Faculty Spotlight: Fatima Syed, MD

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Fatima Syed, MD, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine in our division and is a primary care physician at the Pickett Road clinic. We asked Dr. Syed several questions about her career and here's what we learned (including a few surprises).

What brought you to Duke?
Although I was raised in northern Virginia and trained in Philadelphia, I have always wanted to return back to where I was born, North Carolina. My husband and I made a very specific choice to raise our family in the Triangle to be closer to friends and family and live in this awesome community. Six weeks after our son was born, we moved down to Durham. I came to Duke for everything that Duke represents - excellent clinical care for patients and an excellent education for students (and trainees and attendings). Duke Primary Care at Pickett Road sealed the deal for me. I love working with passionate colleagues and teaching students and residents.

What are your interests in the field?
I am interested clinically in improving health outcomes for patients with type 2 diabetes in the primary care setting. I am interested in educating empathetic student leaders and currently serve as Associate Director of the Duke Primary Care Leadership Track.

How did you get in to this specific field?
I always wanted to be in education and primary care. I detoured after residency into a fellowship in endocrinology but when it came time to decide career paths, I decided to be true to myself and my passion and return back to GIM. I want to be a source of support to residents to stay grounded in GIM.

What are your hobbies or interests outside of work?
I love spending time with family, especially my messy almost 3-year old, and listening to comedy podcasts (shoutout to Marc Maron, twice weekly listener since 2011). 

Any recent books you've read that you would like to share? 
I just finished Michelle Obama's Becoming. I appreciated her honesty and the fact that she is so open about her personal life. I also recommend Fatima Farheen Mirza's A Place for Us. It isn't often I see myself, a Muslim South Asian (Pakistani) woman represented in media and it's just a great read. 

What is a fun fact about yourself?
I have freakishly neat handwriting. No one gets to see it because of EMR, but I am not afraid to not so humble brag about that.

What is your favorite food? 
Anything my mom makes. Also steak. 

What is your favorite restaurant? 
Namu in Durham.

Where do you like to travel?
Domestically I love going to La Jolla. Internationally I always enjoy going to Istanbul for the history and the food!

Is there any thing else you would like to share?
I am just so grateful to work with such wonderful people and proud to be Duke GIM.