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Nabeela Z. Mian, MD has always loved a good puzzle. Even as a child growing up in Pakistan, she enjoyed exercising her intellect. “I was always interested in science – and good at it,” she said. She attended medical school in Pakistan and headed to the U.S. when it was time to complete her residency.

It was during this time that she came to love rheumatology, the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal disease and systemic autoimmune conditions. It attracted her in large part because rheumatology allowed her to solve complex problems, for the most part relying on her knowledge, rather than diagnostic tests. “While I was doing my internal medicine residency at Muhlenberg Regional Medical Center in New Jersey, we saw such interesting rheumatology cases,” she said. “No two cases were alike and your diagnosis is guided almost entirely by clinical judgment. It’s a lot of mental work.”

The satisfaction she experienced in the field prompted Dr. Mian to pursue a fellowship in rheumatology at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx. Dr. Mian said she loved taking care of her patients and they kept her engaged and concerned. Yet as a practicing rheumatologist, she still felt that there was one piece missing. “Ever since my residency and fellowship, I’ve been involved in academics. I really enjoy teaching and observing how my students’ minds absorb knowledge,” she said, adding that working in the Veterans Administration (VA) in Wilkes-Barre allows her to take care of the patients she loves and indulge her passion for teaching. “I very strongly believe doctors have a duty to transfer their knowledge. The VA has the same mission and it really works for me,” she said.

When she joined the VA, Dr. Mian was chief of rheumatology. Today, she is chief of medicine and associate chief of staff for education. “I am responsible for all undergraduate and graduate medical education at the VA,” she said, noting with pride that the VA has been training Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine medical students since the very beginning of the school. “We enjoy a strong, continuing partnership. The students create an atmosphere of curiosity and, in the end, that benefits our patients.”
Nabeela Mian