D&I Council Spotlight: Dr. Muhammad Hossain

Interview of Dr. Muhammad Hossain Second Year Resident by Dr. Luis de Jesus Sanchez Third Year Radiology Resident at the University of Chicago Medicine.

Tell us a bit about yourself (where you grew up and what influenced your decision to go into medicine). 
I came to America with my family when I was around one and a half years old. My parents wanted to see what the land of opportunity had to offer and within a short period of time, they realized it was a place my brother and I could thrive through the education system. Though they made the intention to stay on our behalf, they fell into a not-so-uncommon immigrant story of losing their professional careers from back home. They were both general physicians working in Iran prior to moving, but the rigors of raising two children while attempting to navigate through the complex process of becoming an established physician in a foreign land was an obstacle they could not overcome. Their background became deeply rooted in my brother and my upbringing as we heard stories of their experiences and saw them help people within our community with the skills they still retained. 
As I progressed through my early years of education, I found myself intrigued and generally competent with most of the sciences. When I started undergraduate, I had all intentions of going into medical school and majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology. However, I had also developed an interest in economics through a high school microeconomics course that I decided to further investigate by adding it on as a major. By my senior year, I contemplated switching my professional trajectory towards a career that would utilize my economics background. However, my path realigned with medicine after I took the MCAT for the first time and realized how big of a challenge it was. I wanted to face similar challenges moving forward that I faced with that exam the first time I attempted it. Naturally, medicine would offer this at each and every level of training. 
Why did you choose Radiology? 
My interests in medical school were broad. I enjoyed learning about various pathologies that were not limited to the confines of one specialty. By my clinical years, I felt that IM was broad enough to satisfy my intellectual pursuits. However, I realized how limited IM became in terms of the daily workflow in actually seeing multiple pathologies. There was far more secretarial and social work that took up the majority of the day. I found my passion for Radiology during my medical school rotation where I realized that almost every moment looking at imaging was thinking through the medicine of what was normal and what was pathologic. Also, the scope of Radiology was far greater than IM with nearly every specialty needing the assistance of imaging to guide their management. 
As a URM what are your thoughts on DEI in the medical field and Radiology specifically? 
I think universally it is important to have a diverse background of individuals at the workplace, whether it’s in the medical field or Radiology specifically. With diversity, you have a melting pot of unique perspectives built on individual life experiences. By sharing these perspectives, it fosters an atmosphere of open-mindedness and collaboration that boosts organizational/departmental employee morale. 
How do you think UCM can improve recruitment of URM into the medical field? 
I think the best way to improve recruitment is to first foster an environment of welcome and appreciation for residents. It becomes quickly well known by word of mouth how a program is towards its residents. Once that has been achieved, interest in the program naturally increases, including URM. 
As a future Radiologist training at a prestigious institution, what advice would you give to other URM (or PR students) to boost their academic and professional opportunities? 
Life is a lot of luck and a bit of hard work. The hard work increases your odds of being successful in whatever you plan to accomplish. As for myself, I’ve always tried to put great effort into work and education. I essentially worked a number of jobs throughout the years while balancing my academics. I think the best thing that anyone can do is to discipline themselves into putting in as much effort as they can into activities, they feel is beneficial for them or they just generally enjoy. For me, it was mainly working multiple jobs. For others, it may be volunteering, research, shadowing, playing a sport, etc. Of course, this does require being self-motivated and taking the initiative to find these opportunities.