Rizwana Fareeduddin, MD, MBA
Name: Riz Fareeduddin, MD, MBA
Institution: North Florida Regional Medical Center/North Florida Perinatal Associates
Title: Department Chief/Medical Director
Medical School: American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine
Residency: Providence Hospital and Medical Centers, Southfield, MI
Fellowship Training Institution: Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, CA
Tell us about someone who had an influence on you as child. My great aunt emigrated to the U.S. from India with her husband, a general surgeon. She was the only Ob/Gyn in a small community and took call every day – even post-operatively after her mastectomy! She managed to run a household, raise five boys, and host and cook for large family gatherings often. She is retired and currently battling Parkinson’s - I continue to be in awe of her strength.
What was your first job and how did it prepare you for your current position? My first job was at McDonald's at the age of 15. I worked at several retail and department stores thereafter and did multiple temp jobs at offices and as an administrative assistant. These jobs taught me excellent customer service skills, the ability to diffuse difficult situations, and the patience required to see things through. I learned how to efficiently organize my time while juggling multiple demands and how to manage schedules. All of which are required in medicine.
How did the diversity (or lack of diversity) in your medical educators shape your training? I am so thankful to have trained in incredibly diverse areas and training programs. I trained with attending and colleagues who were Black, White, Asian, Middle Eastern, Latino, and LGBTQ. My training would have been less meaningful without these interactions and friendships. I took it for granted and thought everyone trained this way! Where I practice currently, reminds me that not everyone is lucky enough to train the way I did.
How has your cultural background shaped you as an MFM? I was raised in a very patriarchal culture. The gender inequities and abuse I’ve seen fuels me to ensure women are listened to, cared for, and taken seriously. I am happy to have male colleagues and a husband who care that way for their own patients.
Tell us about one of your most memorable patient encounters. A few years ago, I recall giving a young woman in her first pregnancy, a lethal fetal diagnosis. Her reaction was devastating and I thought of her often as her care was transferred to another facility. She returned to see me a few months ago with a new pregnancy and in spite of COVID we immediately hugged each other. I told her how I had been thinking of her and how sorry I was that she had to go through losing her baby. She said to me, “My mom and I were talking about you recently. I told her how I couldn't imagine anyone better to give me that bad news. You were so supportive and I’ll never forget that.” I am so humbled by the strength of our patients and their ability to be kind in the face of adversity. I cried all day.
Tell us about an MFM colleague who has been an important part of your MFM career. I have to thank my MFMs from residency – Drs. Rob Welch and Bill Blessed for encouraging me to apply to MFM and inviting me to join them after training. I learned so much and cherish the time I spent in their practice. My fellowship faculty were so important in shaping the practitioner I became. Each one provided a different perspective and knowledge base that I still carry with me. Dr. John Williams, III was Yoda to my Skywalker, teaching me the critical skill of performing CVS. Special shout out to Drs. Chris Han and Sherri Jackson for being a support system when I started solo practice...and beyond. However, the most important people in my MFM career have been the sonographers who every day make me better at what I do.
What role has SMFM played in your career? I was lucky to serve on a SMFM committee early in my career and love being part of the faculty at our annual Practice Management Conference. The academic materials such as the SMFM consult series and literature review contribute to my daily practice. The Annual Meeting is a good balance of fun and academics - catching up with friends and colleagues is good for the soul. I personally love following the careers of those who trained after me and watching them become the rock stars I knew there were.
If you had to live one day in your life over and over (think Groundhog Day 1993 Movie), which would you pick? My wedding day.
If I could solve one problem in MFM it would be…figuring out how to clone perinatal sonographers.
The best day I ever had as an MFM was…the day I paid off my private student loans.
The hardest day I ever had as an MFM was…telling a patient whose husband had just been murdered that her 37 week fetus had passed away.
I might be the only MFM who…enjoyed business school better than medical school.
My MFM colleagues would be shocked to know…I was an amateur journalist while in graduate school and I’ve interviewed several Bollywood celebrities both in print and on TV.