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A New Kind of Heart

March 13, 2019
Manizeh Mirza-Gruber, MD

BOSTON, Mass.—When Hurricane Harvey struck in 2017, Houston, Texas psychiatrist Manizeh Mirza-Gruber, MD, saw her home, neighborhood, and city flooded. Her life was transformed— physically, spiritually, and emotionally.

Since then, she has focused on 5 attributes which says have allowed her to become her true and authentic self: compassion, acceptance, belief, gratitude and empathy.

The initial letters of the attributes, CABGE, are similar to CABG, an abbreviation for coronary artery bypass grafting, a procedure which bypasses a blocked artery to restore blood flow to the heart. Dr. Mirza-Gruber calls the CABGE attributes “A New Kind of Heart.”

“These attributes have allowed me to become a better person, a better mother, a better wife, a better psychiatrist,” she said. “And in doing so it allowed me to work with my patients and my family and my Houston community and help them heal.”

Dr. Mirza-Gruber now incorporates the lessons she has learned since the floods into her private practice. She spoke about her experience and work at re:Think, a series of TED-style talks presented by innovative experts in the mental health field at Elevate by Psych Congress.

Below, Dr. Mirza-Gruber, a native of Pakistan and a long-distance endurance runner, discusses her presentation at re:Think and her future plans.

Q: Why were you interested in being a re:Think speaker?

A: When I first read about re:Think in the Psych Congress email, I said “I’m going to speak!” I loved that it was a format similar to TED-like talks which I love listening to, and the format and theme included ideas that are innovative, different, and thought provoking.

After Hurricane Harvey, I was determined to find a way to heal myself and the greater Houston community. My goal was to start with my neighborhood which had been affected three years in a row and now was a shell of a neighborhood – so painful to witness, as well as make a difference in my religious and spiritual home – our synagogue which flooded and suffered significant damage. I was accepted into the Center for Mind-Body Medicine’s training program and completed both the Professional Training Program and Advanced Training Program and was accepted into the Leadership Team to continue the work of healing in Houston. This was a transformative experience for me.

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