Our chief residents – Drs. Awad Hirpara, Jeff Kim, and Libby Wang – were fascinated to learn more about the eclectic background of our third-year resident Dr. Navab, and asked her these questions:
Where are you from and where did you attend college and medical school?
Growing up in Los Angeles offered ample exposure in the entertainment field. In high school, I started a robotics team out of my love for math and science, and got my art and entertainment fill by throwing concerts and “battle of the bands” shows at The El Rey and The Knitting Factory. Eventually, I decided to study Music Business at New York University. There, I worked in marketing at Sony BMG and interned at various entertainment companies, but realized that my future was not in that industry. I trialed the film industry in Los Angeles, working at Brillstein Entertainment Partners. Ultimately, my first professional life crisis was when I found the entertainment industry unfulfilling. After a few months of soul searching, I decided to pursue medicine. I took my premedical prerequisites at NYU and went back home to UCLA for medical school.
What made you decide to pursue anesthesiology training at UCLA?
Everyone has moments in their lives they can relive, touch and taste over and over again. For me, I can still feel the utter joy when opening my match envelope and reading “UCLA.” I had loved my experience as a 3rd and 4th year medical student, and experienced the Anesthesiology Residency Program secondhand through my husband, Kaveh Navab, when I was a medical student. He completed his anesthesiology training at UCLA as well. Choosing UCLA was a no brainer; I knew it would make me a strong clinician and would give me plenty of research opportunities. I also knew that UCLA was not just a residency program, but a family.
What do you like to do in your free time in LA?
During the pre-COVID era, I could be found watching the LA Phil at the Walt Disney Music Hall or the Hollywood Bowl. I love the opera and frequent the LA Opera at Dorothy Chandler, Pacific Opera Company, and The Industry at their various unique locations. I have a special place in my heart for rock music; yes, I attended four Nine Inch Nails concerts in 2018, one of which was during B call. (Don’t worry, Dr. Turner, the venue was exactly 24 minutes away!) Besides music, I frequent the Magic Castle with my co-residents, waiting to be awestruck by some of the best sleight-of-hand magic.
During residency, I started skiing at a nearby resort 1.5 hours away called Mountain High and another 2.5 hours away in Big Bear. I am now a black diamond skier. I love to travel and during residency, I have biked through Cuba, snowboarded in the French Alps and have seen the Big 5 in Botswana on safari – elephant, rhino, lion, leopard, and buffalo. I had a very robust pre-COVID life!
Post-COVID, you will find me baking lots and lots and lots and lots of sourdough bread. My starter is called “Breadna”. I also have three cats who are very happy to keep me indoors. I also love to hike and feel that we are so lucky to live in a city with so many beautiful trails and perfect weather!
What plans do you have for life after residency?
I matched at UCLA for chronic pain fellowship! Advocating for often-misunderstood patients in the hospital, and restoring their quality of life postoperatively during my chronic pain rotation as a CA1, inspired me to request a chronic pain rotation early in my CA-2 year. Many aspects of pain medicine appeal to me, from its continuity of care and multi-disciplinary nature, to the image-guided procedures and significant improvement of quality of life for patients.