In today's podcast episode and profile, Ines Ongenda speaks with Dr Rena Malik. Dr Malik is an Assistant Professor of Surgery and the Director of Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery at the University of Maryland in Baltimore, USA. In this episode, Dr Malik talks about her journey as a surgeon, the impact and importance of her speciality for the population she cares for and much more.
Can you tell us 3 things about yourself?
1. I’m an only child
2. I used to dance bhangra, a North Indian dance competitively in college and medical school.
3. I have a YouTube Channel where I education the general public on urologic diseases portrayed in popular media.
What is/are the hat(s) you are currently wearing professionally?
1. The Director of Female Pelvic Medicine & reconstructive Surgery in the Division of Urology and Department of Surgery at University of Maryland School of Medicine
2. Medical School Urology Rotation Director
3. Foundations of Research & Critical Thinking Research Mentor for University of Maryland School of Medicine
4. Social Media & Podcast Chair for the Society of Urodynamics, Female Pelvic Medicine & Urogenital Reconstruction (SUFU)
5. Host contributor to the Association of Women Surgeons
6. Member of social media and young urologist committee of the Mid-Atlantic Section of the American Urological Association
7. Interviewer for the University of Maryland School of Medicine Applicants
Can you tell us a bit about what it/they entail?
1. Clinical & surgical care for patients with pelvic floor disorders such as overactive bladder, urinary incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse and neurogenic lower urinary tract dysfunction due to diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis & Parkinson’s Disease.
2. Manage the 2-4-week urology elective rotation offered to medical students during their clinical rotations during their 3rdyear
3. Mentor Medical students through conceptualizing and designing a research project, collecting and analysing data, and prepare a manuscript for submission.
4. Lead and help organize the social media plans for the organization, encouraging membership involvement in twitter during the annual meetings and residency preceptorship as well as helping pilot the SUFU podcast featuring member highlights, clinically relevant topics, fellowship reviews, etc.
5. Host interviews of prominent women surgeon leaders for the Association of Women Surgeons podcast
6. Participate in the social media plan for the organization on Twitter, YouTube and Instagram and assist with developing programming and opportunities for young urologists in the organization.
What does one of your typical day (incorporating those roles) look like?
I don’t have a typical day so to speak. My weeks are variable Mondays are mostly operative, Tuesdays are ambulatory clinic and Wednesday-Friday can be different depending on which week of the month it is. Because of the variability I tend to schedule myself to incorporate the activities outside of the OR based on priority and to optimize efficiency. I schedule my weeks on Sundays to determine what major activities I want to or need to get done daily and each night I alter my schedule for the following day depending on what I was able to complete and what needs to get done. I will very often schedule some time for deep work – uninterrupted time dedicated to an activity that requires significant mental energy such as grant or manuscript writing
Can you tell us about your research interests?
I’m interested in health literacy and optimizing the ability of patients to understand the information we are giving them, which is particularly relevant in the area of pelvic floor disorders which are increasingly complex and impact quality of life. I also have an interest in physician/surgeon gender disparities.
What is the paper (published or not)/project/initiative you are most proud of and why?
This is a tough question to answer because there’s not one specific thing I’m most proud of but more the resilience and work ethic that has developed and persisted through the process of training and starting my career. I believe the most important thing you can do in life is to continue and make efforts to grow and improve. Sometimes this requires being uncomfortable, failing and learning from those failures.
What does Global Urology means to you?
It means coming together to improve the care of patients with urologic conditions worldwide. With advancing technology, social media and the ease of communication this is something we can really work on in a much more impactful way than ever before.