Nayantara Coelho-Prabhu, M.B.B.S.
What attracted you to gastroenterology?
I have always wanted to be a physician after watching my mother who is a very skilled gynecologist. In medical school, the physiology of the gastrointestinal tract fascinated me and kindled a deeper interest in the field. Once I started residency, the practical aspects of gastroenterology were even more exciting. The field was a balance of intellectual medicine and manual dexterity with the endoscopy aspect. Patients' quality of life was significantly affected by their GI complaints, and the practice affords me the opportunity to take care of patients with acute and chronic problems.
What attracted you to Mayo Clinic for residency training?
The first thing that attracted me to Mayo was the clinic's reputation. GI has been ranked first by the U.S. News & World Report for the past 20 years. I had read many landmark articles coming from Mayo faculty and investigators, so I was nervous when I came to interview. However, once I visited for the first time, what was most attractive was how down to earth and friendly everyone is, and how genuinely interested in education the faculty are.
What makes the Mayo Clinic Gastroenterology Fellowship unique?
The variety of patients and the spectrum of diseases seen in the fellowship here are quite remarkable. You really get to work on a one-on-one basis with leaders in the field, and the super-specialized clinics allow you to focus on very specific aspects of GI diseases that I don't believe happens at most other institutions. Another outstanding feature is the research aspect. The entire second year of fellowship is devoted to research, which allows for the completion of quality projects. The research mentors are exceptional, and as fellows you have the opportunity to participate in a certificate or master's program in clinical research, which is an important step in progressing towards an academic career. Also, attendance at conferences is highly encouraged and funded. There are opportunities to take part in rotations at other institutions, including medical centers all over the world.
Anything surprise you about Mayo's program?
What surprised me the most was how accessible and approachable the faculty are. You can walk up to their doors or page them anytime, and they are willing to sit down and devote their full attention to you. Equally as important, the nurses and administrative staff all seem to be happy to work here, and they really go out of their way to make your job, and life, as a fellow much easier.
What is living in Rochester like for you?
Rochester is much smaller than where I grew up. However, what it lacks in size, it more than makes up in friendliness. And without a long daily commute, we have more time to spend with friends. It seems to be a great place to raise a family with safe neighborhoods, and good schools, and many activities for children. My husband and I enjoy taking our dachshund for walks on the many walking and biking trails in town. And if we ever miss big-city amusements, the Twin Cities are only a short drive away.
What does your future look like right now?
I hope to complete an advanced fellowship in Advanced Endoscopy. My research training so far at Mayo has helped me get interviews at prestigious institutions. I plan to pursue an academic career balancing a clinical focus on complex endoscopy with a research focus on outcomes in endoscopy and NOTES development. All of the graduates from our program have been extremely successful in attaining positions of their choice, both in private practice and at academic institutions with the guidance and help of our faculty and so I feel confident that I will be able to achieve my goals as well.