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Leadership

Dr. Sadaf Sohrab on Leading with Courage Every Day

She’s a pulmonologist by training and a leader by principle. Mercy’s chair of cardiovascular service line shares how she leads a team of top cardiologists, cardiothoracic and vascular surgeons with a focus on dignity and justice.

By Ren Bishop

Jan 2024

Dr. Sadaf Sohrab on Leading with Courage Every Day
Dr. Sadaf Sohrab of Mercy.

More than half a century ago, Saeeda Soomro wanted to be a physician.

A passionate learner and a woman in Pakistan, Soomro had a dream to achieve greater: in healthcare, in business, in her community. And every day, she shared that dream with her granddaughter, Sadaf.

“My grandmother was one of the strongest ladies I knew,” said Dr. Sohrab. “She lived in a culture where women were not encouraged to pursue advanced education, and she always wanted to be a physician herself but wasn’t allowed to. But she raised me and encouraged me, making me want to be a doctor myself. I feel like I’m living what she wanted to do 90 years ago.”

Today, Dr. Sadaf Sohrab is the head of Mercy’s cardiovascular service line in Southwest Missouri. In her role, she oversees cardiac surgeons and cardiologists, as well as specialist physicians across Mercy’s network.

But like her grandmother, she had the courage to reach beyond her credential. Dr. Sohrab is a pulmonologist by training.

“When I was asked to do this role six months ago, it made me a little nervous; it’s easier to lead doctors who share your specialty, because you are aware of issues at the grassroot level and can lead by example,” she says. “It was out of my comfort zone, but I realized that they needed help. They needed a leader who could help make decisions with clarity and honesty, and I hope I can help the team with that.”

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As a pulmonologist and physician, Dr. Sohrab understands the importance of excellent, efficient care. But as a leader, Dr. Sohrab focuses on serving through listening. She’s a self-admitted learner of cardiology, so Dr. Sohrab consults the experts on her team to gather data, gain consensus and deliver decisions that serve the team holistically and patients most efficiently. 

Communicating every step of a hard decision develops trust, an essential to lead any team well, she says.

“Consensus building is key to leading with courage,” she says. “Getting the information, whether from nurses, physicians, administrators or the data we have, I think that information builds confidence and consensus within the team when you’re making a hard decision. When you’ve communicated and you’re accessible, that gives you the confidence that you’re representing the right decision.”

Every day, Dr. Sohrab strives to make the best decisions possible for her team of top surgeons, cardiologists and specialists. But she’s still getting guidance on leadership from her family.

Now, it’s her three children that help her find her way forward.

“I’m a mother of three teenage kids, Minal, Taaha and Ilyaan, who give me strength, keep me honest and remind me to stay positive,” she says. “I often discuss my leadership challenges with them, and they give me honest and brutal feedback! I teach my kids to work hard, work honestly and strive for excellence, and I try to do the same myself.”

I love my job and find it very fulfilling. If I were to start life anew, I’d undoubtedly choose this path again. Leading a dedicated team of doctors and Mercy co-workers who work tirelessly, sacrificing so much to offer top-notch healthcare to our community, is an honor and huge responsibility that I do not take lightly.”

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