‘Passage to India’ highlights pediatric residency program director Dr. Bhavana Kandikattu

2021 will mark the 15th anniversary of ‘Passage to India’. The event is organized by Easterseals to elevate Indian leaders and how they have contributed to the health sector, both historically and in the past year.

PEORIA, Illinois (WMBD) — Bhavana Kandikattu said she always wanted to be a doctor.

“My father was a community doctor and so grew up a bit in that culture, so medicine was a natural draw,” she told WMBD-TV.

Originally from India, Kandikattu has called Peoria her home for 19 years, initially for a medical residency in 2003. She said she immediately knew Peoria was where she wanted to hone her skills and contribute.

“As soon as I drove past the bridge and saw the vibrant city and all it had to offer, then came to the children’s hospital and saw how much I could learn here and be part of the community at the same time,” she said.

Now, as director of the pediatric residency program at the University of Illinois College of Medicine and pediatric hospital at Children’s Hospital in Illinois, Kandikuttu said she sees all types of cases, including some patients who also receive services at Easterseals.

“You see pediatrics with bread and butter, you see all the rare cases that you read one-liners about in textbooks, and then you see all the zebras in between,” she said. “Many of the patients we treat with developmental disabilities and medical complexity are also Easterseals patients.”

Kandikuttu said Peoria is a “hidden gem” and a great mix of both suburban and city life.

“You can get from point A to point B without the crazy traffic of the big city, but then you have all the amenities of a big city,” she said.

There is also a robust Indian community in Peoria, and she said she is very involved with the community.

“Even during COVID, the Indian community has been looking at different ways to participate and help, such as making masks, caring for people who are in the Ronald McDonald house, cooking meals for them,” she said.

To learn more about Kandikattu, visit her U of I College of Medicine profile.

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