This experience is not about me, but about you.
Nevertheless, you may want to know a bit about who I am and my own personal philosophy of health care, so I will share a little bit about myself and my own journey.
So here I am: Vasanth Kainkaryam, Internist, Pediatrician, father, husband, author, baker, patient, and someone who is trying to make a little change in how I can care for people…
I was not the kid who always knew he wanted to be a doctor, but I was fascinated by it. I was always one of those people who could do many things and be happy, but looked to life to show me what I was meant to do.
I believe that life is a mix of free will and destiny, and so I got into the Monmouth County Academy of Allied Health and Sciences – a brand new high school focused on health sciences as part of the first graduating class (yep, didn’t know where the future would go, but took the chance). I loved learning about different ways to think, and was challenged to be creative in so many ways.
I got into Cornell University for my undergraduate degree and started off as a Biology major but then added a second major: Linguistics. I realized there is something so fundamental about learning about principles of human communication and language, which are the building blocks of relationships. (I’m always open to learning more, so teach me what you know!). During my time there, I also spent a short time living in Geneva, Switzerland, working at the World Health Organization. I got to attend the World Health Assembly, listening to health care leaders across the world talking about their challenges.
Within my first year of college, I was diagnosed with cancer. Throughout this journey, I felt and understood what it was like to fear death, I saw how disease affects families and parents, I learned far more about primary and secondary insurances and health plans than I ever wanted to, and yet through it all, I got lucky – I had fantastic doctors and teams who worked together to help me. I felt cared for. I was inspired and realized that while I could follow many paths, this was the one I needed to do — perhaps a nod to the meaning of my last name: “service.”
I spent 4 years at the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry, where the biopsychosocial model of care came from — thinking about a person’s health in all aspects. I gained a fascination for the health care needs of the Deaf community (and the difference between the capital D – Deaf vs. lower case d – deaf). I worked on developing learning opportunities for medical students in the health care of the Deaf community, and also learned a bit of sign language. I got exposed to what it was to be a “Med-Peds” doctor – a doctor who was both an Internist (a specialist in adult medicine) and a Pediatrician (a specialist in childhood medicine), and decided that’s what I wanted to be.
I came to do my training at Baystate Medical Center (which at the time was affiliated with Tufts University School of Medicine), and spent four years training there – gaining exposure to both the outpatient side of care as well as the hospital side, including training in neonatal, medical, cardiac, and pediatric intensive care units.
I went on to work for a large health care system in Connecticut, learning about what it’s like to be in a suburban practice — similar to how I had seen doctors practice when I was a kid, and what I knew of the doctor to be like. I then happened to get an opportunity to lead the Connecticut practice of a health care startup company. This experience greatly inspired and taught me. I gained so much exposure to thinking out of the box, throwing away many of the rules that come in the way of caring for people, and understanding that there is so much more we can do if remember that as doctors, we should be leading the health care system, not simply following in it. I got to visit my patients at home, text them, do video appointments, and develop and work with a fantastic team who became my friends.
I choose to continue along my leadership journey and became Chief Medical Officer of a federally qualified health center, leading the clinical strategy and implementation of care delivery focused on some of the most underserved populations. I learned about federal regulations and implications, and so many factors that politically influence health care.
Along this journey, I got my Master’s degree in Health Informatics (to learn more about how to make technology our friend than our foe), my certification as a Certified Physician Executive (to understand fundamentals on how to lead health systems), and my certification as an Acupuncture Detoxification Specialist (to expand my skill set in incorporating integrative approaches to health).
So here I am… trying bring everything I learned about health care together, along with my training and knowledge, to create 4 Elements Direct Primary Care. I’m sure it will be a challenging journey — I will learn from my patients how to continue to be a better doctor, and if, in some small way, I can help patient’s have a smooth experience in their journey in wellness, I will be happy.
I believe in feedback. Tell me what’s working, and what’s not.
I believe in honesty. I will be open with you and hope for the same.
I believe in trust. I will think of your care as I do my family’s.
I believe in learning. I will keep learning to help better care for you.
I believe in thinking out of the box. Get creative in how we can find solutions.
I believe in support. I’m here for you if you need me.
I believe in fun. Health care is scary – but we can have fun in getting well.
If you’re ready to take the jump to try something new, come join me on what I hope will be an incredible journey.
– Vasanth Kainkaryam
My credentials (if you want to know):
MD – Doctor of Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry
MS – Master of Science in Health Informatics, Northwestern University
CPE – Certified Physician Executive, Certifying Commission on Medical Management
ADS – Acupuncture Detoxification Specialist
FAAP – Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics (board certified in Pediatrics)
FACP – Fellow of the American College of Physicians (board certified in Internal Medicine)