Madhusmita Misra, MD, MPH, was appointed chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Physician-in-Chief for UVA Health Children’s, on December 4, 2023. Dr. Misra was previously the chief for the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology at Massachusetts General Hospital and the Talbot Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School. Her leadership experience at Massachusetts General Hospital spans over 15 years during which time she held significant leadership roles. Throughout her distinguished career, Dr. Misra has made significant contributions to her field through groundbreaking NIH-funded research, high-quality patient care, and mentoring of colleagues and physicians in training.
In a recent interview, we had a chance to learn more about what inspired Dr. Misra to choose academic medicine and pediatrics, exciting things happening in the field, her favorite part of her job, and more.
Q. Why did you choose the UVA School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics?
A. The Department of Pediatrics at UVA has a culture of clinical and academic excellence and scientific advancement that was very appealing. Also, while interviewing, I was struck by the camaraderie and the collegiality that was evident among faculty, and the passion for teaching and the desire to advance to the next level that came through clearly during my interviews,
Q. Why academic medicine?
A. To me, academic medicine is what makes me wake up in the morning with a smile on my lips. This is a wonderful profession and brings with it a wealth of unparalleled clinical expertise to learn from and to emulate, a chance to teach and serve as mentors and sponsors to the next generation of clinicians, educators and scientists (and learn from these wonderful young minds in the process), the opportunity to engage in meaningful, collaborative research that does its bit to advance medical knowledge and answer hitherto unanswered questions, and to serve as advocates for those that most need our voice.
Q. What inspired you to become a doctor/provider? Why did you choose your specialty?
A. My great uncle was the first licensed pediatrician in our state in India. He was an amazing role model, who was loved deeply by his patients and their families for his kindness, knowledge, wisdom and empathy. He was definitely my inspiration to become not just a doctor, but a pediatrician. Working with children and families is tremendously fulfilling, and I am so very glad that I chose this specialty
Q. What’s the most exciting thing happening in your field right now?
A. There is just so much happening in Pediatrics at this time. There are increasing efforts to make gene therapy a viable treatment option, new medications are becoming available to treat chronic conditions, and community-based research and use of big data and AI have expanded greatly. There is an increasing understanding of not just the fetal antecedents of adult disease, but also the pubertal antecedents of adult disease. In my subspecialty of pediatric endocrinology, the use of the closed loop system of insulin delivery has revolutionized diabetes care (importantly, algorithms to automate insulin delivery were developed at UVA) and the emergence of new anti-obesity medications are promising some relief to the burgeoning obesity epidemic. This is a very exciting time to be a pediatrician.
Q. What are some goals you would like to achieve during your time at UVA SOM?
A. My goal is to work collaboratively and further grow the department of pediatrics and children’s hospital such that we are scientifically and clinically acclaimed with strong community engagement, provide the highest quality of education to our trainees, uphold the strongest principles of justice, equity and inclusion, and promote wellness among our faculty, trainees and staff.
Q. What’s your favorite part of your job or what motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?
A. All of it. All mission areas are critical to the enterprise and come with their own strengths and challenges. Learning how to make the most of the strengths and work on existing challenges, while also developing strategy is always exciting. At a more immediate level, I have really enjoyed getting to know my colleagues in the department and the children’s hospital over the past few weeks.
Q. What is one thing you wish your patients or co-workers knew about you before they met you? Or what is one thing that may surprise people to learn about you?
A. I always have my patients’ and co-workers’ backs. They should know that they can rely on me being their strongest advocate while also considering the needs of others in the department and in the children’s hospital.
Q. If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
A. Enjoy the process and stop to smell the roses.
Q. How do you spend your time away from work? Hobbies?
A. I love to travel and read.
Filed Under: Faculty