The fierce drive to be an expert in my field, cultivate deep compassion for the suffering of others and develop the ability to be open and present for the deepest pain in others. This capacity to be with others' suffering developed from intensive spiritual (Zen) practice and a powerful commitment to the Bodhisattva (Great Compassionate Being) Ideal of Mahayana Buddhism. All that and being pretty funny :)
My life and my career have been deeply inspired by my late father, Munjig John Takakjian, MD - a towering figure, loving man and sometimes an overwhelming father. My dad taught me to be deeply compassionate.