Dr. Amit Sharma signed up to volunteer with The Addis Clinic in 2017 His specialty is Dermatology and he resides in Arizona. We took the chance to ask him a few questions about his work for The Addis Clinic.
Q: Physicians are known to have a busy schedule. What motivates you to spend extra time to consult other health care workers far away?
Amit: "To me, the role of the physician is three-fold: 1. provide excellent care, 2. educate others on health-related matters and 3. move the field of medicine forward. The Addis Clinic provides a unique opportunity for me to accomplish all three of these goals in a manner that makes such a significant difference in the lives of others. As a dermatologist, I strongly feel that telemedicine will be a large component of our future practice. With Addis Clinic, I am not only helping provide care but also shaping the way we treat patients. Though my day-to-day practice is busy, I feel the few minutes spent monthly helping the Addis Clinic have the greatest impact."
Q: How have you used your specialty (Dermatology) so far in your work for The Addis Clinic?
Amit: "I have received many cases through the Addis Clinic in which the primary complaint is a dermatologic condition. The photos the healthcare workers provide are very helpful and I often look at them first. Often it is a diagnosis of cutaneous infection, but that's not always the case. One patient, in particular, comes to mind: a young girl with recurrent ulcers of the scalp. Infection was on the differential; yet, her ulcers were angulated with surrounding hairs at different lengths. Furthermore, there were no signs of infection surrounding the ulcerations. Thus, a diagnosis of self-induced ulcers with trichotillomania was put forward. Appropriate wound care instructions were provided, systemic antibiotics were stopped and a more directed history was taken. Cases like these not only give us the opportunity to provide care for the patient but also help us teach the health workers about diagnoses that may not otherwise be considered."
Q: What have you gained for your professional AND personal life so far by volunteering for The Addis Clinic?
Amit: "Through the Addis Clinic, I have found a renewed sense of service, which has translated to a new professional direction. Within the Addis Clinic, there are opportunities to evaluate and optimize telemedical applications. Given the growth of telemedicine over the past few years, I am excited to be able to contribute to and shape the field. Also, given my interest in education, I am working on incorporating telemedicine into the curriculum for residents and medical students.
The Addis Clinic has also had a positive impact on my personal life. My fiance also volunteers with the Addis Clinic and we often discuss our cases. We are planning to visit the Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2018 and look forward to meeting the wonderful health workers in person."
Dr. Sharma, we appreciate you taking the time to tell about your experience with The Addis Clinic. Thank you for all your work!