Editor’s note: As SHM celebrates the “Year of the Hospitalist,” we’re putting the spotlight on some of our most active members who are making substantial contributions to hospital medicine. You can get involved, too! Log on to www.hospitalmedicine.org/yoth for more information on how you can join the yearlong celebration and help SHM improve the care of hospitalized patients.
Explore this issue:September 2016
This month, The Hospitalist spotlights Aram Namavar, MS, a recipient of SHM’s Student Hospitalist Scholar Grant and a second-year medical student at Loyola University Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine. Namavar is one of the first students to sit on an SHM committee as part of the Physicians in Training (PIT) Committee, which is focused on ensuring the successful transition of medical students and residents into the practice of hospital medicine. He recently started a hospital medicine special interest group at his medical school and is playing an active role in the launch of SHM’s new Students Community on the Hospital Medicine Exchange (HMX).
What piqued your interest in hospital medicine as you were choosing a specialty?
Originally, I had envisioned my career in medicine through the lens of the head orthopedic surgeon for the Los Angeles Lakers. As I transitioned to [the University of California, Los Angeles] from high school, I started to pave this path. There is a sports medicine internship program offered to second-year students, and as a first-year student, I knew I needed to make the right connections to get this prestigious internship position. As a means of networking, I volunteered to do laundry for the UCLA football team for my entire first year at UCLA.
The laundry room was located right next to the training room, so I had the opportunity to meet the orthopedic surgeons and training staff. After spending some time in this program, I felt that there were aspects to a career in orthopedics that did not fit with my personality, such as what I felt was limited patient interaction and ability to impact multiple domains of their care outside of surgery. I pivoted and began volunteering at UCLA Health and was exposed to a plethora of medical specialties and patient populations. Through the self-discovery of my potential career path, I also discovered myself and my values. I realized that I desired flexibility and versatility in my career to engage in clinical, leadership, mentorship, research, education, and advocacy roles, all of which are possible in hospital medicine. I am now certain that my career in medicine will lead me to become an academic hospitalist.
Can you tell us about your quality improvement project that you initiated as a result of winning the SHM Student Hospitalist Scholar Grant?
This summer has been a very enriching experience for my personal and professional development. My main project is focused on patient-centered readmissions and has three components. I am promoting a patient-centered approach to readmissions through examination of the role that decisional conflict plays in hospital readmissions.
In shared decision-making models, decisional conflict is a measure of uncertainty, readiness, and comfort level in making a decision. Aware of the plight of diverse populations in accessing healthcare and having higher readmission rates, I have widened the scope of my project. A second arm of my study is investigating which social determinants of health may be a root cause for why Hispanic patients are being readmitted at an increased rate compared to their non-readmitted counterparts. The third arm of my study is elucidating patient-centered views of the cause and preventability of readmission for Hispanic versus non-Hispanic patients.
What inspired you to become involved with the PIT Committee?
Working with undergraduate and medical students and resident physicians, I have always had a passion for inspiring the future of medicine. Even in hospital medicine’s 20 years of existence, I knew there were many opportunities for me to engage trainees. For this reason, I applied for a seat on the PIT Committee and was accepted as the only medical student to sit on an SHM committee.
Having founded the first hospital medicine interest group at a medical school in the U.S. at Loyola, my work on the PIT Committee is focused on enhancing our ability to engage medical students and residents. I am a member of the Student Interest Group Task Force that is creating a toolkit for medical schools from across the nation to gain recognition from SHM for creating a hospital medicine interest group. The blueprint we used at Loyola is being adopted and incorporated in our toolkit. Another avenue of engagement is through the new Students Community on HMX, SHM’s online member engagement platform. This new community, which I helped to launch, will serve as an important channel for us to connect with trainees nationally and encourage them to consider hospital medicine as a specialty.
What opportunities do you see for hospitalists as the medical landscape continues to evolve?
I see hospitalists playing important roles in value-based care and population health. Hospitalists have carved their niche in quality improvement within health systems, and I believe they will be best suited for spearheading projects to enhance the value of medical care. Hospitalists will also no longer have an impact within the confines of a hospital as the landscape is shifting toward population health; therefore, hospitalists will be charged with helping to devise methods to proactively identify care gaps in their patients to promote preventive care and chronic disease management.
What would you tell medical students about choosing hospital medicine as a career?
I believe that a career in hospital medicine is one of the most versatile. If you are someone who must be continually stimulated by various work settings, then hospital medicine is right for you. I enjoy multidimensional work, and as a future academic hospitalist, I know that my scope of practice will include mentorship, education, research, leadership, and clinical duties. The ability to have such a versatile career will be extremely fulfilling.
What’s next for you in your medical career?
As a second-year medical student, my primary focus is on succeeding academically and adequately preparing for my USMLE Step 1 exam to match at my desired internal medicine residency program. Outside of my studies, I am continuing to develop my analytical skills and leadership acumen so that I can become a major player in hospital medicine once I am an academic hospitalist. After residency, I will be pursuing a fully employed MBA program where I will be equipped with the necessary skills to realize my professional goals. TH