On any given day, Angie Shah can be seen working in various areas of IU Health University Hospital. But the areas of the hospital aren’t her focus. It’s the patient in her care. Intensive care, outpatient, oncology, transplant – Shah sees patients who come to University Hospital seeking the best care possible. These patients require complex care that can only be provided in an academic hospital with the latest technology and advances in medicine, said Shah.
“Radiology intrigued me - knowing that I am assessing the patient and I’m an integral part of the healthcare team in diagnosis and care,” said Shah, 43. She came to IU Health 23 years ago working in radiology film loan while in x-ray school. She then worked as an x-ray tech while going through the Bachelors program to become an ultrasound tech. For the past nine years she’s served as team leader for University Ultrasound. In May she graduated with her Masters of Science as a Radiologist Assistant – an advanced practice of patient care that heightens her role assisting the radiologists with patient assessment, patient management and radiological procedures.
In a typical day Shah is performing ultrasounds for such purposes as assessing organs, and reviewing blood flow and pathology – all in the name of patient care. It’s a science that fascinates her and a career that keeps her close to the spirit of her upbringing.
A graduate of Connersville High School, Shah is the second oldest of four. Her mother is a nurse and both parents worked hard on the family farm.
“Cows, pigs, sheep, goats, grain – we did it all. When I was growing up it was required to help. My parents taught me the value of hard work and dedication. Those values instilled in me at a very young age, have helped me achieve success in my career,” said Shah.
Four years ago, at the age of 67, Shah’s father died as a result of a heart attack. Over the years, Shah has been an advocate for organ donation – knowing the difference it makes in the lives of the transplant patients she sees daily. She didn’t know until his passing what an impact she had on her father’s final decisions. She learned then that he had made that lasting gift.
“He was a simple man,” said Shah. “Very humble, friendly, quiet, with a gentle, caring spirit.”
Working with transplant patients is one of Shah’s greatest passions. Another passion is teaching others about ultrasound as a means to improving healthcare. She has traveled to Kenya five times through a consortium of North American academic health centers, led by Indiana University. The program, based at Moi University, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital works in partnership with the Kenyan government emphasizing training, research, and care to address the challenges of global health. Shah will return to Kenya in January. Each time, she spends two to four weeks working with a team of healthcare providers.
“The best advice I was given by my friend and colleague Dr. Marc Kohli when I went the first time was to go with no expectations. It was very humbling,” said Shah, who married Himanshu Shah, department chair of radiology in 1997. Over the years, the couple has hosted radiologists from Kenya who are part of the program.
“They have become friends. I know their families and one of the most rewarding aspects is being able to educate them and help them work toward becoming self-sustaining,” said Shah. She and her husband are parents to two daughters Mackenzie, a freshman at IU, and Jasmine, a sophomore at Zionsville H.S.
Shah loves to travel with her family and has traveled to at least half of the states in the U.S.
“I don’t think you truly realize what you have to offer in your career until you are older,” said Shah. “It’s when you start to see things and become more involved that you come into your own and realize how you are going to interact with people to obtain a common goal.
“One of the things I love the most about my job is working with wonderful coworkers and colleagues and getting to know and help new patients. It’s a joy to watch them progress – especially the transplant patients who come in so sick and then you watch them go through their journey to getting better.”
-- By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health.
Reach Banes via email at T.J. Banes or on Twitter @tjbanes.