Dr. Chaitali Korgaonkar-Cherala, Mentoring Advisor

Hello everyone! My name is Chaitali, and I am currently an ObGyn resident at Stony Brook University Hospital in New York state. I attended medical school at Albany Medical College, where my love for mentorship and long-term meaningful networking developed, as I realized how significantly mentorship needs change during each year of medical school. It was through strong female mentors and role models that I solidified my passion for the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine. I am so excited to bring my experiences to SAMSA as a PAB member. I hope to help the SAMSA leadership team in their efforts to continue expanding this wonderful network that I know is already a tremendous resource to our community. Having female mentors and leaders that resonate with me on a personal level and can relate to struggles that are race, gender, and culture specific has always been important to me, and I am thrilled to contribute to that effort in this way.

Dr. Ovini Rodrigo, Mentoring Advisor

Dr. Rodrigo is a pediatric resident at Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital as a member of the Primary Care Leaders Evaluating and Addressing Disparities (LEAD) program. She completed her undergraduate studies at Duke University with concentrations in biology, global health, and sociology. Prior to medical school, she completed the Special Master’s Program at Georgetown University, earning a M.Sc. in Physiology and Biophysics. She received her MD from the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine at Florida Atlantic University and was inducted into the Gold Humanism Honor Society. Dr. Rodrigo plans to pursue a fellowship in academic general pediatrics with a focus in medical education. She is excited to work with the SAMSA mentoring team to help connect South Asian physicians and medical students in supportive mentoring partnerships.

Dr. Rajat Thawani, Research Advisor

Dr. Thawani is a fellow physician in hematology and oncology at the Oregon Health and Science University, in Portland. He grew up and went to medical school in India, and saw the morbidity and mortality of head and neck cancers making him interested in improving the quality of life of patients. He is also interested in lung cancer. He plans to be a physician-researcher hoping to improve the outcomes of cancer patients.

Dr. Sunil Sahai, Events/Networking Advisor

Dr. Sahai currently serves as a Professor and Division Chief of General Medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.  Prior to moving to UTMB in February 2020, he was on the faculty of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.  His undergraduate education was at Tulane University, followed by medical school at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.  He completed residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston. He is board certified in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. Dr. Sahai has completed a board certification in Medical Quality, as well as a graduate certificate in Health Care Management from Rice University School of Business.  In the fall of 2019 he attended the Leadership Development for Physicians in Academic Health Centers course at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Dr. Sahai has held several leadership positions at MD Anderson. Of note, he was the Medical Director of the Internal Medicine Perioperative Assessment Center (IMPAC) from 2004-2018.  Dr. Sahai developed the first formal perioperative medicine program at the comprehensive cancer center in the United States. In the fall of 2018, the IMPAC Center merged with the Anesthesia Assessment Center to form the POEM Center. Dr. Sahai is an advocate for patients being a partner in their healthcare and is recognized internationally as an expert in the perioperative care of the cancer patient.

Dr. Prerak Shah, Events/Networking Advisor

Dr. Shah has been practicing Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery at New England Ear, Nose, Throat & Facial Plastic Surgery in North Andover, Massachusetts. He was graduate of the accelerated Medical Honors Program at the University of Florida and was a resident in General Pediatrics at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois followed by completing his Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery residency at Tufts University in Boston. During medical school, he was co-founder of the Medical Students and Resident Section of the American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI-MSR).

His current surgical practice has a focus on the management of head & neck cancers and thyroid/parathyroid surgical patients. Dr. Shah has established a unique balance between his community Otolaryngology practice and his affiliation with an academic teaching hospital. Since 2011, he has been a member of the medical staff at the Massachusetts Eye & Ear Infirmary and a Clinical Instructor in Otology & Laryngology at Harvard Medical School. He has presented at national meetings on the management of head and neck cancer and was recently a member of the Endocrine Surgery Committee for the American Academy of Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery. He has been Chairman of the Thyroid & Parathyroid Committee at Lawrence General Hospital and Steward Holy Family Hospital since 2012. He has authored several chapters on Patient Safety and Quality and Practice Administration in Otolaryngology. He also carries a dual board certification in Otolaryngology and Sleep Medicine.

His administrative activities include serving as Treasurer for the Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Society of Otolaryngology and Medical Director of FYZICAL Dizziness and Fall Prevention Center in North Andover, Massachusetts. He was the former Chief of Surgery and Operating Room Committee Chair of Steward Holy Family Hospital and former Executive Committee member at Steward Holy Family Hospital. He was also on the Board of Directors for the Merrimack Valley Independent Physicians Association and member of the OR Governance Committee at Lawrence General Hospital.