“An incredible place to practice medicine”: Adam Dossaji forges his career as a doctor in the US

“An incredible place to practice medicine”:  Adam Dossaji forges his career as a doctor in the US

A chance encounter with the person who is now his wife led to a significant alteration to Adam Dossaji’s location and career trajectory.

It was soon after he had graduated from medical school that Adam (OE 2003-2010) met Saima Shikari, a doctor from New York. For a year they flew back and forth between the US and the UK before deciding to get married. During that time Adam completed all his licensing exams, allowing him to practice in the States. “I moved to the USA shortly before getting married and applied to be a resident in internal medicine,” he says.

Adam has just started his Internal Medicine Residency at Baystate Medical Centre in Central Massachusetts, where he lives in Springfield with Saima. “It’s a role that doesn’t exactly exist in the UK,” he says. “I basically cover all non-surgical medical problems in the hospital for adults. I tell my non-medical family and friends that I do what JD and Dr Cox do on Scrubs – a programme I watched at lunchtimes on a very small screen in the Sixth Form Common Room at QE!”

He remembers the School visits with particular fondness and says he now realises what a strong foundation QE laid in its boys. “It was challenging, and, at times, I complained and thought things were arcane or unnecessary. Looking back, I now see how the requirements for attention to details, for us to think for ourselves, and to take the harder road, built my resilience and gave me a belief that anything was possible.” He especially picks out the Science and Mathematics departments for their “incredible” support during his A-levels. Among the trips he enjoyed, he names the Swanage GCSE Geography trip, a visit to Mill Hill observatory and the German exchange.

After leaving QE, Adam took up a place at Kings College London School of Biomedical Sciences, graduating in Psychology with Basic Medical Sciences in 2013 and also gaining from Kings a Diploma in Theology and Philosophy. He then went on to Guy’s, King’s and St Thomas’ School of Medical Education (GKT) where he was awarded his MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery) in 2016. The previous year, as part of his training he spent four weeks at the Lady Willingdon Hospital in Manali, Himachal Pradesh in India, in general internal medicine and four weeks in Critical Care and Emergency Medicine in the Hinduja Hospital in Mumbai. He completed his Foundation Programme at the University Hospital of Wales, where he spent four months in Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary surgery, four months in A&E and a further four months in General Internal Medicine (Respiratory) in 2017.

Among the accolades he gained during his training were the National Poster Presentations prize at the Royal College of Psychiatrists International Congress in 2013 and the Royal Society of Medicine Phillip Ellman Prize in Respiratory Medicine (2014).

His current role involves working in rotation through the wards, in intensive care, in outpatients and in all the medical departments for three years. He will then move on to further training. In the future, Adam is looking forward to specialising further. “I have a keen interest in pulmonology and critical care. It involves managing some of the most acutely unwell people in the hospital, helping patients and families through some of the most difficult periods of their lives.”

His professional experience of life in the USA has been overwhelmingly positive. “America is at a very unusual point. Most people’s views of the country are based on its domestic and international politics, which at the moment is very chaotic. Personally, my experience of the USA has been very different: it is an incredibly open country, where large institutions are desperate for the best employees they can find, regardless of where you are from. They highly regard international experience and yearn to learn about different perspectives.”

“Massachusetts is an amazing place to practice and learn medicine; we are one hour from Harvard and Yale, and home to the New England Journal of Medicine. There is an argument that healthcare is more expensive in America, and the insurance system has got flaws; however, many hospitals in America are at the forefront of advances in healthcare, relentlessly expanding horizons, and at the cutting edge of treatments and cures for diseases such as cancer.”

Several of Adam’s OE friends studied Medicine, although staying in close touch can be a challenge. “It’s great having that connection, but the distance makes it harder. I am sure I will see many of their names in medical journals in coming years.”

A keen table tennis player when he was in the UK, he has pursued this even further in the US. “I’ve joined a club and now play a lot of table tennis.”

He has re-established contact with the School and hopes in the future to be able to provide information to current boys interested in studying Medicine, particularly those who wish to work abroad.