CONWAY — Dr. Sohaib Siddiqui has joined the staff at White Mountain Community Health Center as medical director and family practice physician.
Siddiqui had been serving as consulting physician for the health center while on staff at Memorial Hospital as a hospitalist, and has now joined the health center as a full staff member.
Anyone interested in enrolling as Dr. Siddiqui’s patient can call the health center at (603) 447-8900.
Siddiqui has been practicing in Mount Washington Valley for almost 15 years.
Patients appreciate his easygoing demeanor and sense of humor, as well as his dedication to going the extra mile to keep them healthy.
As a family practice physician, he is accepting patients of any age, and has particular knowledge in cardiovascular issues and care for older patients.
Director of Communications Siena Kaplan-Thompson recently sat down with Siddiqui to learn more about him and reintroduce him to the community as a family practice physician.
What got you interested in medicine in the first place?
My uncle was a cardiologist in upstate New York, and he did primary care and cardiology, basically. He was someone I looked up to. I always imagined myself, in med school and undergrad, that I would end up in a rural community practicing family medicine. I enjoy medicine because of the interactions with the patients and the family members. That’s what makes it fun.
Right, you’re a very social kind of person.
Yes, I am. I take care of people from birth to death. I think I’m one of the few physicians in the valley that still does home visits, there are very few of us who do it anymore. Especially in a community when we have people here who can’t afford to pay gas to drive to a clinic. Or elderly people, too, especially in the winter months, they can’t get out in this type of weather. So I like to offer that.
It’s helpful for people, but it helps me get to know the patient better. An example, from five or six years ago, is this patient kept getting admitted for falling down — syncope. Had a big workup, you know, MRIs, echos, CAT scans, all that stuff, and then finally I did a home visit.
I was like, “Tell me where you fall every time, show it to me.” So, she showed me, and on the threshold there was a metal plate. This was sticking up, and she kept falling over that. So, I brought two screws and I screwed it in, and guess what, no more syncope!
It was as simple as that?
Yeah, two brass screws. She was older, she couldn’t really see that well. It made me feel good because if I prevented a hip fracture on her, that’s a good thing.
That fits really well with our approach at the health center, we have a community health worker and social workers who work with providers to look for things like that that might really be affecting patients’ health. I know that’s something we’ve appreciated about you, that you share that approach. Why did you choose the health center, what do you like about being here?
I like the people. I’ve practiced now pretty much in every practice in the valley, I’m I think rare in that way. I like the mission of the health center, you know, helping the community. I know it sounds boilerplate, but that’s what it really is. I showed you the picture of the Christmas presents in the hallway (from the Christmas Stocking Project). That really makes me happy. So I think being part of that is important. I like the health center. It’s a good place. We do good work here.
Do you have any plans or hopes for the health center that you could share?
One of my core competencies is cardiology. We just started reading halter monitors here, that’s a passion of mine, that’s for cardiac arrhythmias. I want to expand the clinical services, including more cardiac testing and lung testing. Down the road, I want to restart the laser therapy too. I’m just trying to make the services we provide a little bit wider. My target demographic that I want to see here is 60 and above. It’s a growing demographic in this area.
Why did you choose family practice? It sounds like you really value having that individual relationship with your patients.
Oh, yeah. I like taking care of the whole family. Seeking medical attention, sometimes it’s the worst, biggest event in someone’s life. Cancer, heart attacks stroke, these are big, big life events. To be part of that and to help people through that is a blessing, to me anyways. I feel like I’m doing good.
Do you have any philosophies or values that guide you as a provider?
I just make it up as I go (laughs). The biggest thing I do for myself, I read one journal article a day, and that’s what I’ve been doing since residency. I read one journal article that’s pertinent to my practice, read it again in a week’s time, read it a third time, then file it away.
It helps me keep on top of things, and see what the research has been doing. My wife says my mistresses are JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association) and NEJOM (the New England Journal of Medicine).
What brought you to this area?
I’m from Long Island, born and raised, I grew up in Smithtown, Stoney Brook. I came here for an interview at a local practice, and just fell in love with the area, so I stayed.
What do you love about this area?
The snow and the people. People are very down to earth here; they’re not pretentious. You could be talking to a multimillionaire or the guy who’s snow plowing, they’re exactly the same level. A big reason I left New York was I felt it was very pretentious and uppity.
What do you do for fun outside of work?
I watch a lot of movies, I go to the Bridgton movie theater. I like going for walks, cross-country skiing. Whittaker Woods, they have the tracks. Even in the tracks I still fall (laughs), but I enjoy that. I like going there. I like going dancing in Portland and Boston.
Oh yeah? What kind of dancing?
Hip hop, clubbing. That’s where the New York comes out I guess. I go with my wife; it’s fun. Q, that’s the cool club, it’s all hip hop stuff. I go to a lot of concerts there too. What’s that place near Fenway? Blues Brothers. I’ve seen Kid Cudi there, Milky Chance.
What do your patients like about you? What makes people choose you as a physician?
I think I’m jovial, and I’m a good listener. I sit there and listen. “Doctor” means to teach. So, the way I practice is I’m educating my patient, we make a decision together. It’s not me just telling them, OK, here’s a blood pressure pill, this is what you’re going to do, goodbye. It’s more like, what are we going to do to help bring your blood pressure down, are there lifestyle changes, medications, what are the side effects? That goes with talking face-to-face with the patient. That’s important to me, that face-to-face stuff.
This interview has been edited for length. Read the full interview and learn more about the health center at whitemountainhealth.org.
White Mountain Community Health Center is located in Conway and provides comprehensive primary care to men, women and children, including dental care, a prenatal program, and support services. The health center is a non-profit working to ensure that all can access high-quality health care, regardless of ability to pay. For more information about the health center, go to whitemountainhealth.org or call (603) 447-8900.