Choi Chung, RPh, BSc Pharm
One of our core values is to help patients make informed decisions through health promotion and education. One of our aims with this interview series is to bring awareness to the different healthcare professionals and health advocates around the world and how they’re actively involved in bettering the lives of others!
We had the opportunity to interview Dr. Anjali Malik, a practicing breast radiologist and an active health advocate for women’s health, patient empowerment, and medical education. Check out the interview below as she speaks more about her profession, her passions, and how she’s actively involved in health promotion and patient education!
#1 Thank you so much for taking the time Anjali. To start things off, tell us a bit about yourself!
Hello, I am delighted to participate in this important series! I practice breast radiology in our nation’s capital: Washington, D.C. On any given day, I read mammograms and breast MRIs, obtain and interpret breast ultrasounds, and perform image-guided breast biopsies. I actively participate in advocacy for my patients and profession, and in my spare time, I do yoga, love to cook using healthy, local ingredients, and try to live as close to a zero-waste lifestyle as possible.
#2 What was it that ignited your passion for women’s health?
Well, the most obvious answer is being a woman! But there was a particular moment that fixed my desire to focus on woman’s health. While performing my surgery rotation at the Tulane School of Medicine in New Orleans, I worked with a breast surgeon. I immediately felt a deep connection to the patients. Many presented with advanced stages of breast cancer; they were women who were recovering from Hurricane Katrina, who had not had reliable access to healthcare, and who had ignored symptoms for too long. I knew these women needed an advocate, and with my background in public health, I decided to make empowering and educating women about their health a focal point for my career.
#3 What led you towards breast radiology?
Breast radiology fits me perfectly. I love the patient care, the problem-solving, the procedures, and the impact on public health. However, my route to finding the field was a bit circuitous. While the initial spark came from my time with a breast surgeon, the process of realizing and recognizing my interests evolved throughout college and medical school. For example, I never thought I would enjoy working with my hands. The idea of performing procedures intimidated me as a medical student, but an early mentor built up my confidence. If I had not given myself a chance and gone out of my comfort zone, I might never have discovered my true calling! I encourage those early in their career path to explore all the options – you may discover a hidden talent!
#4 We know that the life of a healthcare professional is never easy. How do you find balance in your life? How do you manage to keep calm and collected?
My goal as a healthcare professional is to promote health and wellness – and balance is an extremely important part of that, from work-life balance to a balanced diet. The work-life balance takes planning, prioritizing, and sometimes, pressing the pause button. We may live in a time of instant gratification, but not everything is an emergency that needs to be addressed right away. Life will slip by if we keep working, and nothing can be accomplished when you are hungry and sleep-deprived! I find my calm in yoga, which restores my mind, body, and spirit. I spend time with family and friends, which reminds me of the important things in life. This respite and perspective
makes me a more productive person, and loops back to help me achieve work-life balance. To best serve your patients, you have to practice what you preach!
#5 What is one of the top pieces of health advice you’d like to share with the public?
Talk to your doctor. Seriously. They are and want to be your advocate, but they can only do so if you are reporting your symptoms and concerns. So many of the advanced cancers I have seen are in women who delayed evaluation of a mass they could feel, or men who were too embarrassed to talk to their doctor about a breast lump – yes, men can get breast cancer too! Your health is yours first and foremost; you have to take charge of it, but there is a community of dedicated professionals standing by to help you – use them!
#6 Where can our audience reach you if they have any further questions?
You can find me on Twitter and Instagram @AnjaliMalikMD.