Sonya S. Noor, MD, FACS, took the hand she was dealt with in life and created a name for herself as a successful vascular surgeon. She began her medical career in 1992 when she graduated from Calcutta Medical College in Calcutta, India, and soon moved to North America with the dream of becoming a surgeon. Dr. Noor’s pathway into surgery was an arduous one, as she found it difficult to navigate due to her immigrant background.
“When I look back at my life, I faced certain challenges from the start: I’m left-handed, I’m female and I’m from India. It took me a little bit of time to find a place for myself. In learning to respect myself, I found that I can do this kind of job under stress in a man's world,” said Dr. Noor.
She returned to her Canadian birthplace to take the Canadian licensing exams before coming to the U.S. and completed a few externships along with research at the Medical University of South Carolina in an attempt to break into the U.S. residency system. She soon found herself completing a residency at the State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, where she fell in love with vascular surgery. Dr. Noor credits two male vascular surgeons, Drs. Semel and Zaman, who motivated her to pursue the specialty wholeheartedly.
“Here is the irony of it. Here we are talking about Women’s History Month but really these two men inspired me to want to be a vascular surgeon,” said Dr. Noor. “They were excellent clinicians, artists and just an inspiration to a young person coming up. When I think back to them, I don’t think about them as men or women, I think about them as people, just as they saw me.”
After residency, Dr. Noor completed her fellowship at the University of Buffalo and Arizona Heart Hospital. She returned to Buffalo to open an independent practice, Buffalo Endovascular and Vascular Surgical Associates (BEVSA) in 2007 with her previous attending Dr. G Richard Curl, which has two practice locations today: one in Buffalo and one in Williamsville, N.Y.
With every challenge, Dr. Noor sees new opportunities to make an impact in her career. When she was pregnant with her child, she asked herself what options did she have to contribute, and her conclusion came in developing her efficiency and practice management skills.
“I may not be able to bring in as much revenue and take as many calls, but I put procedures and policies in place, and we became a really successful, low-cost organization because one of the physicians was in a position to watch these things and make it grow,” said Dr. Noor.
Dr. Noor is an advocate for all physicians to be more involved in the management side of the practice. She shares this advice with her residents and fellows so they understand the business side of medicine. Some of the organizations she is involved in include: the American Medical Association, the Western New York Vascular Society, the Eastern Vascular Society and the Society for Vascular Surgery and is the past president of the American College of Surgeons’ Western New York chapter.
“I feel like the next thing that our generation needs to do to help the younger women out there is sharing those challenges and how we’ve mitigated them and made new opportunities,” she said. “We have to ask ourselves what areas need improvement so that they can do better.”
This Women’s History Month, Dr. Noor wants everyone to get together to support the SVS Foundation’s efforts to continue creating programs and initiatives that create positive changes in peoples’ lives.
“I think if all of us as members get together and we support the Foundation’s efforts,” she said, “it’ll help support diversity and inclusion for women and minorities.”
Original article: https://vascular.org/news-advocacy/articles-press-releases/celebrating-womens-history-month-profile-sonya-noor-md-facs