Chowdhari Family Makes Generous Gift to Gross Anatomy Lab

Dr. Shaukat Chowdhari, a volunteer faculty member from 2002 – 2004 in the USF College of Medicine Anesthesiology residency program.

Shaukat Chowdhari, MD, and wife Antonina Chowdhari, MD, have made a quarter of a million dollar commitment to the USF College of Medicine’s Gross Anatomy Laboratory. Signing a five-year commitment to the university, the Chowdhari family gift will help transform a critical space utilized in the medical school’s student-learning environment, paving the way for renovations and technological upgrades to the Gross Anatomy Lab. Their first installment of the $250,000 total contribution was delivered earlier this month – a $50,000 check presented to members of the USF Health Office of Development & Alumni Affairs. For gross anatomy students and faculty, it is a gift ‘that keeps giving’. All facilities renovation projects are eligible for a 1:1 match in funding from Florida’s Courtelis Facilities Enhancement Grant.

The lab was built in the 1970s as an integral part of the USF College of Medicine- built with the look and instrumentation “standard” for that era. More than two decades later, the lab had seen few changes until now. The gift by doctors Chowdhari will allow the medical school to update the anatomy facilities with the latest in medical education technology.

“Our family’s way of showing appreciation”…
“This is our family’s way of showing appreciation to the University of South Florida, and in particular, the USF College of Medicine, for the training Dr. Chowdhari acquired there when he did his fellowship,” said Antonina Chowdhari, referring to her husband’s fellowship training in pain management at USF. Dr. Chowdhari ties to the college also go back to 2002 – 2004 when he was a volunteer faculty member in the USF College of Medicine and assisted with the anesthesiology residency program. Mrs. Chowdhari adding “We also want to set an example for our children and show them the importance of being involved and giving back to the community they live in.”

The Chowdhari family decided to make the donation after touring the lab this spring with Dr. Bryan Bognar, Interim Vice-Dean for Educational Affairs.

“One of the many things that come from a gift like this is the ability to design a lab that has expansive applications in the clinical arena,” says Dr. Bognar. “This will allow us to translate the basic knowledge of anatomy into ultrasound and radiology training for our students, as well as train them in emerging imaging technologies.”

Elaborating on the positive impact to clinical care, Bognar says “If you fold into that heightened ultrasound & radiology training, procedures based anatomy, the results are amazing. You have clinicians coming in conducting dissections and surgical procedures in class – which can be video taped and possibly video-streamed ‘live’ on the web. Our students can tune in and study that again and again, anytime, anywhere. It’s hard to argue these things have no clinical relevance. It’s applied anatomy!” says Bognar, visibly excited about enhancements to the lab and grateful to the Chowdhari family for their contribution to the medical school.

Technologies being considered in lab upgrade…
Key components and technology upgrades may include:

• Fully-equipped dissection workstations
• State-of-the-art LCD high-resolution projection and screens throughout the lab
• Digital recording system and state-of-the-art sound system
• Professional grade video cameras for capturing video & possibly live-streaming lectures, presentations, lab courses,etc.
• Video-conferencing capability
• Create a wireless environment

The state-of-the-art technology enhancements will also help to introduce evolving educational technologies such as ‘virtual dissection’. “With less availability of cadaver specimens for medical students to learn from, this upgrade to the gross anatomy lab will create efficient ways of imparting the most important aspects of anatomy education,” says Bognar. “Dr. Chowdhari understands and supports the vision of what anatomy education needs to be in the 21st century and we thank him for supporting the advancement of that vision here in our medical school.”

The gross anatomy lab is located in an extremely high-traffic area and utilized by all medical students, residents, and students in the Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) program. With a state-of-the-art gross anatomy lab, the college can also expand its Continuing Medical Education (CME) opportunities and continuing professional development for health professionals.

“Through this laboratory upgrade, USF Health will be able to deliver integrated medical education using cutting edge technologies and expand on its existing innovative teaching modules. We envision a future anatomy laboratory, through a new architectural design and multimedia capabilities, as a vibrant center for basic and continued medical education,” said Orhan E. Arslan, DVM, PhD, Associate Professor, Director of Anatomy & Director of Anatomy Educational Services at the USF College of Medicine. “It will certainly further the national exposure of our institution and attract diverse talents and innovative ideas. We are confident that this worthwhile project will have a long lasting impact on the direction of the educational program here at USF Health and will undoubtedly strengthen multidisciplinary vertical curricular integration,” added Arslan.

The Chowdhari family…
Dr. Shaukat Chowdhari is the President and Medical Director of University Pain Management Center and a former faculty member in Anesthesiology at the University of South Florida, College of Medicine.

He received his M.D. from Dow Medical College in Karachi, Pakistan in 1982. He completed his internal medicine residency at Cornell University’s Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in New York. In addition, he completed his anesthesiology residency at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s Long Island Jewish Medical Center, and Stony Brook University’s Nassau County Medical Center New York. Dr. Chowdhari also participated in a specialized fellowship in pain management at the University of South Florida between 1995 and 1996.

Dr. Chowdhari is board certified in Pain Management and Anesthesiology by the American Board of Anesthesiology and the American Academy of Pain Management. He is a Member of the Hillsborough County Medical Association, the Association of Pakistani Physicians of North America, the Florida Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, and the Florida Chapter of the American Academy of Pain Management. He holds staff privileges at University Community Hospital, Tampa Bay Surgery Center, and Town & Country Hospital.

Dr. Chowdhari is married to Antonina Canlas Dijamco Chowdhari, MD, Manager and Owner of UPMC Investment Group, L.L.C. and UPMC, L.C., real estate companies with primarily commercial properties in Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco Counties.

Antonina earned her medical degree from the University of the East-Ramon Magsaysay Medical Center in Quezon City, Philippines in 1983. She is a board certified pediatrician by the American Board of Pediatrics. She completed an internship in internal medicine and her residency in pediatrics at Jersey Center Medical Center in New Jersey. She completed a fellowship in neonatal/perinatal medicine at Albert Einstein College of Medicine’s Long Island Jewish Medical Center. Currently, she does not practice medicine, instead operating the family’s real estate businesses.

Doctors Shaukat and Antonina Chowdhari have four children. Their oldest daughter, Mariam, currently 16 years old, has an interest in pursuing medicine. Their 14 year old son, Adam, attends Saddlebrook Golf Academy and is said to be an excellent golfer. Their son Sean is 11 years old. Their youngest child is daughter, Sara Mumtaz, who is 10 years old.

Story by Mandelyn Hutcherson & Lissette Campos, USF Health