Growing up, it wasn’t a question of which career path Dr. Hina Fatima would follow — coming from a family of doctors on both her father’s and mother’s side — but rather which kind of doctor she would become. Not to mention, watching her mother, her hero, treat and support patients throughout her childhood made her will to become a physician even stronger.
Dr. Fatima started down the path of pediatric oncologist, but it wasn’t until her residency training that she realized the tremendous impact she could have on the young lives of children as a primary care physician. The power to advocate for little ones was all the inspiration she needed to make the switch.
Today, as our newest pediatrician at Akron Children’s Pediatrics, Warren Downtown, Dr. Fatima spends her days diagnosing and treating children and teens with minor to acute medical conditions, with a specialization in mental and behavioral health. She hopes to make a positive impact on the lives of her patients and families by caring for kids, while at the same time, counseling, encouraging and soothing them. An added bonus, Dr. Fatima says, it makes her a more empathetic human being, too.
Why did you choose to come to Akron Children’s?
I always wanted to be a part of an organization where patients and families are priority. As a new physician, I was looking for a work environment where I could grow and thrive.
Describe your role at Akron Children’s and what you hope to accomplish.
I am a primary care physician at Akron Children’s Pediatrics, Warren Downtown. I hope to make a positive impact on my patients’ and their families’ lives.
What is your area of expertise and why did you choose it?
My area of expertise includes depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders and behavioral problems. To me, I think the first step in treating any condition is to first fully understand the condition. You have to be a good listener to treat mental or behavioral challenges. Many times, teenagers especially are misjudged and misunderstood, which leads to many mental health challenges or can make a physical condition worse. I hope to be someone whom my patients can speak freely to about anything.
When did you decide to become a provider and why?
I always wanted to be a physician. Watching my mother treat patients as an obstetrician my whole life made my will to be a physician even stronger. I originally wanted to become a pediatric oncologist, but during my residency I realized how much of an impact a primary care provider can have on the young lives of children. The opportunity and power to advocate for the little ones is what inspired me to make the switch from oncologist to primary care. I think this was the best decision I made.
What’s the most memorable thing that’s ever happened to you as a provider?
During my residency, there was a child accompanying his mother to his younger sibling’s medical appointment. When I entered the room and started talking, I felt something odd and asked the mother if I could interview her son alone. Turns out, this young boy was severely depressed and actively suicidal. The way he turned and looked into our eyes and said, “Thank you” as the paramedics wheeled him away, I will never ever forget that feeling of happiness, relief and accomplishment I felt that day.
How do you deal with the emotional impact of being a provider?
I spend time with my husband and daughters, and talk to my parents. I try to relax my mind by counting the many blessings I have in my life. Being thankful for them takes all the emotional stress away.
What would you most like to change about health care today?
I wish health care would put a higher priority on physical exams and medical histories, and be less dependent on labs and imaging for diagnoses. I think labs and imaging studies are overused and take away the essence and medical judgment.
What do you like most about being a provider?
I love the opportunity to not only care for children, but also to get the chance to interact, counsel and soothe children and their families. I feel it makes me a more empathetic human being, too.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I belong to a family of doctors. My grandfather, mother and almost all of my cousins, aunts and uncles from both my mother’s and father’s side are doctors. It was only natural for me to go into medicine. I have always loved children and it was depressing for me to see sick children. Since childhood, the medical field was always my passion, especially to treat children. However, there was a brief time in 10th grade that I thought I wanted to do something in interior design or fine arts, so I took a short course in interior decoration.
What do you do when you aren’t working?
I spend all of my time with my 3-year-old daughter, Raima. She is my best friend. Yes, that little lady gets all of my attention when I am not working. She now has a one-month-old partner, Hiba. Playing with them, dressing them up is all I do.
What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
I text my mom.
Who are your heroes and why?
My parents are my heroes. The way they brought us up and took care of everything, and the way they maintained balance between both work and house life is inspiring. They provided us with the best of everything, yet they were able to keep all 3 of us humble and not spoiled. When I look back, there is not a single thing I would change in my life. If I can be only 1 percent of a parent like them, I will be super proud of myself.
What are the small things that make your day better?
If I can make someone happy or smile, that is the highlight of my day.