Because access to care is not always guaranteed, we’ve been working to help close the gap on the nation’s rheumatologist shortage through our fellowship initiative. In June, we announced five new fellowship awards for 2018. One of those grant awards was offered to the University of California, San Francisco’s (UCSF) adult rheumatology program. This globally recognized program serves more than 6,000 arthritis patients each year.
UCSF awarded their grant to Sara Sani. She grew up on the central coast of California, where she developed a love of the outdoors and trail running. Dr. Sani earned her undergraduate degree in history at Yale University. While a student at Yale, she studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain for a short time and played in an all-girls rock band. After graduation, she moved to San Francisco, where she worked in restaurants and volunteered as a writing tutor in public schools.
Inspired by the work of medical anthropologist Dr. Paul Farmer, Dr. Sani began pursuing opportunities in global health work, spending a summer volunteering in the urgent care of a public hospital in Quetzaltenago, Guatemala. She completed training to become an HIV Test Counselor at the volunteer-run Berkeley Free Clinic while completing pre-medical requirements at Mills College.
Dr. Sani enrolled at Weill Cornell Medical College where she was involved with Universities Allied for Essential Medicines and the Weill Cornell student-run free clinic. She spent a summer assisting with field research on patterns of transmission of leptospirosis in Salvador, Brazil. Dr. Sani was awarded a Doris Duke Research Fellowship and spent a year in Tugela Ferry, South Africa, studying the efficacy of mobile health clinics for tuberculosis and HIV Screening.
Dr. Sani returned to San Francisco to complete her Internship and Residency in Internal Medicine at UCSF. Her interest in Rheumatology was sparked by the many incredible clinicians and teachers she encountered in the Rheumatology Department at UCSF. She was appointed as Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the San Francisco VA, where she worked both in the hospital and the Emergency Department.
Her work in the Emergency Department fueled her interest in musculoskeletal medicine and novel approaches to chronic pain. While applying for the Rheumatology Fellowship, Dr. Sani completed the Ultrasound School of North American Rheumatologists musculoskeletal ultrasound course and is passionate about the use of ultrasound both for improved patient outcomes and as a teaching tool. Thanks to our fellowship program, Dr. Sani is now a first-year fellow in Rheumatology at UCSF.