%---after all, they may have CF, but yes, they are human too--