"I have this strong desire to help people who don't have what we can give them, and that's why I do what I do."
Kashif Chaudhry, MD, and his family moved from Pakistan to The Gambia in West Africa when he was 3 years old. Growing up, he learned from the example of his father, a humanitarian who helped build schools and hospitals.
His father's humanitarianism, coupled with the poverty he witnessed in The Gambia, led him to become a doctor.
“Seeing him care for these people who had nothing just inspired me deeply to grow up and help other people," Dr. Chaudhry says.
Dr. Chaudhry specializes in a field called electrophysiology, which deals with abnormal heart rhythms.
After he completed medical school in Pakistan, he came to the United States. He did training and fellowships in large cities like Boston and Baltimore but thought he could make a bigger impact in a smaller community.
That eventually brought him to UPMC Williamsport.
"Because of what I saw growing up, I've always had this passion to serve the community," Dr. Chaudhry says. "There's a supply of electrophysiologists in big cities but not a lot in rural areas like Williamsport. I thought this would be a good area where I can have a higher impact on the community."
In his work, Dr. Chaudhry treats patients with abnormal heart rhythms, or arrhythmia. That includes patients with very slow heartbeats that cause fainting spells and patients with very rapid heartbeats.
One dangerous condition is atrial fibrillation (Afib), the most common form of arrhythmia. Afib is a very fast rhythm that can lead to blood clots and strokes.
Dr. Chaudhry treats patients who have arrhythmia with devices like pacemakers and defibrillators, as well as procedures like ablation. He says many people are not aware of how much these simple treatments can improve their quality of life.
“I really love my patients, and there’s nothing that makes me happier than a patient who comes to me and says, 'Doc, I feel better than how I was before I met you,'" Dr. Chaudhry says. "There are so many cases like that, and it makes my day, makes my week, makes my year. It just makes me very happy."
Electrophysiology is one of the newer fields within cardiology, and it is evolving fast. Dr. Chaudhry says he has a passion for learning new technologies and treatments, and that passion holds true throughout the entire UPMC footprint.
The UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute provides world-class cardiovascular care in all of the communities it serves.
“One of the things I'm also very proud of is the fact that wherever a patient goes within the UPMC system, whether it's Pittsburgh, Williamsport, or Harrisburg, they have the same consistent level of advanced cardiac care," Dr. Chaudhry says. "And this is also consistent with the same kind of care they would get in the best institutions across the country."
Dr. Chaudhry has followed in his father's humanitarian footsteps. He's performed humanitarian work all over the globe. And he helps his community every day through the work he does at UPMC.
“I have this strong desire to help people who don't have what we can give them, and that's why I do what I do," he says. "It just makes my day when I can make someone happy and I can make someone feel better."
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