Raj Woolever, MD, Residency Director

Medical School: University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, New York
Family Medicine Residency: Travis Air Force Base Family Medicine Residency, California

 

I grew up in Upstate New York (i.e. not “the city”) where my father was a college professor and my mother mostly stayed home with my sister and me.  Both of my parents were born and grew up in India and all things Indian remained an important part of my upbringing.  I developed my own connection to India as a Rotary Exchange student between high school and college and returned to South Asia as a Fulbright Scholar in Sri Lanka after receiving my bachelor’s degree from Tufts University.  It was during my time in Sri Lanka and through work with UNICEF that the idea of becoming a doctor first entered my head.  That major course correction required a return to school and a post-bacc pre-med program where I met my wife, Cindy Dechenes.  We both also then met the US Air Force who helped to fund the remainder of our medical education.  We had our first child (son, Kadin) during medical school and the second (daughter, Elina) during residency.  The Air Force was a great place to raise our young family and we thoroughly enjoyed our tours in Northern California, the “pan-handle” of Florida, and Germany.  But after 10 years of moving frequently, it felt like time to come back home to the Northeastern US.

My wife is the Mainer in our family, but Maine does not feel all that different from Upstate New York.  When we separated from the Air Force, we knew that we wanted to be in New England and I knew that I wanted to be on a residency faculty.  The Northern New England academic family medicine community was a great place to land and Maine truly is “the way life should be.”  As of October 2018, I am very excited to take over as the Director of MDFMR.  It has a storied history (“Heirs of General Practice”), a great mix of faculty and staff, interesting and diverse residents and a strong commitment to serving the underserved and working toward better health for our communities.  It is a great environment for learning family medicine and it is a pleasure and a privilege to come to work every day.

My wife and I are both runners and have run 5 marathons and several half-marathons together.  Maine is a beautiful place to run, as well as kayak, ski and hike.  It’s a good thing we like to run because we also like to eat and there is lots of great local food!  As our history implies, we are also big travelers and seize every opportunity to sample a new destination.

Medically, I am interested in the clinical decision making process and how we reconcile the uncertainties and ambiguities that are an inherent part of family medicine, trying to figure out the best ways to measure “health” and capitalizing on the power of the patient-physician relationship.