Meena is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine; and a Senior Scholar in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Pennsylvania. While in medical school, she experienced first-hand the discrimination and difficulties of healthcare before the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act and became dedicated to expanding healthcare. She speaks on-air and in-person about these issues and hopes to inspire more healthcare professionals to stand up and speak out because “facts are voiceless.”

Meena has been an important leader in DFA’s work during the pandemic and works closely with our partnership with Made to Save in educating the vaccine hesitant population. She is also on DFA’s National Board of Directors. She and other DFA leaders put together this video, to educate members of DFA’s Vaccine Expert Corps. Take a look! From DFA’s YouTube Page:

She has done the majority of the work in putting together DFA’s COVID Vaccine Toolkit – designed for physician to answer patients’ questions. Check it out here:

Dr. Bewtra, what part of medicine fascinates you the most?

I think it would be clinical epidemiology, to be honest. My PhD focuses on a type of methodology looking at how much risk people are willing to accept for a given benefit (or to avoid a harm)-a very difficult thing to quantify! But I love those types of hard questions. Humans are complex; measuring disease, risk, outcomes-these are not easy! I love figuring out the ways to do it, designing the experiments, recognizing your limitations. Every step takes us closer to a truth about health.

If you could have dinner with anyone in history that made a positive impact on healthcare, who would it be? 

I have to be honest: I’d want a round table of women in leadership positions in surgery and medicine right now. Our chief of colorectal surgery is a woman. The former head of my residency program and now one of the senior vice deans is a woman. The former and current head of our medical school were both women. Women like that are who I’d want to have dinner with–you just know they have stories! I’d LOVE to have a closed door, open bar dinner with women like that! Not only would it inspire me, but it would remind me that I am not alone; the path I am traveling is not isolated; and provide me with ideas on how to be a role model to those behind me.

What is something that most people don’t know about you?

Before I decided to go into medicine, I wanted to be an FBI spy posing as a bartender on a cruise ship. I had dreams!

What do you like to do in your “spare” time? (if you have any!)

During our once-every-couple-of-years vacations, my two biggest goals are to cook as many meals as possible and to read as many murder mysteries as possible. I truly love doing both.

Thank you, Meena!


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