June 3, 2013 | By wonkum |
Q&A with Korin Bhyat, Founder, Other Side of the Stethoscope
1. Tell us about your organization and the inspiration for it?
Other Side of the Stethoscope (OSTETH) was founded in honor of Korin Bhyat’s husband, Dr. Dan Bhyat, a Cleveland Clinic Resident and Howard Medical School Alum who was diagnosed with a rare form of Osteosarcoma in 2009. He braved numerous treatments, surgeries and medications, but unfortunately passed away after a hard-fought, three-year battle. Throughout it all, Dan remained optimistic and stayed committed to his work. As both a patient and a doctor, his work served as a daily distraction from his own prognosis and motivation to better serve his patients. No matter their condition, Dan supported his patients by prescribing a dose of humor and hope.
Through various initiatives and scholarships, OSTETH’s goal is to promote awareness about emotional support in the medical community. Physicians are on the front lines when it comes to keeping patients encouraged when dealing with health challenges. This organization seeks to reintroduce the human side of medicine. We aim to work with physicians early in their medical careers to develop a sense of empathy when dealing with patients. This will allow that compassion to translate into an exceptional bedside manner that positively impacts a patient’s state of mind and duration of life.
My inspiration to establish this nonprofit was not only to honor Dan, but as a wife and a care-taker along side his parents and siblings, who watched first-hand the physical, emotional, and mental challenges Dan faced in the hospital. When someone you love is facing a medical challenge, your only desire is to lessen their pain and suffering in any way that you can.
Throughout Dan’s battle with cancer, his family and I often felt helpless. The only thing we could do is be his advocate and keep him encouraged. We were exposed to physicians who continuously made Dan more scared than he already was and others that made him laugh and smile every time they walked in the room. This nonprofit aims to inspire more doctors who make the one’s we love laugh, smile, and hope.
2. What are the lessons you hope Dan’s life and legacy provides to young professionals of color?
I hope this nonprofit inspires future physicians of the world to follow their dreams and never lose sight of the fact that tomorrow is never promised. Dan was unique in so many instances being a biracial Canadian with a mother who was Catholic and a father was Muslim. I believe his diverse background, and open-minded upbringing from amazing parents, who were educators, gave him a truly revolutionary outlook on life. He never cast judgement on anyone and no matter how bad things got, he kept a smile on his face. I remember one time when Dan was on a clinical trial he said to me, “Maybe I have to go through all of this so that I can help find a cure for someone else down the line.” His selflessness and strength as he lived the last few years as both a physician and a patient encouraged those around him or who even knew his story to put things into perspective.
It’s amazing to see the number of people he inspired in and outside of medical field before he passed away at the young age of 30. I personally, believe it just goes to show that age, race, religion aren’t really a factor when you’re destined to change the world.
3. What has been the most difficult challenge and the greatest reward associated with establishing OSTETH?
The biggest challenge in establishing this non-profit was that it forced me to re-live a lot of the bad memories that made Dan so inspiring. I made the conscious decision to start his organization only a month after he passed without really factoring in all of the delays the mental grief process would cause for me. I just felt compelled to honor his legacy as soon as possible before I loss the strength to do it. Everything that this non profit stands for is built on on things we spoke about, he experienced and he believed in. Also, as someone with absolutely no experience starting a non profit, there was a steep learning curve for me along the way. Luckily my experiences with Dan and amazing support network allowed me to a lot of things along the way into perspective: most importantly …if it’s not life or death then it really isn’t that serious.
The greatest reward from establishing this organization is that it has the potential to impact a lot of lives in an amazing way while also upholding his legacy. I have no doubt he is proud of everything this organization aims to do.
Donations are more than welcomed via OSTETH’s website at: www.osteth.org