What Inspires One to Be a Doctor?

Inspiration is defined as “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something”.  One might say that it can be found all around us - in life’s big and small moments.  But those moments are often shared with others, and can profoundly impact the course of a person’s life.  

It’s safe to say that there are calculated drivers for highly intellectual people to pursue a career in medicine.  No one perseveres through years of preparation, study, testing, debt, competition, rejection, and mental stress on a whim.  

Deep emotional experiences tend to be directly tied to doctors’ origin stories, but in times like a worldwide pandemic, what inspires them to keep going despite the loneliness, sleep-deprivation, tears and uncertainty?

For our community, the most influential reasons are always connected to the heart.  Whether it be a friend, family member or total stranger, this Doctors’ Day, we honor life’s most profound lessons through the stories, struggles, and patient triumphs of our physicians - to hear from them what makes a career in medicine a journey worth taking.

Roohi Jeelani, MD

Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility Specialist

My Mother & Dr. Reena Jabamoni 

“Number one most importantly it’s my mom. She’s not a physician, but she truly showed me that you can achieve anything you want once you have that passion. All you need is a drive and any goal or any dream is attainable and she continues to show me that daily.  Number two is Dr. Reena Jabamoni who was one of the first female reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialists in the late 70s. Being a minority female in the late 70s, she truly conquered all and practiced all the way until the late 2000s. I was fortunate enough to practice with her for a couple of years before she transitioned out. Those two people continue to inspire me daily to not only be a better doctor but to be a better person.”

Renee Paro, MD 

Pediatric Cardiologist 

My Team 

“The people that have inspired me the most this Doctors’ Day is my team- My medical assistant, Celia, and my ECHO technician, Kiathry. Even though we didn’t work directly in a hospital setting with one on one Covid patients, we’ve worked the entire time throughout the pandemic. Whether it was seeing patients in clinic or having my ECHO tech scan patients, there has never been a time where the two of them weren’t here with me working to take care of people throughout the highs and the lows. I would not have been able to make it through this pandemic without them. My team is everything so this year and every year, but this year in particular, I am super grateful for them.”

Robert Drummond, MD, PhD

Urgent Care Physician

The Social Community 

“One of the things that has inspired me the most over the past year has been the many messages I've received from individuals across the country appreciating a better understanding into SARS-Covid-2, Covid-19, and the vaccines that my platform has given them. One of my mentors told me years ago that being a physician scientist would allow me to affect hundreds of thousands of lives. At the time I thought it would be through research, but as it turns out, having that background in cellular and molecular medicine has given me insight into virology and immunology.  That background has helped me bring these videos to you. So if my videos have helped you out, just know that you inspired me to keep going.”

Amanda Ly, DO 

General Surgery Resident Physician

My Fellow Residents 

“I think we can all agree that this last year has been very difficult through this pandemic and I want to give a quick shout out to the people who inspired me the most. I want to say thank you to my co-residents, as well as the residents across the nation for trudging through this time. I don’t think a single one of us realized we’d ever be going through a pandemic during our training, but I think when we get through this together, at the end of the day, we’re going to be better physicians for our patients.” 

James Gao, MD


Random Acts of Kindness 

“At the start of the pandemic when things were very uncertain and just beginning to shut down, I was on call going into a grocery store to do some shopping. I was exhausted and was one of the only people at the time wearing a mask. Walking in, I remember a lot of the very incriminating and judgmental stares that I got from people. It made me feel very isolated and negative. But one of the employees suddenly came up to me and put a bouquet of flowers in my shopping cart saying, “Those are for you, free of charge”.  It really moved me, and as I reflect on this very challenging pandemic where people have suffered so much, what really inspired me was the random acts of kindness of strangers. Whether it be the medical community, communities of color who have suffered loss and trauma, or the community in general, random acts of kindness and self-sacrifice have really inspired me.”

Flora Sinha, MD 

Internal Medicine Physician 

Our Kids 

“Happy Doctors’ Day to each and every one of those physicians who continue to endure, inspire, motivate, empathize and just be the epitome of caretakers to their patients and to their colleagues. The people who have really kept me going in the last year, given all the hardships, are our children. The adaptability, resilience, and the optimism that I saw in our kids was simply grounding and it really kept me going this year.  So along with so many other people and things, I think our kids inspired me the most.”

Stephanie Be, DO 

Pediatric Urgent Care Physician 

Dr. Alin Gragossian

“One person that really inspires me is an amazing female physician, Dr. Alin Gragossian. She and I first met at the MPH program at USC but lost touch over the years. I recently came across her Instagram account and learned in the last few years she underwent an urgent heart transplant, due to a sudden cardiac failure, had to find a different residency program to complete the last few months of her residency because her program closed, and then went on to become a critical care fellow; which means she’s been working in the ICU during the Covid-19 Pandemic. Seeing how she has handled every curveball that has been thrown at her and how she uses her platform to advocate for patients, science, and organ donation has been truly inspiring.”

Edward Daniele, MD

Plastic Surgeon 

My Mom 

“The person that continues to inspire me this Doctors’ Day is my mom. She raised myself and my two younger brothers and sacrificed everything to ensure that we had a proper education and always worked hard. She passed away suddenly three years ago but I always considered her my guardian angel.”

Tori Jaeger, DO 


My Medical Community

“This Doctors’ Day is a little more special because this year has been really challenging for everybody. I just want to share and say thank you to everyone who has been a part of the medical community and the team that I work with every single day. From the nursing staff, to the aids, to the housekeepers, to the therapist, and to everyone; it’s you who inspired me to keep working every day to care for patients. I just want to say thank you because I couldn’t do what I do every day without you guys. It’s really you guys who are on the front lines so thank you.”

