Q&A With Uma Borate
Uma Borate is an Assistant Professor and the Co-Associate Director of the Hematology/Oncology Fellowship Program. She did her medical school training at the B.J. Medical College in Pune, India, before moving to Philadelphia to complete her residency and then to Birmingham to complete her fellowship and start her career.
What inspired you to pursue a career in medicine?
I guess you could say it’s the family business. I grew up listening to my parents live and breathe medicine. I never really saw this profession as optional, because I saw how fulfilling it was to my parents, and I always knew I wanted that for myself. It was more than a job to them. I figured this out early on.
I grew up in India. I came here in 2002 to do my post-graduate education here at UAB, and I’ve been here ever since. I trained here as a fellow to do hematology/oncology. This is the place where I met my husband, and this is where I fully figured out what I wanted to do when I grow up, so Birmingham is very special to me.
What kind of challenges do you face being a woman in the medical field?
I don’t think there are many I had to face until I had my child. At that point, I knew I wanted to be a successful doctor and I knew I wanted to give 100 percent to being a wonderful mother. You don’t even know where to begin to achieve compromise. To me, that is the hardest part of being a woman and a doctor.
What is your favorite part of working in the Cancer Center?
The most exciting part of being a doctor who takes care of cancer patients is that every day there’s a new treatment or research finding we didn’t even know about five years ago. Just knowing that I am a part of that is exciting and fulfilling.
What are you working on right now?
I do a lot of research in the field of leukemia. We are now in the era of personalized medicine, and UAB is leading the pack in this. Being involved in that effort is very cool.
Do you have any advice for young women interested in joining the medical field?
You just have to be focused and love what you do. This line of work is so much more than a job. It’s time-fulfilling and exhausting, but most of all, it is endlessly rewarding.