DR . WHO
DR . WHO
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT DR . PRADEEP SINGH
AUTHOR Kathryn Vance
Growing up with a military background , Dr . Pradeep Singh moved around India as a child . His late father was in the Indian Army , and taught him the principles of discipline and service . His mother was a homemaker , tending to Dr . Singh and his siblings . Such a female-centered upbringing laid the foundation for the values he passed onto his children , holding these close to his heart today .“ I was surrounded by a lot of women in my early years . That taught me much about understanding human connection , and the importance of kindness , humility and patience . These character traits I got really early on in life have seen me through all these years .”
In India , students can enter the five-and-a-half-year medical school straight out of high school and Dr . Singh seized this opportunity . Because of his eighth-grade biology teacher , he became profoundly interested in biology and science , and excelled in these . But it wasn ’ t just these skills that drew him to a life of service . “ By growing up in India , I saw the lack of health care , a lot of inequity , pain and suffering . That ’ s how I got interested in medicine .”
During medical school , he took a trip to Europe , travelling to 12 countries , and learned what the next steps in his training and education must be . “ I felt like I wasn ’ t able to practice much of what I was reading in the textbooks because in India , there were no resources , and the systems were not in place to do that kind of thing . While I wanted to excel in whatever I got into , I wanted to make a difference more than anything .”
So after finishing Maharishi Dayanand University in 1986 , Dr . Singh left his roots , and with just $ 3,000 and one connection in the US , he packed his bags and came to Buffalo , New York . On January 3rd , 1987 , Dr . Singh had nothing . To support himself , he restocked doughnuts at 7-Eleven and when his shift was over , searched for an opportunity to become a resident . With his perseverance and conviction to make a new life , he was offered and accepted a job as a
research associate at a university . Soon after , he took his exams and entered the residency program at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland , Ohio .
He entered the internal medicine / pediatrics program and initially planned to do primary care . While on rotations , however , he realized that he wanted to go into a more specialized field , finding cardiology the most impactful . “ Part of it was because some of the teachers I had were very good and were national level professors . What they were doing at that time was really inspirational to me . You were training with a lot of the top-notch people in the field ,” he said . “ Snatching somebody ’ s life from the jaws of death - there is not a feeling like it .”
After completing residency in 1993 , he could choose to return to India or complete two years of service in an underserved area , per the stipulations of the J-1 Visa Waiver Program . He chose the latter and was assigned to the small town of Jackson , Kentucky , about 40 miles southeast of Lexington . Cardiology continued to call to him , and when he pursued a fellowship , was accepted at the University of Louisville and began his program in 1995 , becoming fully qualified in July 1998 . He joined the UofL faculty for a year , and then headed to Orlando , Florida to join a private practice .
He began working in a small hospital just outside of town , learning more and more about the ins and outs of cardiology . “ Because it was a small hospital , every time something major had to be done , you had to transfer patients to the main hospital . I felt like I was just diagnosing people , but I wasn ’ t able to do anything about it to fix them . I was supposed to just send them away to someone else . I knew I had to do some intervention to make a difference in people ’ s lives .”
So he moved yet again to Indianapolis to complete a one-year interventional cardiology fellowship at St . Vincent ’ s Hospital . In ( continued on page 36 )
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