Danish Safi, MBBS, is happy to be patient. Since June of this year, Dr. Safi has been an Associate in the Division of General Internal Medicine, seeing patients as a Hematology-Oncology Hospitalist. The Hospitalist Program divides into a few subspecialties, including those like Dr. Safi who cares for inpatients who have been diagnosed with cancer. This allows him to further develop his training in oncology until he can pursue an oncology fellowship here. Dr. Safi, originally from Peshawar, in northern Pakistan, says he is grateful for the administrative structure within the department and the college that is helping him check off the necessary visa boxes.
But it is not just the staff at Iowa that impresses Dr. Safi. Most of the Iowans he treats are “very receptive” and have good social support systems, which is critical to their recovery. “They always have family around, even some people who stay overnight,” he said. “It gives you satisfaction knowing that somebody is here to take care of their family.” In fact, as Dr. Safi gets familiar with the area, he only finds “nice people everywhere.”
Before arriving at Iowa, Dr. Safi was living in the Bronx, completing his internal medicine residency at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He was also working in the James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center. Dr. Safi knew that after completing medical school in Peshawar that he wanted to continue his education in the United States because of the wealth of training opportunities available. “(Americans) are the leaders in medicine. I knew I would have a chance to do every kind of test or every kind of imaging a patient could need.” He settled on Mount Sinai because of its reputation in oncology, a subspecialty that has been his “dream from the start.”
A similar reputation for excellence in hematology and oncology research and care brought Dr. Safi to Iowa. He liked the people he interviewed with including Hospitalist Program Director Dr. Kevin Glenn. He said that Dr. Glenn was clear in defining a hospitalist’s responsibilities but he also showed an interest in Dr. Safi’s long-term goals to work as an oncologist. Dr. Glenn is glad that Dr. Safi joined the team. “He quickly proved himself to be a dedicated, hard-working physician. He is passionate about hematology-oncology, and he values the care team he works with each day.”
Dr. Oana Paun is a hematologist and appreciates the way Dr. Safi advocates for patient needs. She says that he is a “talented young physician” and “graciously accepts advice from all team members.” Dr. Safi likes the increased responsibility of his new role compared to his time as a resident. He valued the education he received from his attending physicians, but he appreciates the greater flexibility he has now. He enjoys staying current on research and looking for ways to apply what he learns on his own.
When he is not working, Dr. Safi is exploring. Everything from local restaurants and new friendships with colleagues to short trips to Milwaukee or Chicago and even larger trips to Disney World and Universal Studios. (“I want to go there again.”) He is now also planning a trip to California to see Disneyland and others to visit family, most of whom live in the Pittsburgh area. He is glad to start to put down roots for what he hopes will be a nice long stretch in Iowa City. Dr. Safi says that Iowa has given him much, already but his fresh perspective gives us something in return.