Deaf South Asian Americans: Shazia’s Story

Screen Shot 2013-07-14 at 5.02.55 PMShazia Siddiqi is a Deaf Pakistani American doctor, born in Texas area and raised in California. Meeting a deaf doctor is not a common experience, so I asked her to share her medical school tales with me, along with other fun stories from her college years at UC Berkeley.

This is another video in a series of stories I’m collecting, documenting the experiences of the Deaf South Asian American community in Washington, DC. These stories are a part of the permanent collection with the South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA). While these experiences do not represent the entire community, they certainly offer some insight. We chatted last November, at Gallaudet University’s Linguistics Department.

In this video, Shazia talks about how she became interested in medicine in the first place, but the struggles she faced as a deaf medical student in an international school. Since the Americans with Disabilities Act couldn’t guarantee providing interpreters or real time captioning for her studies, she had to find other creative ways to make it through medical school. Upon beginning her rotations, her father fell sick and was wait-listed for a heart transplant, at which point Shazia put a hold on her own studies to help take care of her family.

Check out Shazia’s story:

Update: Shazia’s story was featured on the second episode of my new show, Intersections Radio!
*Special thanks to Keerti Hasija Kauffman for providing voiceover!

More on Shazia:

Shazia Siddiqi was born in Texas and raised in California for most of her life. She is a first-generation American-born to parents who emigrated from Pakistan in the 1970’s. She is the eldest with one younger brother.  Her whole family is hearing. Her parents found out she was deaf at 3 and half years old. She was raised in mainstreamed programs that had deaf classroom and was exposed to American Sign Language at early age. She had ASL interpreters and some real-time captioning throughout her academic career. She graduated with Bachelor’s in Molecular and Cell Biology from UC Berkeley on a full Regents’ Scholarship. It was at UC Berkeley where she got involved with South Asian American awareness through participation in the Indus club on campus. She was involved with their famous annual Indus Club culture show throughout her college career. She earned her Master’s in Public Health from Dartmouth College and worked at Greater Los Angeles Agency on Deafness, a non-profit organization that caters to the needs of Deaf and Hard of Hearing in Los Angeles area. She later earned Doctor of Medicine degree from St. George’s University School of Medicine, and has taught part-time in the Biology Department at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. She is currently the Chair of non-profit organization, Deaf Abused Women’s Network (DAWN), in the DC metropolitan area. Siddiqi’s passion is working in minority health care disparities, especially serving the Deaf and Hard of Hearing population. 

**Special thanks to: Wanette Reynolds, Frank Griffin, Stephanie Durand, and Amber Marchut for their help with this project!