Resident Spotlight: Dr. Rizwana Ashraf

A native of Sugarland, Texas, Dr. Rizwana Ashraf knew from a very young age that she held a special passion for healthcare. As a child, she spent many hours in the hospital with her brother who suffered from a condition that required frequent medical attention. During this time, she developed an admiration for physicians and healthcare workers as she witnessed their dedication to helping her brother get better. 

“They offered compassionate, empathetic care to him and comfort and support to our family,” said Ashraf. “That is when I realized I wanted to help people in the same way.”

Ashraf attended Houston Baptist University where she received her Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry. She went on to Fort Hays State University and earned her Master’s Degree in Public Health Administration, followed by her medical degree from Trinity School of Medicine.

As she began to consider where she would spend her next four years of residency, Georgia South Psychiatry Residency Program was a front-runner from the beginning. Not only did it meet all the criteria on her checklist, but she had a special connection with one of the program’s residents.

“Dr. Anthony Cimmino and his wife, Lisa, were two of my closest friends turned family during medical school,” said Ashraf. “When I came to Macon for an elective, Anthony and Lisa invited me to come tour Moultrie and learn more about the program. During my undergraduate education, I made it a priority to partake in as much community service as I could because it humbled me and provided a deep fulfillment. The sense of community here in Moultrie and at Georgia South aligned with my own systems of beliefs and reminded me of home. I knew it would be my forever family.”

Now in her first year of residency at Georgia South, Ashraf knows that she made the correct choice, and her experience has been nothing short of exceptional. 

“I love how much the hospital values their residents,” said Ashraf. “I completed around six different electives at six different hospital systems as a medical student, and none of those hospitals provided so many amenities to their residents. Everyone here is supportive of each resident’s educational, professional and personal goals.”

She even spoke of how both the physicians and her co-residents have helped her personally during times of need.

“When I first moved here, all of my co-residents came over to help me move my furniture,” said Ashraf. “When I got the flu and had to take time off, my attending physician’s wife made chicken noodle soup for me. I am so grateful to work with such a supportive group.” 

Colquitt Regional appealed to her because she liked that she would be able to give back to a rural community. Now, almost at the end of her first year of residency, the work she is doing makes her feel like she is making a difference.

In addition to the close relationships Dr. Ashraf has formed with her fellow residents and staff at Georgia South, one of her favorite aspects of the program is the hands-on experience.

“We get a lot of exposure as residents and see unique cases that are helping prepare us for our future,” said Ashraf.

Further, she spoke of why she chose psychiatry as her specialty and how she hopes to improve understanding to her patients, their families, and the community.

“Psychiatry has long been seen as a taboo topic,” said Ashraf. “As a psychiatrist, I want to bring awareness to the field and help remove some of the stigma attached to it.”

When asked about her favorite memory made so far in the program, it was hard for her to choose just one. 

“I have many favorite memories, and each day is special,” said Ashraf. “I value working alongside and running into such wonderful people and friends whenever I’m at work. Whether it’s the camaraderie, bonding, laughs, Jenga games we play or enjoying lunch and catching up with one another, I think every day here is made special by the people who work at Colquitt Regional Medical Center.”

When she’s not practicing psychiatry, Ashraf enjoys amusement parks, board games, weekend trips to Jacksonville Beach, or anything that calls for quality time with the people she loves.