September 2016: Rudhir Tandon, MBBS

Anyone who has spent time with a toddler knows that an impulse toward charity is learned and rarely inherent. Clearly, Dr. Rudhir Tandon’s parents decided to instill benevolence through example. Currently in his second year of the Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship, Dr. Tandon has had plenty of opportunity throughout his life to see firsthand the needs and the benefits of philanthropy, particularly through the use of his medical and educational skills.

Dr. Tandon was born and raised in Panipat, India, a town just outside Delhi, about the size of Iowa City but with centuries’ more history. His father is an ophthalmologist and his mother is an OB/GYN. Dr. Tandon’s father regularly held free cataract surgery camps for those in need, and Dr. Tandon would accompany him, helping manage the patient flow. Although a career in medicine may have seemed fated for every child in the family, Dr. Tandon says with a laugh that his brother became an engineer instead.

As he worked on his MBBS at the medical school in Rohtak, about 60 miles northwest of Delhi, Dr. Tandon began to settle on his subspecialty. He had been leaning toward orthopedics, but during the physiology classes in his second year of medical school, “studying the flow dynamics of the cardiac cycle, the volume, pressure, . . . the elegance of the system drew me to the pursuit of cardiology.” He sought out additional opportunities to sharpen his awareness. “I was discovering and seeking out murmurs of congenital heart disease on the pediatric wards.” Shortly thereafter, in his quest “to compare and understand the healthcare systems of the two of the world’s biggest democracies, India and United States,” Dr. Tandon landed a two-month clerkship in adult and pediatric cardiology at UNC School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

This was Dr. Tandon’s first trip to the United States. Despite a few travel bumps, he settled in quickly and was impressed with the kind of exposure he could have as a medical student, including the opportunity to document the changes in cardiac physiology following interventional procedures for congenital heart disease. (He was also a little amazed by the level of fervor for college athletics, but this was Chapel Hill.) After completing medical school in Rohtak, he was excited to get back into the American health care system and moved to Champaign, Illinois, to begin his residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Illinois. Throughout the three years of his residency, he immersed himself in his specialty while still managing to find time to volunteer with a non-profit dedicated to increasing educational opportunities for underprivileged children as well as at a community health clinic for the un- and underinsured.

To satisfy his growing interest in cardiovascular medicine, Dr. Tandon spent a couple months managing young patients with familial and substance abuse-related heart disease at Washington University in St. Louis, and another month in Electrophysiology at a medical center in Urbana, Illinois. Both of these experiences rekindled his interest in heart failure, leading him to the University of Iowa after his residency, where he took a position as a cardiovascular hospitalist at UIHC, working with Dr. Linda Cadaret and Dr. Kim Staffey, among others. While working on the service devoted to cardiac patients, ranging from myocardial infarction and life-threatening arrhythmias to advanced heart failure and transplant recipients, he came to fully appreciate the “brittle problem” that heart failure represents, and how “addressing the complex needs of heart failure patients can be very challenging, and yet rewarding.”

These and many other meaningful experiences during his two years as an associate, led him to join the Advanced Heart Failure and Cardiac Transplantation Fellowship at the University of Iowa, which further crystallized his awareness of the intricacies of heart failure management. Working with the cardiomyopathy team has been a rewarding experience for him, “enhancing my learning in professional and personal aspects.” Now in his second year of the Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship, Dr. Tandon is personalizing his training, honing his writing and presentation skills, presenting his clinical research at national and international cardiology meetings.

His colleagues in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine are grateful to work alongside Dr. Tandon. Dr. Cadaret praised his “amazing work ethic” and how closely he monitors every last detail in more complicated cases. “He has a great bedside manner,” she continues, “and his patients enjoy his care.” Dr. Staffey points out how his consideration extends to co-workers as well. “He was extremely helpful to the residents, nurses, and ancillary staff. A pleasure to work with.” Dr. Byron Vandenberg agrees, calling Dr. Tandon an “outstanding clinician.”

When not treating his patients, Dr. Tandon loves to travel and try out new recipes with his wife, Anamika, who is in the second year of her Internal Medicine residency here. “She’s a great cook,” he says. “I’m more of a sous chef.” Although they have had an opportunity to visit several places around the US, Alaska and Yellowstone are at the top of their list for next stops. It’s looking increasingly like the two of them will keep Iowa as their home base. “We love the feel of the Midwest” he says. “I want to stay in an academic setting. I love teaching and find that I’m also learning from the students; I’m always amazed by the questions they ask.” Even when discussing himself, Dr. Tandon cannot help but show his thoughtfulness for others.

Leave a Reply