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Humans of the U: Aaron Bia

“From a young age, I had a passion for medicine. My grandfather was a Navajo traditional healer and paved the way for my family to have an interest in medicine. 

My grandfather always emphasized the importance of putting the patient first, no matter the illness and no matter what time of day. His example of compassion and resiliency in medicine and his desire to help patients was very inspiring to me.

In Navajo culture, we have a word Hózhó that means beauty and balance. That was his foundation of belief: help the patient be balanced physically, emotionally and spiritually. His teaching of Hózhó was my foundation going through medical school and residency. 

One of my favorite parts about being a doctor is hearing the life stories of my patients and having them come back to see me. As a family medicine doctor, I love my outpatient clinics and the continuity of care I am a part of. I enjoy seeing patients of all ages— to grow with them and to help them live their best healthiest life. I consider patients my teachers and I’m constantly learning as I am a student for life. 

At the end of my residency, I will be heading back to my tribal community on the Navajo Nation. I will be a physician in my hometown and my family is excited for me. My mission has always been to come back to where I am from to practice rural and tribal medicine.

It’s a rewarding experience to go from having this dream as a little boy—to grow up and be a doctor—to having now gone through college and medical school and to be completing my residency. I now come home as a Navajo doctor in my tribal community; I am seeing it come full circle.

My grandfather is a traditional, respected leader in my community. I get to carry on his legacy of patient care. I will be a doctor who looks like my patients, understands their culture and teach the next generation of healers.”

 — Dr. Aaron Bia, chief resident in the University of Utah’s Family Medicine Residency