Kavitha Pundi, M.D.
What attracted you to medicine and pediatrics?
I always knew I loved science and enjoyed working with people. My undergraduate major was in physics and I spent a lot of time doing research in biomedical engineering at Mayo Clinic during my summer vacations. I enjoyed the ability to translate my interest in science into something meaningful and applicable to patient care, which is the reason I decided to shift gears and apply to medical schools after completing my undergraduate degree. During medical school, I enjoyed almost everything in medicine, but found it especially gratifying to work with kids. I really enjoyed the longitudinal care of kids with chronic illnesses and building long-standing relationships with their families and was drawn to pediatrics.
What attracted you to Mayo Clinic for residency training?
My family moved to Rochester about 11 years ago; and while I was finishing up my last year of high school, I participated in a high school mentorship program doing research at Mayo. I enjoyed this experience and treasured the relationships with my research mentors. I kept coming back each year to pursue summer research projects while I was in college. Although my introduction to medicine was through my research involvement, I fell in love with the art of medicine and the philosophy of practice of putting the patient's interest first. This is truly a unique place where the philosophy of blending education, research and clinical practice is carried out seamlessly and eventually, that was my biggest draw to the residency program.
What makes the Mayo Clinic Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine Residency unique?
This is the perfect size pediatrics residency. The class size is big enough to allow residents to be flexible enough to pursue various academic and elective interests and work in a variety of clinical environments. However, it’s still small enough to be on a first-name basis with all the generalists and sub-specialists and feel closely connected to everyone in the residency program. People go out of their way to help each other and watch out for each other, which is truly important in a residency program.
Anything surprise you about Mayo's program?
I am always surprised by how humble and approachable everyone is at Mayo and how well everyone works as a team. I’ve been here for so long now I almost took this for granted until I rotated to other medical centers and realized how unique this is to Mayo.
What is living in Rochester like for you?
Rochester is a city that has really grown on me over the number of years I have spent here. I love the outdoors and find living in Minnesota is perfect for all my crazy weekend ventures. The proximity to the Twin Cities is a big plus for someone like me who enjoys all the diverse activities offered by a big city without having to deal with the day-to-day hassles of living in one. Living in an affordable city allows me to save up enough to travel when I have time off.
What does your future look like right now?
I am finishing up residency next year and starting a fellowship in pediatric cardiology. I am interested in international medicine and hope to pursue a Masters in public health during fellowship. After completing my training, I plan to travel internationally to help train medical staff and set up pediatric cardiology clinics in underserved areas.