IACCGH Business Hour Open forum Featuring Dr. Vinita Bhagia, Chief of Endocrinology, Kelsey Seybold.
By Somdatta Basu
Empowering Women in Medicine: The Inspiring Journey of Endocrinologist Dr. Vinita Bhagia
Houston, TX: Dr. Vinita Bhagia, head of Endocrinology at the Kelsey Seybold Clinic, was invited by the Indo-American Chamber of Commerce of Greater Houston (IACCGH) on February 25 to speak on the Open Forum as part of the IACCGH Business Hour at the Hum FM Radio studio. Jagdip Ahluwalia, the Executive Director of IACCGH, described Dr. Bhagia as a role model for young doctors who aspire to grow professionally in their leadership and community roles. Her inspiring journey, marked by her commitment to providing quality healthcare, focus on building strong teams, and ability to balance technical expertise with soft skills like communication and collaboration, is one that resonates with women. On Saturday, Dr. Bhagia took the listeners of Hum FM Radio on her journey as a woman leader and highlighted the qualities that make her a role model for aspiring physicians and career moms. In a conversation with radio host Dr. Subodh Bhuchar, who is a renowned physician himself, Vinita told the listeners that her voyage as a leader began early on in her career. After completing her residency and fellowship, she became interested in endocrinology and found it to be a cerebral and challenging field. “I enjoyed the fact that every case was different and required me to think critically and creatively. As I gained more experience in the field, I began to take on leadership roles, first as a teacher and decision-maker during my residency and later as the head of the department at Kelsey-Seybold Clinic,” Dr. Bhagia told the listeners on a beautiful Saturday afternoon., as she connected with her audience.
As a woman leader, Vinita faced a unique set of challenges. She spoke about the ego that physicians often have and how it can be intimidating. However, the celebrated physician also highlighted the importance of soft skills like empathy and collaboration, which have helped her lead the team towards providing better quality healthcare, evidence-based medicine, and a great patient experience at the Kelsey-Seybold Clinic. When asked about her leadership style, Vinita gave out her mantra. “I focus on teamwork and collaboration. I understand the importance of respecting and understanding people’s individual strengths and weaknesses and recognize that working as a team is crucial to providing the best care to patients,” the Lady Hardinge Medical College, Delhi, alumna pointed out. She also places a strong emphasis on aligning values with the culture of her team and ensuring that everyone is on the same page when it comes to providing quality healthcare.In addition to her technical expertise and leadership qualities, Dr. Bhagia’s journey has been shaped by her experiences as a member of a joint family. She grew up in Delhi in a family of doctors and engineers, with her father being a pediatrician and her older brother an orthodontist. “I have my brother and parents living in the US. And my grandfather, who moved here to be with the family at the age of 91. My family is my biggest support,” says the mother of two, who loves to spend her time with her husband, son, and daughter. Vinita has also been actively involved with the Indian Doctors Association and the IACCGH. “I strongly believe that networking and collaboration are crucial to leadership, and I encourage other aspiring physicians to get involved with professional organizations and build strong relationships with other medical professionals,” Vinita explained. While discussing the pathbreaking research in her field and the upcoming medical innovations, Vinita shared the expansion plans of her department with the increasing number of Kelsey-Seybold Clinic on the radar.
She is acutely aware of the challenges that women face in leadership positions. “We need to be assertive and confident in order to succeed and encourage other women to pursue leadership roles and break through the glass ceiling,” Vinita suggested.