Dr. Hafiz Maje, an HIV Specialist and Internal Medicine Physician, is one of Apicha CHC’s newest providers. Originally from Kenya, Dr. Maje attended medical school in Istanbul, Turkey, before completing his internal medicine residency at the University of Hawaii.He then completed his fellowship at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, specializing in infectious diseases. Previously, Dr. Maje served as an HIV Specialist at a New York City FQHC -- and has now joined the ranks at Apicha CHC.
1. How long have you been working in the medical field?
I graduated from medical school in 1992, in Turkey, so I’ve been all over the place. I worked for a couple of years in Kenya as a junior doctor, and then I came to the U.S. in ‘95. Between my residency and infectious disease training, that took five years. And then I was at Community Health Network after that.
2. How did you end up working in HIV care?
The motivation was to pick a clinical issue that was big in Kenya and in the U.S. at the same time, and that actually affected the underserved populations. I was looking for a skill set that would make it relevant to that segment of the population. I chose this field of training during my fellowship, and because of that I faced a gentle learning curve [in HIV care]. I’ve seen it [HIV] evolve in front of my very own eyes, so that’s an advantage.
3. How do you establish trust with patients?
It takes time. Trust is not established on the very first day. But you take small steps at a time, and that’s how you build trust with patients. You take small steps, the patient takes small steps, and over time that relationship becomes more concrete and cemented. There is no substitute for letting that relationship build up gradually and slowly over time. Like in any other thing in life, it doesn’t get established on the first day.
4. What do you like most about your profession?
The opportunity to make a very significant impact in people’s lives. This is a potentially very serious health concern, but with good medical care, people can look forward to leading normal lives with HIV. That is what thrills me most, that you can take a potentially serious condition and turn it into something very liveable with.
5. What do you like to do on your days off?
Travel. Especially Central and South Asia. I also like sports that are not very common in the U.S., so I like to watch cricket, soccer, and little rugby. I like reading, my favorite genre would be humorous fiction. Sci-fi is my blind spot, as far as literature, unfortunately.