Mar 14, 2023

This Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month, hematologists Ronak Mistry, DO and Dan Hausrath, MD start a conversation around their experiences being early career physicians, and launching a podcast. Watch their video and read a transcript.

Learn more about Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month here.

DH: Hi, I'm Dan. I'm an assistant professor in hematology here at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. And hopefully be starting up working at the VA across the street as well.

RM: I am Ronak Mistry. I'm a second year fellow in hematology and oncology, also at Vanderbilt in Nashville. And both Dan and I are two of the three co-hosts of the Fellow On Call, which is a podcast that some of you may be familiar with.

How did you get interested in studying hematology?

DH: I first got interested actually all the way back in medical school when we were first doing our case-based sessions, case-based teaching sessions, and I found, I just loved working through the anemia cases.

RM: I think the part that I found the coolest was that they used a lot of the same basic science techniques that we learned about in all of our classes.

Stereotyping, fish analysis was something that was used routinely, and I thought it was awesome to be part of a field that was so heavily rooted in the basic sciences.

What assumptions do people have about hematology?

DH: Oftentimes they will assume that, you know, I'm in malignant hematology. It's just more common it seems like and especially on the interview trail when I was. Applying to fellowships. People when they heard I wanted to do class hematology, they're like, oh, really? People, people don't like that . And so I was like, yeah, I, I happened to like it.

RM: I didn't realize how uncommon it was. I, I just assumed everyone loved this stuff. I actually met Dan Oprah Zoom during my interview day, and we, we both realized that we were, again, rarities amongst amongst the pool. So, Yes, it is. It is there is a misconception. The assumption is that we're, that we're doing leukemias and lymphomas and things like that, audio jungle, I've just been really impressed with how multidisciplinary it is, how many different fields are there, and how many specialists.

What is working in an HTC like?

RM: The patients see as they, as they come through the clinic kind of emphasizes or drove home for me. The numerous different health problems that can arise from one underlying condition like hemophilia, as Dan alluded to, it, is truly multidisciplinary. These patients get to meet with physical therapists.

Nurses and physicians, social workers, they have their whole dedicated team just helping them, making sure that they have access to their medications and a lot of the supportive care measures that they need in place to help them to be successful. So it is truly a team atmosphere.

DH: One of the unfortunate things in, in our healthcare system is just how everyone kind of functions in their silo. And unfortunately, patients are the ones that are stuck kind of navigating a lot of that if we don't have the answers. So I think as the physician, they, a lot of patients see us as kind of the person that they go to when they have these concerns and just understanding.

What everyone's role is in helping the patient is important, so you know who to send them to and there's just less lag time of them getting passed from person to person to person. I think that education really has to start early. You know, in medical school we used to have these sessions where we'd have interdisciplinary case to work through.

We'd have students from the nursing school, the dental school, pharmacy school, and of all those cases that we did, I never had a hemophilia case and it seems like such a perfect topic to, to talk through with all these different specialties. So I think just trying to work hemophilia into early medical education is gonna be really important.

What common misconceptions have you heard about blood/bleeding disorders?
DH: So the most common misconception I've heard is that hemophilia has been. Or is no longer really a condition. And I always find that surprising. It's like, oh gosh, did I miss something really big? But I, I think it's just because in the lay press, a lot of times these new and exciting gene therapy approaches are getting discussed and people are thinking, you know, this is, this is further along than, than it really is.

And I just think it's so important to raise the, that awareness that this is still a really important medical condition that has long-term consequences for patients. I think the biggest misconception when patients see hematology or hematology oncology in terms of whether their appointment is, is that they assume that they have some sort of cancer and then.

We are quick to tell them that maybe that's not the case, but you know, we should still do the work up to figure out what it is that they have.

What advice do you have for medical students?

RM: The advice I'd give to a medical student is to really work with their mentors. Be that, you know, advisors in medical school or, or any other kind of mentor. To try and connect with as many different of the subspecialties within hematology as possible. The medical system is getting more defined in terms of these hyper-specialized areas of practice.

And just knowing what's out there, what, what could be available to you in a career in hematology, I think is really important. The biggest trap that somebody can get stuck into is just kind of sticking to the first thing that they experience and thinking that they love it. Exploring the rest medical school is the time to go out and explore everything.

DH: Understand that all of it can just be temporary and from that you can then decide what you wanna do for the rest of your life. So yeah, definitely just keep an open mind.

What inspired you to start a podcast?

RM: The Fellow on Call podcast actually came about shortly after I entered my Fellowship. We realized that we wanted to create a platform that would help help address some of the gaps in education in, in hematology and oncology. There's a lot of really great podcasts out there for a general medicine audience that provide, you know, good information for someone that maybe is curious but not quite, you know, interested in doing hematology or oncology for the rest of their life.

And then there are also podcasts out there that. Very technical for the person that's been doing this for a few years and is interested in learning about the latest and greatest in the field, but there was nothing quite in between. And so that's kind of where we saw our opportunity and we ran with it.

And here we are a little over a year later. And it's been, it's been awesome. We wanted to provide those tools for those trainees that are interested in hematology oncology are just starting out in their fellowships and try and provide them some foundational or fundamental concepts to really give 'em a good start.

DH: And it has been a tremendous learning experience. I think we recorded our first episode seven times before we felt like it was right and just the amount of time that goes. To getting this all put together is more than I expected, but it's been worth every minute. It's just been so much fun.

What conversations are you starting during Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month?
RM: This Bleeding Disorders Awareness month, I'm starting a conversation about health equity.

DH: This Bleeding Disorders Awareness Month, I'm starting conversation about the importance of regular and consistent prophylaxis.