From Afghanistan to Maine: One Member's Story | Cardiology Magazine
Profile | Although Amina Qazi, DO, FACC, governor of the ACC Maine Chapter, has spent the bulk of her life in Maine, she was born a continent away in Jalalabad, Afghanistan.
Her family moved to Maine when she was 11 years old. “My father had $1,500 in his pocket to feed, shelter and clothe a young family, with nothing else to his name,” she said. According to Qazi, her father was a graduate student who worked two jobs and volunteered as a math tutor at an afterschool program. Meanwhile, her mother clocked in hundreds of overtime hours as a seamstress, in addition to spending countless hours volunteering at the Refugee Resettlement Program where she helped other refugee women become acclimated to life in America.
“I look back on those years with complete awe and I still can’t fathom how incredibly hard my parents worked to build a life here in America,” Quazi said.
Qazi’s parents passed their work ethic down to their daughter. She graduated high school at the age of 16 and attended College close to home at the University of Southern Maine. She graduated with honors, earning an undergraduate degree in biology, and went on from there to attend the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine. It was during her residency program at the University of Connecticut Internal Medicine that Qazi became interested in cardiology.
“I chose to pursue cardiology as a career when I completed my coronary care unit and cardiology rotations during my second year in the Internal Medicine residency program. I find that more often than not we choose our career path based upon who our best mentors are and some of my best teachers and mentors were cardiologists,” Qazi said.
James Powers, MD, FACC, a past governor of the ACC’s Maine chapter, whom Qazi had the opportunity to work with as part of her cardiology fellowship, is one of her most noted mentors. It was Powers who introduced Qazi to the ACC and the role of ACC Governor.
“I owe the opportunity to serve as the governor of ACC’s Maine Chapter to Dr. Power,” she said. “He made me aware of the opening and suggested I consider it and the rest is history.”
One of the highlights of her career was during the 2013 Convocation where she assumed the role of Maine Governor. “I felt so very proud not only because I was there representing some incredible cardiologists in the state of Maine, I was proud to be a member of the Board of Governors (BOG),” Qazi recounted. “As I stood in the room just prior to the Convocation ceremony amongst other members of the BOG and the Board of Trustees, I was truly star struck. I could not believe that I had the opportunity to stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the most elite cardiologists in the world.”
As governor of the ACC’s Maine chapter, Qazi hopes to help push continuing education in Maine. Another major priority is to promote prevention of cardiovascular disease by continuing to be involved in legislation at the state level.
Qazi, who is currently in her fifth year of practice as an attending cardiologist at Eastern Maine Medical Center Northeast Cardiology Associates, encourages other early career professionals to seek out local and national opportunities to allow them help improve their communities.
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