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Dr. Rimma Osipov is assistant professor of medicine in the division of hospital medicine with special interests that include medical humanities, medical education, the history of medicine, clinical ethics, and the physician and patient experience through narrative. 

Rimma Osipov
Rimma Osipov, MD, PhD

What brought you to UNC Medical Center?

I originally came to UNC for residency training. It was very important for me to work at a public hospital with a sense of mission. I’ve met so many people here who have shared a commitment to do their best for everyone who came seeking care no matter who they were or where they came from.

Where are you from?

That’s a complicated question! I was born in Novosibirsk, Russia, but immigrated to the US with my family at the age of 4. I grew up in Los Angeles, California, and went to medical school in Texas.

Did you always want to be a doctor?

I have been fortunate to have amazing role models in my mom and grandmother, both of whom are/were physicians. Growing up, I was drawn much more to the humanities and social sciences, particularly history. I didn’t realize that I wanted to be a doctor until I was in college.

How did you choose your specialty?

In medical school, I loved every specialty I rotated through. Internal medicine encourages broad, systems-based thinking which was a way of not having to narrow my interests.

What do you find most rewarding about your work?

Hands down the time I spend with patients! Especially, if I can work with a patient so that they can be a part of their own care.

What are some of the new developments in your field of specialty?

I am very excited about all of the new ways we are beginning to understand obesity and diabetes. We are moving beyond seeing these conditions as individual moral failings and realizing that they are imbedded in every aspect of life from the molecular to the cellular to the systemic and the social.

Is there a particular achievement (professional or personal) that has been most gratifying to you?

Finally finishing the Harry Potter Series (as an adult).

What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

An early mentor of mine gave me an important reality check about the difference between perfectionism and excellence. One causes self doubt and paralysis, the other pushes you to be better.

If you weren’t a physician, what would you like to be doing?

I would love to be an archeologist!

What hobbies do you enjoy?

Traveling, baking, reading, hiking, kayaking, painting, trying very hard to learn disc golf, and attempting to train my free spirted dogs.

Do you have a favorite quote or life motto?

“Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death.” (the incomperable Auntie Mame)

What was the last book you read?

Warlight by Michael Ondaatje.

Learn more about Dr. Osipov here.