Louisville Medicine Volume 69, Issue 5 - Page 33

AUTHOR Kathryn Vance

DR . WHO

MEMBER SPOTLIGHT DR . SIRAJ SIDDIQI

AUTHOR Kathryn Vance

Building and maintaining relationships has long been a staple in Dr . Siraj Siddiqi ’ s life . Coming from a family of 12 plus a large extended family , he learned this skill young , and has nurtured others throughout his life . Born and raised in Hyderabad , India , Dr . Siddiqi knew that cultural standards said he should be either a doctor or engineer , but he knew he wanted to be a doctor . When his older brother eventually became a psychiatrist ( now practicing in Virginia ) and allowed him to shadow , it solidified this decision . After their mother moved to the US in the early 1980s , their family began to move as well , a few of them at a time . Dr . Siddiqi moved to the US in 1983 when he was 23 years old , coming to West Virginia . It could not have been more of a cultural shock , and he had to learn anew so many things that we take for granted .

“ I ’ m from a big town in India , maybe 3 or 4 million people at the time . When I came to West Virginia , there were maybe a few hundred people in my new town . People were very friendly and helpful . But it was very different ,” he said . “ Even the doorknobs and how you open the door were different .” After completing one semester at a college in Beckley , West Virginia , he moved to Huntington , West Virginia to finish his pre-med undergraduate degree at Marshall University . He then went straight into medical school at Marshall where he quickly got a major shock to his senses .
“ Medical school was very different--I got my first C in my life !” he said . “ I was not used to studying on Friday , Saturday and Sunday , but I realized that in medical school , you have to study every day of the week . There ’ s no break on the weekends .” His class was just 45 students , so teachers and students were able to form close relationships and get to know each other . He never felt anxious about school , instead seeing it as a challenge to overcome . At 23 , he was under the impression it was too late to start a medical career , until he talked to his classmate , age 40 , and he decided age was nothing
but a number . “ In this country , it doesn ’ t matter . At any age , you can change your profession to do what you want to do .”
In his third year of medical school , he decided to enter internal medicine and after graduating , matched at the University of Louisville and never looked back . Even with offers in other places around the country over the years , he said he ’ s always been attached to Louisville , seeing it grow so much over the years . He remembers the summer between medical school and residency well . Graduating on May 5 and not starting residency until July 1 just didn ’ t sit well with him--he ’ s not one to let himself be bored for long . I had no idea what I was going to do with two months of free time ," he said . He called the UofL Residency Program and asked if he could start his residency a month early . " It worked out well because the other residents ... willing to help me .”
He described the UofL Internal Medicine Residency Program as “ humane ” and said that while colleagues in programs around the country told stories of extreme exhaustion and literally falling asleep at the dinner table , UofL ’ s program left residents feeling less stressed , albeit still challenged , and fostered a more relaxed learning environment . He completed his residency in 1993 and began moonlighting in an Adair County emergency room for a few months before joining an independent group called Jeffersontown Family Practice . He worked there until 1995 when they sold to an insurance company and he moved to a private practice in Oldham County , LaGrange Family Practice . In January 1999 , Dr . Siddiqi opened his own practice which he owned for 20 years before joining forces with Baptist Health in 2019 . He practices now with Baptist Health LaGrange Family Medicine .
A small portion of his time is spent in the office in LaGrange these days , as he has stopped taking new patients over the last few years so he can make sure to focus on the patients and relationships
( continued on page 32 ) OCTOBER 2021 31