Fall 2017 (Volume 27, Number 3)

The Rohekar Family: Twin Rheumatologists

By Gina Rohekar, MD, FRCPC; and Sherry Rohekar, MD, FRCPC

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My sister Sherry and I are both rheumatologists and happen to also be identical twins. Unsurprisingly, this often leads to confusion amongst patients, residents and other physicians. It doesn’t help that we both work at the same academic centre, St. Joseph’s Health Care in London (University of Western Ontario). I will jokingly (not jokingly) refer to myself as the “good twin” when people inevitably ask how to tell us apart. Both Sherry and I have traversed our medical careers together: same class in med school (where Dr. Janet Pope converted us both, separately, into future rheumatologists), same residency program, same rheumatology program, and finally both practicing in the same centre. Not all of this was planned, but it worked out that way and, fortunately, we get along quite well. I guess I’ve gotten used to Sherry being around! After all, we started life as womb-mates.

From the perspective of someone in a rheumatology family, I think there are probably more pros than cons. I have someone readily available who I can bounce ideas off, who I can vent to, and who won’t judge me if I am accidently an idiot. It’s not always great though – as we both are thinking about rheumatology for most of the day, and it can be very easy to get lost in rheum thoughts and conversations and not talk too much about the other things in life. Turning off the “work brain” can be hard.

I guess I’ve not known anything other than a career with my fellow monozygote, so I don’t know if things would be better if we did not follow the same paths. But I think both of us are happy as both sisters and colleagues. Indeed, I need to make sure that Sherry is happy working with me – I might need her for a kidney or something one day!

One benefit that most other rheumatology families likely don’t have: since Sherry and I look quite the same, if a patient approaches me “in the wild” (at the grocery store, for example) with questions, I can always pretend that I’m not actually their doctor and make an escape!

Gina Rohekar, MD, FRCPC
Associate Professor,
Western University,
London, Ontario

Sherry Rohekar, MD, FRCPC
Associate Professor,
Western University,
London, Ontario

Can you guess who is who?

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