TR: How did you get interested in rheumatology?
Dr. Bhana: I knew I wanted to do an internal medicine subspecialty once I graduated from medical school. I had good experiences with rheumatology when I was a student; they were nice and smart people. I was also more familiar with the field because my mom has psoriatic arthritis and my grandmother had discoid lupus. After medical school, I thought I would go into gastroenterology, but I always saw patients in the hospital at 2 and 3 a.m. I think I had PTSD from my father, who is a psychiatrist and would get called out in the middle of the night. I knew I didn’t want to do that to my family or have the stress of it. I like the science and practice of rheumatology, and I also get to have a life, spend time with my family and do recreation. I do hope that through the ACR and other organizations, payers and lawmakers begin to understand the importance of better reimbursing and incentivizing cognitive specialties like ours.
TR: Have you found that balance? What do you like to do outside of work?
Dr. Bhana: Not as much. I put a lot of extra stuff on my plate—like scraping butter over too much bread (sorry, that’s a Lord of the Rings reference; I’m a huge nerd). But I still come home and see my kids every night, put them to bed and play with them on weekends. My kids are 9 and 4, two boys, and my wife says it’s not fair that I get to relive my childhood through them. My parents saved my old Star Wars, Voltron and Transformer toys, so after all these years, and now that my kids are older, I got to break out the boxes [with these toys], and we play with them. We also like to travel—we have family in several areas, and we go to Manhattan quite a bit for museums and restaurants and jazz clubs. We take advantage of the city as much as we can without living in it.
Kelly April Tyrrell writes about health, science and health policy. She lives in Madison, Wis.