Fellow Spotlight: Dr. Hassan Cheema

Dr. Hassan Cheema, PGY-VI fellow in Pulmonary and Critical Care, shares about himself, his family and his time at UMMC.

First, tell us about you.

I was born and raised in northeastern Pakistan. I am the youngest with 4 other siblings. I had a very comfortable childhood and was loved and pampered by my parents. I went to spend a few years in boarding school at a young age. I made everlasting friendships and along came a lot of mischief (cannot share all the details). I graduated from the oldest medical school in in the country, King Edward Medical University, Lahore. I was fortunate to get into internal medicine residency program at York Hospital, PA. Having my first child with my lovely wife Asya made time spent in York very memorable. A long move from York with some difficult financial situation at the time worried me, but within a few months of working here all the pessimistic views disappeared. My training filled me with confidence. The birth of our second child, warmth of new friends at work and in the community made Jackson our new home. Staying away from my loving mom and dad breaks my heart but they are always with me in my thoughts.

What do you like most about UMMC?

I like our patient population the most. They can be very sick and challenging, which is good for a trainee’s perspective. I also love serving the underserved communities in Jackson.

When did you know you wanted to pursue Pulmonary & Critical Care?

Very early in my residency. I spent a lot of time in medical ICU as in intern. Critical care is very exciting and rewarding when you make a difference to the life of a very sick patient. I did not have much exposure to outpatient pulmonary medicine as a resident but now I enjoy it more than I had imagined.

Share a memory of your time here.

I don’t eat pork from a religious perspective. We were out at a dinner in New Orleans with the pulmonary division and of course I end up ordering chicken entrée loaded with sprinkled pork. Imagine the look on my face (It was free food at a fine dining restaurant). Well, Dr. Abraham saw that look and swapped food with me, he saved me from starving that night. He is a phenomenal doctor and on top of that a very humble person. Truly my mentor and role model for all.

What advice would you offer to the interns?

Work hard and be patient. Very soon, I mean in a few years, you will be out of poverty.

What could you give a 40 minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?

How to keep up with your sleep while caring for a 9-month-old. Presentation will not be free.

What are some small things that make your day better?

Going back home to see my wife and my boys. Venting with Benji. Coffee break with Dr. Abraham. When I impress Dr. Senitko once a year.

What takes up too much of your time?

Looking at the computer part of my patients and documentation. Obviously, I love it.

What is something you wish you knew more about?

Purpose of life. It’s like scrolling down your facebook page consumes a lot of time but at end you are like “why do I keep doing it”.

Dr. Cheema and his wife Asya and their two children
Dr. Cheema’s two boys

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