Trinidadian Doctor Heads American Medical Womens Association In 100th Year

Author:  Michelle Cawley Dreseris
Physicians from around the world are heading to Chicago, April 23-26, 2015 for the 100th Anniversary Conference of the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA). Heading AMWA’s centennial celebrations and medical professionals is Trinidadian-born, Dr. Farzanna S. Haffizulla, MD, FACP.

medical50Dr. Haffizulla is AMWA’s 2014-2015 National President. She is the first Trinidadian-American to hold AMWA’s top position in its 100-year-history. “The AMWA is the oldest organization of women physicians, medical professionals and medical students in the US,” said South Florida resident, Dr. Haffizulla.

“As a Trinidadian, one of my goals is to make people more aware of our Caribbean professionals and their achievements. I work with many Caribbean doctors through AMWA, and through my work,” she said. Dr. Haffizulla is an Internal Physician in Broward County, FL with an extensive background in molecular microbiology, and expertise in the new trends in disease prevention.

“I review thousands of pages of protocols for clinical trials before they are approved here in the U.S.,” said Dr. Haffizulla. She is a nationally recognized physician in the field of internal medicine with specialized knowledge of women’s health issues, diabetes, weight loss, hypertension and hyperlipidemia.

Dr. Haffizulla recently founded a Preventative Medicine Task Force through AMWA – in conjunction with the U.S. Surgeon General’s office – to research disease prevention globally. In May 2015, Dr. Haffizulla will lecture on epigenetics and disease prevention at the First Annual “International Elite Women’s Wellness Conference for Physicians & Healthcare Professionals” in Bermuda.

“Epigenetics is about how the foods and other chemicals you put into your body affect the expression of your genes,” said Dr. Haffizulla. “For example, if someone has a specific gene that codes them towards having a specific cancer, or diabetes, or disease, then by changing their lifestyle, they may change the expression of that gene so that disease may not come to fruition.”

Dr. Haffizulla’s extensive list of honours and accomplishments includes her recent induction as a Direct Fellow into the American College of Physicians.

“There are very stringent requirements to becoming a Direct Fellow and I'm humbled to have received this,” she said.
One of Dr. Haffizulla’s goals is “to encourage more cross-communication and the sharing of resources among physicians from the Caribbean.” “I’d like to see more discussions on disease prevention being held in Caribbean countries like Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados, and others,” she said.

“In AMWA, one of our doctors is collecting anti-steroidal drugs to help people in the Caribbean with the terrible joint pains and other symptoms from the Chikungunya virus,” she said. “The virus is here in South Florida. If you get it, there is no cure, no vaccine, and it is very painful and debilitating. You need to prevent mosquito bites – that’s how it’s transferred – and mosquitoes breeding. Dr. Haffizulla opened her office in Broward in 2008.

“Mine is a unique, concierge, hybrid, internal medicine practice,” said Dr. Haffizulla. “I offer a mix of care options for my patients. They come to my office, or I may do telephone conferences for established patients, or house calls for other patients. I describe my unique model on” Dr. Haffizulla created her own unique medical model because she was “not happy with the way she had to practice medicine.”

“I don’t want insurance companies dictating the care of my patients to me or the amount of time I should spend with them,” she said. “They mandate several hoops for doctors to jump through to care for their patients. My model allows me to focus on my patients and on quality care – wherever I am in the world,” she said.   Dr. Haffizulla does not accept health insurances.

“But, I encourage my patients to get health insurance,” she said. “They must have coverage for screening tests, blood work, diagnostic studies or hospitalizations.” Dr. Haffizulla is married to Jamaican-born physician, Dr. Jason Haffizulla, and she is the mother of four children. How does she balance her intensely busy life?

“I view everything I have to do like a Venn Diagram,” she said. “I look at areas that are in common and can overlap. I accomplish those tasks in the fewest of moves to make sure I have time to enjoy my husband, my family, and everything that’s important to me. It’s an art. That’s why I’ve written two books.”

Dr. Haffizulla published “Harmony of the Spheres: Career, Family and Community” in 2011. In 2014, she published her second book, “Lead with your Heart: A Doctor’s Rx for Personal and Professional success”.

She founded and runs, a work/life balance site. Dr. Haffizulla completed medical school at The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Her residency training was at the Cleveland Clinic Florida and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in Ohio.