Anjeni Keswani, MD
- Came to Northwestern from New Jersey through the Honors Program in Medical Education
- Has a small art studio set up in her apartment where she paints in her free time
- Volunteer Resident of the Year 2010 at Community Clinic
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Who inspires you?
I believe that it is the responsibility of physicians to give back to the community and I have been fortunate enough to find a truly amazing clinic, the Community Health Clinic, to volunteer at. As a resident, I have an attending that oversees my patients with me. Aashish Didwania, our associate program director, truly inspires me in that he has a full clinic schedule and multiple program responsibilities, and still finds the time to volunteer at the clinic on Saturday mornings.
Another physician who inspires me is Dr. James Webster who volunteers with us at Community Health Clinic every Monday truly demonstrates the impact that physicians can have both with individual patient interactions, displayed by spending hours coordinating free patient care, and on a large scale level, having led the campaign for a smoke-free Chicago.
Tell us more about your background.
I grew up in a small town, Berkeley Heights, New Jersey. I have been interested in medicine since I was in 5th grade science class, dissecting a cow’s eye. I have one older sister, Mahima, who is a pediatric nephrology fellow at Boston Children’s Hospital. She has experienced many of the milestones that I am currently experiencing during my medical training and has truly been a great guide. My parents grew up in New Delhi, India and are both engineers.
If you were not a physician, what would you be doing?
I would love to work in politics at an international level to help improve living conditions and human rights around the world. I recently volunteered at the Centro Medico Humberto Parra, a free general medicine clinic in rural Bolivia which serves 13 neighboring towns and is often the only access to health care. Under the current health care system in Bolivia, patients must pay for all of their health care costs, including every syringe, scalpel, and medication needed for their care, which for most people is an overwhelming burden. It was eye opening to see how things that we take for granted , common ailments such as modern roofs and clean water, would prevent many Chagas’ disease and parasitic infections.
What are your interests outside of work?
I love creative arts. I have taken multiple art classes in painting and ceramics during residency. I have also recently developed a passion for sushi – I am quickly working my way through the menus of many of Chicago’s sushi restaurants and I learned to make my own sushi rolls (although I haven’t gone as far as catching my own fish yet!). As far as travel is concerned, I’ve made a trip to Europe every year during residency, first Greece and then Italy. This year, I’m foregoing Europe for a week in the Caribbean with a dozen of the third year residents, many of whom I count among my closest friends.
I am pursuing a career in Allergy-Immunology. My research is centered on the role of a novel cytokine, interleukin-32, in chronic rhinosinusitis under the mentorship of Robert Schleimer, PhD, Division Chief of Allergy-Immunology, and Atsushi Kato, PhD. I am working to prove that interleukin-32 is elevated in chronic rhinosinusitis as it had previously been demonstrated to be more highly expressed in other inflammatory disorders of rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis. My goal is to work toward future therapies in allergic disease.