Shilpa Marwaha of Kaiser Permanente San Rafael Medical Center wins North Bay Women in Business award

Shilpa Marwaha, M.D.

Infectious disease specialist

The Permanente Medical Group, Kaiser Permanente San Rafael Medical Center

97 San Marin Drive, Novato 94945


Shilpa Marwaha, M.D., an infectious disease specialist with The Permanente Medical Group at the San Rafael hospital, works during the coronavirus pandemic with a renewed sense of purpose. She is a 2020 North Bay Business Journal Women in Business Awards winner.

Professional background: Infectious disease specialist, board certified in internal medicine and infectious diseases

Education: Medical Education: Calcutta National Medical College and Hospital, Kolkata, India; Internal Medicine Residency Howard University Hospital, Washington, D.C.; and Infectious Disease Fellowship: Washington Hospital Center, Washington, D.C.

Tell us about yourself and your company: I am an Infectious Disease specialist with The Permanente Medical Group (TPMG) which is the largest medical group in the United States. I see patients both in the hospital as well as in my office. I work at the Kaiser Permanente San Rafael Medical Center where I am the Chief of Infectious Diseases.

I work in an organization where we strive to provide high-quality, evidence-based health care that is affordable, convenient and personal.

Kaiser Permanente has a vision of being the nation’s model for health care and is leading the transformation of healthcare in this country. We are a leader in disease prevention, early intervention and world-class specialty care treatment.

I am proud to work with colleagues who innovate every day for better outcomes for patients, supported by some of the most comprehensive disease registries in the world and an integrated health care model. From our world-class electronic health record to a seamless care experience for our patients, we set the standard in health care.

Is there a major accomplishment in the past year or so that you would like to share?

Being part of the team of physicians, health care workers and public health officials who helped flatten the curve in Marin County during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

What is the achievement you are most proud of?

Graduating top of my class in medical school

What is your biggest challenge today?

This answer should not come as a surprise. The biggest challenge for me today as an Infectious Disease specialist is the current COVID-19 pandemic caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.

Words that best describe you: Knowledgeable, authentic, compassionate, healer, activist, feminist

In what ways have the pandemic and the shelter-in-place orders changed who you are as a person that will be a part of you long after the pandemic has passed?

I have taken care of patients with a novel viral disease for which there is no cure at the current time. Many of my patients have recovered but I have also lost patients. It is hard to put into words how this has fundamentally changed me as a human being.

Also, what ways do you think it will change the way you go about your career and your business?

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a spotlight on health care workers in general and Infectious Disease physicians in particular.

There have been and will continue to be many changes in the way medicine is practiced and healthcare is delivered in light of this pandemic. A specific example is our expanded use of technology and telehealth – both to perform “video visits” on patients and to allow family members of hospitalized patients to participate in “bedside rounding.”

However, I speak for many of my colleagues when I say that COVID-19 has renewed our sense of purpose so even with all the changes, our core mission of serving our patients remains steadfast and unchanged.

And when it comes to the COVID-19 issue, what are some the lessons learned for the business community?

There are so many lessons to be learned for businesses and organizations during this time of crisis. The importance of good leadership, open and honest communication and providing healthcare for employees and staff cannot be overemphasized.

As a successful female professional, what were the biggest obstacles you faced and how did you overcome them?

As an immigrant, female physician of color, I’ve been subjected to other people’s assumptions and biases. The good news is I come from a family of strong women and was always taught to stand up for myself – which has served me well.

Who was your most important mentor? And tell us a little bit about that person:

Dr. Margo Smith – who was the director of my Infectious Disease Fellowship Program at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington, DC. She taught me a lot of what I know about Infectious Diseases. She was a strong and kind woman who was a force to reckon with. She was an excellent clinician and a wonderful human being. We lost her to cancer seven years ago.

What advice would you give to a young woman entering your profession or the work world today?

Be authentic and live your values.

Most admired businessperson outside your organization: Rose Marcario, CEO of Patagonia

Typical day at the office: The best part of my job is the variety of things I get to so. So there is no such thing as a typical day at the office. I usually divide my time between the hospital and my office.

Current reading: All my current reading relates to COVID – so it’s mostly medical journals and research papers.

Most want to meet: Michelle Obama. Fun Fact: I was a medical volunteer during President Obama’s first inauguration back in 2009 as part of the DC Medical Corps.

Social media you most use: I try and stay off social media as much as possible.

Stress relievers: Hiking. Spending time with family

What would parents or significant others say if asked to brag about you?

Both my parents are practicing physicians. They are pretty amazing people themselves who have set the bar quite high. They like bragging about my kids more than they brag about me!

Shilpa Marwaha, M.D.

Infectious disease specialist

The Permanente Medical Group, Kaiser Permanente San Rafael Medical Center

97 San Marin Drive, Novato 94945


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