Safi Ahmed, MD

I grew up outside of Boston and am the youngest of 3 children. Since I was a child, I was strongly encouraged to go into medicine by my family and teachers due to my passion for helping people. I went to Tufts University and Tufts School of Medicine were I completed a BA/MPH with majors in Child Development and Community Health and a concentration in Health Communications. I was pre-med while at Tufts but fell in love with public health and international travel. After graduating I spent 4 months in India getting to know my extended family as well as volunteering at a UNICEF field office. I completed 2 years of Peace Corps service in rural South Africa where I worked with an NGO doing family literacy, health education, teaching English, and conducting home visits with our learners to teach them about HIV, nutrition, and the care of children 0-5 years old. Eventually I got back to the USA and obtained my MD at UMass Medical School. I decided to extend to a fifth year to do more international work in Uganda and to learn about quality improvement and integrative medicine. Before and throughout medical school, I had wanted to go into Family Medicine as it was a perfect bridge between public health and clinical medicine. I fell into psychiatry based on my experience during clinical rotations where the patient’s last concern was usually their mental health. I couldn’t see how you could separate mental health from medical care, i.e. how do you treat chronic disease if the person is bedridden due to their depression? I was fortunate enough to do an audition subI with the combined program in 2011 and instantly fell in love with SVDP clinic and its staff.

My favorite aspect of the combined program is working at SVDP with the homeless, undocumented, uninsured populations. I also enjoy the friendships I’ve made with clinic staff as well as the categorical FM and psychiatry residents. SoCal has treated me well and I really love the work-life balance that’s strongly encouraged here. 

My plan for post-residency life is to complete a fellowship in integrative medicine, geared towards the underserved. Long term I hope to work at a community clinic or an FQHC doing family medicine, psychiatry, integrative medicine and perhaps community health programming. I’m particularly interested in integrative medicine (i.e. yoga, acupuncture, OMT, energy medicine, shamanism), working with marginalized populations (i.e. refugees, immigrants, homeless, migrant farm workers, sex workers), and lastly spirituality (or the lack of) in medicine.