CHOC welcomed Dr. Rishikesh Chavan to the oncology department in January 2019. As the Medical Director of the Stem Cell Transplant and Cellular Therapy program, he works with young patients going through leukemia, lymphoma or other conditions requiring bone marrow or stem cell transplants. He attended medical school at Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College in India, followed by a pediatrics residency at Tulane University School of Medicine and a Hematology/Oncology fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine. Subsequently, he served as the Medical Director of Stem Cell Transplant at Tulane University and Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital.
What are your special clinical interests?
Stem cell transplant and immunotherapy for high risk leukemias/lymphomas. I am also interested in reduced intensity stem cell transplants and gene therapy for immunodeficiencies, aplastic anemia and sickle cell disease patients.
What are some new programs or developments within your specialty?
Comprehensive whole patient care model involving psychology, nutritionists, social workers, child life specialists, pharmacists and care coordinators as an integrated team approach to improve the ease of transition between inpatient and outpatient care, to ensure patient satisfaction and compliance, and to achieve best possible outcomes—all while lowering the cost of care.
What would you most like community/referring providers to know about you or your division at CHOC?
We believe every patient coming to transplant deserves personal attention, and we strive to over-communicate with the referring providers to share updates about their patients’ health as well as
facilitate with transitioning the patients back to the referring providers as soon as the patients are ready to be followed by them.
What inspires you most about the care being delivered here at CHOC?
Healthcare delivery is going through a transformation, and CHOC is at the forefront of this healthcare transformation by bringing the latest evidence-based treatments as well as clinical trials to benefit our kids while simplifying the care they need.
If you weren’t a physician, what would you be and why?
I would be a farmer. I feel it is a skill that requires patience, selflessness and long-term thinking, and that the efforts put in by one generation are likely to benefit the next generation.
What are your hobbies/interests outside of work?
I volunteer at the local library to facilitate a Heartfulness Meditation group (a network of volunteer meditation coaches and a meditation app). I also like to spend time with my kids and dog at the park. When time permits, I try to go to the gym and play tennis. I also read a lot—nowadays audiobooks.
What have you learned from your patients?
Resilience. Given the patients we have, I can never really have a bad day. If I do feel I’m having a bad day, my patients’ situations give me perspective.