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Woman of the Year

Issue Date: June 2014, Posted On: 6/1/2014

Dr. Janine Saldanha: Champion of Community Service
Anesthesiologist: Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary and Mass. General Hospital
Instructor in Anesthesia: Harvard Medical School
Diplomate of the American Board of Anesthesiology
Fellow of the Royal College of Anesthetists, London
Hometown: Lynnfield, MA

Dr. Janine Saldanha, M.D., is no stranger to the Indian community. She has served Indian American Forum for Political Education and the Indian Medical Association of New England in various capacities for decades. She is a certified anesthesiologist with over 35 years of experience. A few years ago, she as a chair of the Massachusetts Medical Society Immigrant Medical Graduate Committee and the committee's other nine members launched a program targeting newly minted doctors looking for residency and a mentor who can help them get the most out of being a doctor in this country. "It can be a frustrating and time-depleting time for them. The whole idea is observing how the American medical system works," Dr. Saldanha told INDIA New England News then. Adding to the somewhat disorienting circumstances of arriving in the United States as a fresh medical graduate is the fact that some Indian-American doctors change from one medical discipline to another, depending on availability of residency slots and the availability of positions in the United States, according to Saldanha.

Saldanha has been a Harvard Medical School faculty member and a doctor at Massachusetts General Hospital for ocer three decades, as well as very active in the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin. She currently works at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary and Massachusetts General Hospital.

QUESTION: Can you tell the readers about your work and what you enjoy most about it?
: Anesthesiologists are said to be the internists of the operating room. We are an integral part of the OR team, and the patient's life is literally in our hands during surgery. The human body is very complex so we have to keep up with many different medical fields in order to give a safe anesthetic. Over the course of many years, the spectrum of patients I have anesthetized ranges from elderly patients in their 90's to premature babies, both with myriad medical problems e.g. on a Rotary International medical mission to Bolivia with my husband, also a physician and a Rotarian, very young patients with complex cleft palate defects and burns were anemic and malnourished. Indigenous herbs in their diet sometimes interacted with anesthetic drugs in dangerous ways. It is challenging and gratifying to be able to help people.

Q: To which charitable, community and professional groups do you belong and why?
S: Charitable:
• I have been on medical missions through Rotary International, and been recognized with the Paul Harris Fellow medal.
• I was invited to become a member of the prestigious Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, founded in the 11th century, and received a Papal Knighthood for my support of the
• Catholic Church and its charitable works in Palestine. I was confirmed by Pope Francis at a special Audience in the Vatican in Sep. 2013.
• I have long been a supporter of Saheli, Akshaya Patra, Catholic Charities North and other local charities and in India.

• President of Friends of the Lynnfield Library, raising substantial monetary funds through fundraisers and many hours of volunteer work. Spoken to Lynnfield school children about India and career choices, especially Medicine.
• Church involvement as Lector and Eucharistic Minister
• Received Outstanding Community Service award from Gov. William Weld, 1995

• Trustee of the Boston Medical Library
• Mass. Medical Society: Delegate from Suffolk District; Chair, International Medical Graduates (IMG) section; past vice-chair of Ethics and Grievances committee.
• Past President and Trustee of IMANE. Started IMANE's annual Health Fairs for the Underserved as President.
• Received IMANE's Community Service award in 2010.
• Past Governing Body member and co-chair of American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin's annual convention in Boston 1996
• Past president and Trustee of Indian American Forum for Political Education. I actively support their annual Internship programs, as I believe young people should be involved in the political process.
• American Society of Anesthesiologists membership committee.

Q: What are your hobbies and interests?
Reading, worldwide travel, meeting people and learning about different cultures.

Q: In what way you feel you have most positively influenced the local community and your company and professional field?
As President of the Friends of the Lynnfield Library, I have helped build literacy in young children and inculcate a love of reading in them. Professionally, I have mentored medical students and anesthesia residents, and newly-arrived foreign medical graduates from India and other countries.

Q: Your rare talent?
: I believe I have the ability to motivate people to do their best, and to reach consensus through a democratic process.

Q: Your favorite book?
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen — an intelligent and astute observer of human behavior, culture and mores of early 19th century England, which is still applicable today all over the world.

Q: Your favorite quote?
"You make a living by what you get;
you make a life by what you give" — Winston Churchill.

Q: Your core value you try to live by?
: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you", as Jesus said in the Bible. We will pass by this way but once, and I feel strongly that we should help those less fortunate.
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