Ashka Patel, DO
Internal Medicine Resident
Infectious Diseases, particularly Global Health, has been a passion for Ashka Patel, DO ever since she traveled to Honduras during medical school. The trip inspired her to continue seeking opportunities to work in resource limited settings during her internal medicine residency at Geisinger. This past spring she was able to travel to Zambia with Geisinger neurologist, Dr. Kelly Baldwin to hone her skills at The University Teaching Hospital in Lusaka, Zambia. There, Dr. Patel led an infectious disease team composed of an internal medicine intern and five medical students.
Dr. Patel said her time in Zambia demanded excellence in two of the most fundamental skills of a physician – the history and physical. “In a resource-limited environment, you can’t just order a battery of tests,” she said. “There’s no algorithm to help you make a diagnosis – in most circumstances there is no diagnosis. You have to ask yourself, ‘What can I order that the patient can afford that will get me close enough to an answer?’ You learn to be comfortable with diagnosing based off of epidemiology, rather than tests and imaging.”
Being comfortable with epidemiology was exactly the experience Dr. Patel hoped to gain in Zambia. She just concluded her residency at Geisinger and is now headed to University of Maryland for her Infectious Diseases fellowship. Later she hopes get her Master in Public Health and then to apply to the Epidemic Intelligence Service, a post graduate program of the Centers for Disease Control, where officers respond to disease outbreaks and other public health threats.