For Veerajalandhar Allareddy, MBBS, professor of pediatrics in the Division of Critical Care Medicine, the call to critical care medicine was primarily influenced by his mother. In this week’s Faculty Spotlight, Allareddy talks about his current responsibilities as chief of the Section of Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care and the opportunity of developing a Neonatal-Young Infant Cardiac ICU. He also discusses his research interests focused on health care outcomes and value-based care and shares the knowledge and skills he acquired from his most significant mentors.
How long have you been at Duke? How did you decide to come here?
I have been on faculty at Duke since September of 2018. I was recruited to be a part of the pediatric heart center program. I saw Duke as a place where I could give the best care to my patients, learn from other providers and teach the next generation of leaders. In addition, my family is planning to move to North Carolina in the near future. I loved every place that I have been, including Kansas City, Cleveland, Boston, and Iowa—but Durham is great! (It does not snow here…ok, it does, blink and you miss it). Love it!
What are your current responsibilities as Chief of the Section of Pediatric Cardiac Critical Care? What does your typical day look like?
It is an honor and privilege to be a member of the critical care division and the pediatric heart center. Clinical, administrative (collaboration with all providers), teaching and research would be the 4 areas of my practice. It starts daily at 4 am with e-review of my patients, followed by clinical learning experience which comes from my nurses and the overnight team and then collaborative clinical care with the rest of the team to provide the best possible care under the given circumstances. The “day” usually ends at 10pm or so…if I am not on call. I hope every day that there is nothing dramatic in the unit but these babies have other ideas and make it interesting every moment I am with them.
How and when did you initially become interested in medicine? What made you decide to pursue a career in pediatric cardiac critical care in particular?
I owe my medical pathway to my Mom. She is the most amazing person in the world, and I am truly thankful that she wanted me to be a medical provider. I am very grateful for this opportunity, but I had never planned to become a cardiac intensivist. Very fortunate…I guess, a sequence of ‘events’ led me to a pathway of pediatric cardiac critical care.
What do you see as the biggest current challenges and opportunities in the field of pediatric cardiac critical care?
The most exciting opportunity in my clinical area of interest (congenital heart diseases) is to develop a Neonatal-Young Infant Cardiac ICU. I am sure there will be many, many excellent learning opportunities as we all collaborate to define and create a niche area of interest. I think our babies will appreciate that.
Is there any research or other special projects you are doing or plan on doing?
My research is focused on health care outcomes and value based care--using large clinical datasets. I have been very fortunate to collaborate with individuals with exceptional research abilities in many areas of medicine.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Team work! We have a fantastic group of people—who work for one single reason—to take care of children.
Challenge in taking care of the neonates with complex congenital heart diseases! Perhaps, the “best” teachers to me are my patients, again the naughty ones are more than willing to teach you what life is about at every moment.
Who was your most significant mentor and what knowledge did you gain through this collaboration?
In life, my parents are the most significant mentors! Give your best, one day at a time and be happy.
In professional life, several individuals have contributed to my growth at various stages of my career—Dr. Michael Anderson (I owe my academic career to him), Dr. Katherine Mason (CCM-program director), Dr. Philip Toltzis (previous Division Chief and who gave me the first academic job opportunity), Dr. Alexandre Rotta (former and current Chief who is an excellent clinician and a very patient career advisor), Dr. Marcelo Auslender (wealth of clinical knowledge pertaining to cardiac critical care—supporting and mentoring my clinical and administrative abilities) and my esteemed colleagues at Boston (Dr’s. Ravi Thiagarajan and Catherine Allan). In research, my most significant mentor is my brother, Dr. Veerasathpurush Allaredy (countless hours of nights, days, weekends, holidays of patient research mentoring). I guess, the secret is to identify and surround yourself with good people and life will be good!
Do you have any advice for trainees?
My biggest advice to the trainees is to “enjoy the training experience”. Learning is a life-long experience and being open to all experiences helps to strengthen the core skills and foster new interests. It’s never too late to learn! Be humble and always be thankful for the wonderful opportunity to serve the humanity (especially, the “naughty” little ones!)
What passions or hobbies do you have outside of Duke?
Spending time with my family, reading, meditation and give while you live!