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Faculty Focus: Elaine Himadi, MD

Date: Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Elaine Himadi, MDWhat is your hometown?

Summit, New Jersey

How/when did you become interested in science and/or medicine?

My father was a physician and he would include me in discussions of interesting cases and take me on rounds in the hospital when I was a child. I can’t imagine life without the interest and challenges of medicine. He was a phenomenal teacher and some of his teaching magic rubbed off on me!

When did you join the University of Iowa faculty?


How or why did you choose to join the faculty at the University of Iowa?

I felt that I could make a difference here, and I enjoyed the collegiality and small-town atmosphere. I continue to be impressed at the powerhouse of clinical and research faculty here.

Is there a teacher or mentor who helped shape your career?

I would say my father helped shape my career, sometimes in paradoxical ways. He wanted me to specialize in radiology like himself, but it was not my field of interest, and so in that sense I was a disappointment to him. Pitting myself against him was like giving wind to my own sails and helped me to forge my unique career in medicine. He also believed in me, trusted in me, and inspired me with his teaching and I am very grateful to him.

How do you see your faculty role impacting medicine and/or science?

I feel that psychiatry is at the forefront of a shift in how we take care of people. Psychiatry is still a field where we get to talk to and know our patients. We are honored by the trust patients have in us as they tell us their inner secrets and worries. The field of medicine I think needs to realize that this gift of really listening to the heart and soul of our patients is what is sustaining for physicians. The more we stray from this, the less effective we are and the satisfied we are as clinicians.

What is the biggest change you've experienced in your field since you were a student?

The speed we are moving at, the pressures we feel to see more patients in a reduced time frame is the biggest change. The advent of electronic medical record (EMR) makes our notes easier to read and share, but it is still cumbersome and time consuming and often takes away from our time with patients and our own families. We need to develop EMR that is simpler and more direct.

What one piece of advice would you give to today's students?

Be kind to yourselves and to your patients.

In what ways are you engaged in professional activities outside the University (i.e. population based research, mentoring high school students, sharing your leadership/ expertise with organizations or causes, speaking engagement off campus, etc.)?

I try to model balance by taking care of myself outside of work by getting adequate sleep, having fun, playing in my garden and leaving work behind!

What are some of your outside (personal) interests?

Gardening, reading, doing puzzles. Playing with my grandchild is a delight as well.

Learn more about Elaine Himadi, MD