Member Spotlight

Kavita Narang, MD

Rochester, Minnesota

Institution: Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

Title: 3rd year Maternal Fetal Medicine Fellow (PGY-7)

Medical School: Rangsit University, Bangkok, Thailand

Residency: Spectrum Health/ Michigan State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan

Fellowship Training Institution: Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota

Personal and Family Background:

Tell us about someone who had an influence on you as a child.
My father is and has always been my biggest influence in life. He is a man with vision, unwavering discipline, an impeccable work ethic, and has always inspired me in all ways possible. His childhood circumstances precluded him from several educational opportunities, so he made sure to prioritize this for all of his children. He talked to us like anything and everything was possible, and for that, I dared to dream so big that it became a reality for me.  

What was your first job and how did it prepare you for your current position?
My first job, and I feel a portion of all the jobs thereafter, is that of being a teacher. I love the idea of simplifying complex concepts in a way that is easy to understand. The ability to share that knowledge with others and contribute to their success is tremendously rewarding to me.

How has your cultural background shaped you as an MFM?
Indian by ethnic background, born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand, educated in a British school, International Medical school training, and now finally completing residency and fellowship in the United States are the fundamentals of my upbringing that has largely contributed to my uniqueness and multiculturalism as a physician and individual.

It has allowed me to easily connect with women from different walks of life. It has also given me firsthand experience on global healthcare disparities and that inspires me to continue to work hard to contribute to advocating for women’s health through research, education, societal collaborations, and direct patient care.

Medicine is a lifestyle of learning and teaching, and I love being able to bring that passion of mine into my current position daily.

Medical Training:

Was there a mentor(s) inspired you?
I’ve been very fortunate to have had many great mentors in my life, but those that have significantly impacted my journey deserve my gratitude through recognition here:

Dr. Santha Srisupap - Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility Attending during my medical school in Bangkok, Thailand. He was a critical thinker and approached patient care with genuine curiosity and compassion. I later found out that he was the only Attending, in my entire OB/GYN division of almost 60 doctors, that had the opportunity to do some training and research abroad in the United States.

Dr. Asgerally Fazleabas - Professor and Associate Chair of Research in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology at Michigan State University, who gave me the opportunity to participate in research in his laboratory while I was completing my last year of medical school training in Thailand.

Dr. Vivian Romero – Maternal-Fetal Medicine Attending during my residency at Spectrum Health/Michigan State University. She was my biggest supporter and cheerleader during residency. She inspired me to love MFM more than I thought was possible. Her passion for the field and her commitment to see her mentees success is something I will always be grateful for.

Dr. Linda Szymanski – Maternal-Fetal Medicine Attending during my fellowship at Mayo Clinic who truly puts “the M in MFM.” She is such an incredible role model for patient care and advocacy. Her graceful and compassionate approach to everything and her commitment to my academic achievements, along with her genuine interest in my wellbeing are things I am truly grateful for.

How did the diversity (or lack of diversity) in your medical educators shape your training?
I am Indian by ethnic background, born and raised in Bangkok, Thailand, which is also where I went to medical school. I was one of two Indians in my entire medical school class of 160 students, so was quickly accustomed to educating people about my background, culture, and upbringing. When I moved to the United States, I was the only foreign medical graduate in my residency program of 32 colleagues, and telling people I was from Thailand when I looked nothing like a Thai person often raised an interesting conversation about my background and culture. My unique background has allowed me to bring insights, experiences, and cultural relations to my workplace, which I thoroughly enjoy sharing and educating people about; it is always special when I have the opportunity to take care of, or help my colleagues care for patients that share a similar background to me, whether Thai or Indian.

MFM Practice:

Tell us about one of your most memorable patient encounters.
I once took care of an HIV patient who was a refugee from Kenya; she acquired the infection as a result of rape by a family member. She had her name and identity changed when she moved to the United States because of a significant misspell at the customs border, later lost several pregnancies, and was living in a shelter. However, she was always engaged with her treatment and showed up to every appointment with a huge smile on her face. When I asked, “How you are?” she would say, “I am so blessed, I’ve turned my shame into grace”. She was authentic and genuine in every way and gave me a lot of perspective about life. It was an honor to take care of her and deliver her healthy baby boy who tested negative for HIV. Her story reflects gratitude, the resilience of the human spirit, and the endurance a mother has to ensure a better future for her children.

Tell us about an MFM colleague who has been an important part of your MFM career.
As a third year MFM fellow, I am still early in my career and have a lot to learn. Dr. Torre Halscott, Maternal-Fetal Medicine and Critical Care Medicine at Johns Hopkins Hospital has been an inspiring and ambitious role model for me in several ways. He is my sounding board when I have challenging cases to discuss, my cheerleader when I have good news from work, and is always there to remind me “I’ve got this!”.

What role has SMFM played in your career?
SMFM has created a platform for opportunities to allow me to meet so many amazing and inspiring leaders in our Society. It has allowed me to connect and collaborate with several great minds who share the same goal for improving both maternal and fetal care nationally and internationally. I am grateful for all the incredible work that everyone does here and I know that being a part of SMFM will continue to give me opportunities to do my part to help women and children.

In your spare time:

How do you relax in your spare time?
I enjoy long walks out in nature, reading, yoga, dancing, or scuba diving.

If you had to live one day in your life over and over (think Groundhog Day 1993 Movie), which would you pick?
It was half past midnight on the March 1, 2015 in Bangkok when the words on my computer screen said “Congratulations, you have matched!” I dropped to the ground and screamed so loud; I woke my whole house up. Being the first doctor in my family and the first candidate from Thailand to match into OBGYN residency in the US in almost 20 years felt like history in the making for me. It was a moment filled with hope, excitement, humility, and so much gratitude. It felt much more than a personal success. It was the moment, I realized I was destined for something bigger than I could imagine, and I was committed to honoring that feeling and carrying it with me every day.

SMFM Mad Libs:

I’m excited to wake up every day and practice Maternal Fetal Medicine because…It is literally the best job in the world!

If I could solve one problem in MFM it would be…Prevent global maternal mortality secondary to hemorrhage, i.e lack of blood products and access to resources in rural areas.

The best day I ever had as an MFM was…Every day is a great day to be an MFM, but delivering a set of healthy quadruplets at 32 weeks sure was exciting and heartwarming!

The hardest day I ever had as an MFM was…Telling a close friend of mine her baby had anencephaly when she came in excited for her anatomy scan.

My MFM colleagues would be shocked to know…I am quadrilingual and speak English, Thai, Hindi and Punjabi fluently.