Dr. Saima Chaudhry
Neurologist – Educator – Advocate
About Dr. Chaudhry
For Dr. Saima Chaudhry, a board-certified neurologist and first generation Pakistani-American, her most vivid childhood memory includes the smell of ketchup on the walls of her family home. With severe spectrum autism disorder, her brother has always been fond of ketchup in and on everything. He was Saima’s first introduction to a severe neurologic condition, resulting in the inability to speak or perform simple tasks and ignited Dr. Chaudhry’s deep interest in the brain, language, and mechanisms which allow one to communicate.
In addition to witnessing her brother’s daily struggles, Dr. Chaudhry also observed the challenges her parents encountered as Pakistani-Muslim immigrants in America. On several occasions she saw her mother, who had previously been employed as a collegiate physics professor in Pakistan, receive suboptimal health care because medical personnel made assumptions about her level of understanding. After the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Saima observed the discrimination against many in the South Asian community and the fear these communities felt.
Growing up in Lexington, MA, Saima admits she often faced numerous challenges as a first-generation Pakistani American immigrant. She remembers feeling lost in the educational system when applying for colleges. Unlike many other classmates whose families had lived in America for generations, Dr. Chaudhry’s parents were unable to help her navigate the complex pathway to higher education.
The challenges she witnessed fueled Dr. Chaudhry desire to give voice to those who have been silenced in healthcare. With hard work and determination, she graduated from the Chicago Medical School where she served as Co-President of the South Asian Medical Association, was awarded the American Medical Association’s “Outstanding Leader” award and received the “You Rock” award for exemplary leadership, service, and commitment to the medical campus community.
Dr. Chaudhry then completed her internship in medicine and neurology residency at the Loyola University Medical Center where she served as Chief Resident. Outstanding in her field, Dr. Chaudhry received several other honors and awards, including “The Frank A. Rubino Clinical Neurology Award” for excellence in patient care and education from the Loyola Department of Neurology and the “Enhanced Resident Leadership Program Award” from the American Academy of Neurology. She currently works as an Attending Physician and Assistant Professor of Neurology at Rhode Island Hospital and the Alpert Medical School of Brown University.
Dr. Chaudhry is a strong advocate for the South Asian community. In college, she was an engaged member of the South Asian Students Association where she organized fundraisers for victims of poverty in South Asia. She also helped raise funds to provide education for underprivileged rural village children in Pakistan. As President of the South Asian Medical Association, Saima worked to promote awareness of South Asian culture through dance and cuisine.
Why is Papitto Opportunity Connection and its mission of bettering the BIPOC Communities so important to you?
As a first-generation South Asian immigrant, I’ve witnessed the challenges that people of color face. I recognize that I’ve had more opportunity than most, and many members of the BIPOC community struggle every single day to be heard or to be given equal opportunity to pursue their dreams due to systemic racism. I believe the POC and its mission of bettering the BIPOC community is imperative to give strength to the voices that exist and to help break down the artificial barriers set by society that have fueled systemic racism within our country.