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Welcome to The Medicine Mentors interview series. Our mission is to create a platform for top physician mentors to share key insights, traits and best practices based on their experiences to guide medical students and residents.

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Jun 15, 2021

Laxmi Suthar MD is the Program Director Of  UCLA-Olive View Categorical and Preliminary Internal Medicine Residency, and an Associate Professor Of Medicine at David Geffen School Of Medicine at UCLA. Dr. Suthar completed her medical school from Oregon Health Sciences University and residency in internal medicine from the University of California -- San Francisco. She also completed a teaching fellowship at UCSF during her training. Dr. Suthar’s academic areas of interest include medical education, pre-operative medicine, and women’s health. She has been awarded Attending of the Year awards at both UC Irvine and Olive View and the American College of Physicians Southern California Laureate Award in 2018 for her contribution to resident education. Dr. Suthar has been committed to the personal and professional growth of medical students and residents in a wide variety of practice settings.

When discussing the traits of the best residents she has trained, Dr. Laxmi Suthar mentions enthusiasm first: embracing the joy of medicine and what brought them into medicine. She says, ‘For me if a mentee has that joy, I can help them through anything else.” But what if they have lost that joy? “Then we have to actually work through that piece first.” Dr. Suthar does that by asking the resident why they applied to medical school in the first place. Once the resident identifies what they wanted to do in medicine, then, Dr. Suthar asks what’s stopping them from doing that? And once they know that, they can work on problem-solving and getting rid of the obstacles in order to get them back to that joy of medicine again.

Pearls of Wisdom:

1. While trying to achieve balance, realize that you will have to prioritize for a particular day. You can't do it all on the same day. You will need to sacrifice some things.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need, whether in a contract negotiation, or with a mentor. And it’s important to have mentors throughout your career, not just as medical students or residents.
3. To help you build better relationships with patients, make notes of their personal details and bring them up at the start of their next visit. Also, tailor their treatment plans to suit their particular situations. This will improve compliance.
4. The three main traits of successful residents are 1, staying connected to their why, 2, flexibility of thought process, and 3, honesty with themselves and their mentor.