Amanda Xi, MD


Colleagues & Patients  

“This Doctors’ Day, I wanted to share my experience  caring for critically ill patients as an ICU fellow during the peak of the Covid-19 Pandemic as something that continues to inspire me to this day. The selflessness of my colleagues, residents, nurses, respiratory therapists, patient care advocates, assistants, administration team, and environmental services teams was moving. Everyone was there ready to help out, pitch in, and face this frightening unknown with resilience, strength and incredible bravery. I also wanted to mention the love, support, and gratitude demonstrated by patients and their caregivers throughout the pandemic. I want to thank everyone for everything they have done over the course of this really challenging year.”

Charis Chambers, MD 


My Patients 

“This Doctors’ Day, I am most inspired by my incredible patients. I am an OB/GYN but specifically, I’m a Pediatric Adolescent Gynecologist so most of my patients are teens and tweens in middle school and high school. That age is already hard enough but it’s even more challenging to navigate changing bodies, finding a true purpose and who you are during a pandemic. Their resilience, optimism, and ability to still express themselves in their passions during this time continues to motivate me and really keeps me excited to do the work that I do. Happy Doctors’ Day to all the doctors out there and a special thank you to our patients who make this job well worth it.”

Anita Patel, MD 

Pediatric Critical Care Physician 

My Parents 

“I think it’s fitting that I am currently on an overnight shift when I am talking about why I’m grateful on this Doctors’ Day. For me, it is unequivocally my parents. They are both greater than 70 and I’m an ICU doctor for children. After maternity leave, I had to go back on the front lines. Even though I’m a high-risk person to be around, my parents stepped up despite me telling them not to. They took care of my baby girl throughout this pandemic and so did my husband’s parents so really the grandparents for me are the heroes of this pandemic.”

Vania Manipod, DO



My Patients 

"The people who inspire me most on this Doctors’ Day are my patients. There is nothing more rewarding and gratifying than to work with a patient and have them open up to me, trust me enough to discuss their struggles, and talk about things they normally wouldn’t tell anyone. For me to see their progress over time, that’s the reason I went into this field in the first place. There are times that I get burnt out but when I see my patients improving, partnering together with me, and putting in the work; being a part of that and playing a role in that is what inspires me to keep going on this path in my career as a physician." 

Rajiv Bahl, MD 


Emergency Medicine Physician 

My Family 

“This Doctors’ Day, I’m inspired to do more because of my family. My wife, Lauren, works in the Intensive Care Unit and chose to go back to work and give back to our community here in central Florida several months after giving birth to our newborn son, who was born at the very start of this pandemic. My son, Sanjay, doesn’t know a world without social distancing, masks and temperature checks and I know he is going to enjoy that but we need to keep working harder. This Doctors’ Day, I’m inspired to do more because of them.”

Kristin Fauntleroy, MD 

Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Resident Physician 

My Grandpa 

“The person that inspired me the most this past year would have to be my grandpa. He’s in his 80s and for the past few years, he’s been the primary caregiver for my grandma and her brother, who have Alzheimers and Dementia. Over the past year, both their health statuses have declined requiring full assistance daily.  I’ve seen my grandpa selflessly take on that responsibility, but this year brought its own set of challenges with social isolation.  Despite having no breaks for himself and the danger of contracting COVID-19, he never complains about what he has to do.  Most touching of all, even though my grandma can’t remember things the way that she used to, he still makes sure that she always has flowers. I think for me, it kind of shows me that taking care of someone is not just scheduling their medicine, and their changes, but also knowing what they love and making sure they have a part of that in their day. So grandpa, if you see this, sorry I told everyone that you’re 80 and thank you for inspiring me forever.”

Brian Bassiri, MD 

Plastic Surgeon 

My Brother 

“This year has been rough for everyone and we all have our own way of pushing forward and staying motivated. For me, my other brother, Mike, continues to inspire me every day. He’s my older brother and has helped me through the toughest times of my life. He has been there every step of the way. As a Head & Neck surgeon, my brother goes to the hospital to see patients and do emergency surgeries in the midst of a pandemic, putting himself at risk for the community. His dedication to his patients is something I truly admire. His enthusiasm drives me every day to do everything I possibly can for my patients, so that I can be “Like Mike”.

Rania Habib, MD, DDS

Pediatric Cleft & Craniofacial Surgeon 

Fellow Physicians 

“This Doctors’ Day, I want to honor all of my fellow Physicians who are on the front lines during the pandemic. Thank you for putting your life on the line to ensure that the public was safe that your fellow physicians were safe. It means the world to us and we will never forget the selfless acts that you performed in order to ensure our safety. I am proud of everything that you did. Happy Doctors’ Day!”

Amber Hardeman, MD 

Internal Medicine/ Pediatrics Physician 

My Family & Community 

“What drives me in medicine is really my family and community. My aunt is a Family Practice Physician and I’ve seen her in her clinics in our hospitals my entire time growing up. She has always pushed me to be the best that I can be in order to help people and do what’s right no matter what. As I have transformed into a physician, I carry on the same values of honesty and treating people how I would want to be treated. It’s so incredibly heartwarming to see, especially little African American or Hispanic children, see me as their physician, by clapping and getting really excited because you can’t be what you can’t see. Overall, I just love to be in my own community, helping out here as far as healthcare disparities are concerned and I can’t wait to continue and see what my future holds.”

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