Rupali Rajpathak, MD – Inspiring Hospice and Palliative Medicine Leaders Under 40

This post is from one of the Inspiring Hospice and Palliative Medicine Leaders Under 40. Rupali Rajpathak, MD, was selected based on her involvement in AAHPM, educating others about hospice and palliative medicine, participation in charitable work, and mentoring of students or residents. The honoree was then asked who inspired her over the course of her career. We are sharing some of her answers in this post. Check back regularly for posts from other leaders.

Who has most influenced your work in hospice and palliative medicine and what impact has he or she had?
I don’t think I can name one particular person. There are several individuals who deserve a mention-
Dr. Roma Tiku- my mentor during fellowship. Her command over effective communication, patience and attention to minute details regarding patient history was commendable. I have learned a great deal by observing her ease in conversations with patients and families.
Dr. Nessa Coyle: fellowship mentor. She has the art of simplifying a complicated social, medical issue and explaining it with ease.
Dr. Tara Friedman: She has a great deal of practical experience with clinical and nonclinical issues related to everyday Palliative care conundrums. She is my go to person!

And lastly Id like to say that all my colleagues, patients and their families influence my work on a daily basis. I learn a tremendous amount from every family meeting.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I hope to see our palliative care program grow further and gain recognition in the local community in North East Philadelphia. I would like to be able to contribute to our field of HP through my clinical experience and work. I hope to be an inspiration to the new and upcoming hospice and palliative care professionals and be a source of information/guidance to them.

What is the best advice you have ever received?
Many a times I would get very emotionally involved, stressed and feel disappointed after an unexpected decision made after a family meeting; sometimes I’d almost feel like a failure and feel that there must have been something else I could have explained or said. At such times I always remember an advise by a nurse practitioner from my fellowship training-” You can only do what you can do at this time. Decision making is a journey/process and families at times need to travel a longer distance prior to the destination. Your input is always valuable.”

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