Meet Dr. Monjri Shah, a gynecologic oncologist at Alabama Oncology, and the subject of this week’s FACES. Dr. Shah is an inspiring physician whose boundless compassion for her patients and intense motivation to provide the highest level of care have earned her an esteemed reputation among her patients, as well as her colleagues. Here she shares with us some of her favorite things, plus what inspires her to advocate on behalf of women in the community.
Where did you grow up? And what brought you to Birmingham?
I was born and raised in Melbourne, Fla. I moved to New York City for college and stayed for medical school, residency and a couple of years after. In total, I lived there for 15 years and moved to Birmingham for my fellowship at UAB.
Why did you decide to become a doctor and specialize in obstetrics/gynecology and then further specialize in cancer?
There were many things that influenced me to go into medicine: my family’s experience with my grandfather’s gastric cancer diagnosis, my love of science, my sister’s influence. Women’s health and issues surrounding women’s health have always been important to me. Specializing in obstetrics and gynecology allows me to advocate for and help women in ways I feel are beneficial to health and wellness. I decided to further specialize in gynecologic oncology because of the patients I have the privilege of caring for. The grace and strength with which women who have gynecologic cancers deal with their illness is truly awe-inspiring.
If you could give one piece of health or nonhealth advice to the women reading this today, what would it be?
Don’t forget to take care of yourself. You’re important to a lot of people, so make yourself as much of a priority as you make others. And I just saw this recently: life doesn’t have to be perfect to be wonderful.
What is your favorite luxury or indulgence?
Sitting by my pool with a cold drink and a good book.
Did you have a mentor along the way?
I have been incredibly fortunate to have many mentors. Jason Wright and Sree Gaddipati were my first mentors. They believed in me and helped me start my career; all of the Gyn/Onc faculty at UAB, who taught me what it means (and how) to be a gyn-oncologist; and Mack Barnes, who teaches me something new about practicing gyn-oncology every day.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Listen to that little voice in your gut. It’s usually right.
What is your one “must-have” for your fall 2014 wardrobe?
Besides my scrubs? Just kidding! A long-sleeve wrap dress. Really comfortable, flatters almost every shape and it can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion.
What upcoming local events are you most looking forward to?
The Alton Brown Live Show at the BJCC and the Black Jacket Symphony’s Michael Jackson concert at the Alabama Theatre on Halloween.
Favorite thing to do on a Saturday night?
Having a good dinner with friends.
Favorite Birmingham restaurant?
I’m vegetarian, so any place that can put out a good, filling vegetarian entrée is a winner. GianMarco’s is my favorite, though.
What are you listening to these days?
Mostly Pandora. I love that I can hear both old favorites and new songs that fit a certain genre, and that I can combine my favorites.
What books are you currently reading?
Do you have any personality quirks or irrational fears?
My family will tell you I have a lot of quirks. I am unfortunately infamous for my road rage.
Name three things you can’t live without (excluding faith, friends and family):
My cats, my computer and a comfortable hoodie.
Thanks for sharing a bit about you, Dr. Shah. And thank you for taking great care of the women in our community.
Want to read about more inspiring women in our community? Click here to check out more FACES.
As always, much gratitude to our FACES photographer, Beth Hontzas, for today’s fabulous photos! Learn more about Beth at www.bethhontzas.com.