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Critical care physician teaches invaluable skills to students at McGovern Medical School

Photo of Dr. Akkanti with McGovern Medical School students.
The impact of Bindu Akkanti, MD, (far right) mentoring has the potential to be felt for generations to come. (Photo courtesy of Dr. Akkanti)
Photo of Dr. Akkanti and Nakia Armendariz.
Bindu Akkanti, MD, (right) with Nakia Armendariz, MS4 (middle). (Photo courtesy of Dr. Akkanti)

Academic medicine is in her DNA, says Bindu Akkanti, MD, associate professor in the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine at McGovern Medical School at UTHealth Houston. Every day she goes to work, she is contributing to the development of the next generation of doctors and the future patients they will be treating.

“You are by definition extending the quality of patient care you’re providing, meaning I can impact future patients without even seeing them,” said Akkanti, holder of the Graham Distinguished Professorship in Pulmonary Medicine at McGovern Medical School.

When she isn’t educating in a clinical setting, Akkanti is interviewing prospective students like Aditi Chunduru as a member of the McGovern Medical School Admissions Committee. 

“I had my interview with her and I was like, ‘Yep, this is the place I want to go to with teachers like that,’” Aditi said.

Aditi, a third-year medical student, was placed in Akkanti’s McGovern Society Advisory Program group when she was in her first year. The McGovern Societies provide a space where a free exchange of information, reflections, and resources support students on their educational journey. 

“When she walks into a room, there’s just a natural empathy seen in her body language,” Aditi said.

Akkanti’s influence on students is felt throughout campus. Nakia Armendariz, a fourth-year medical student, likes her approach to lecturing. “She really tries to get us involved,” Nakia said. “She likes to revolve it around cases and questions.”

When Nakia began doing clinical research, Akkanti urged him to present his findings at a national conference at the end of his second year. 

“Anything I am interested in, or want more exposure to, I can just go to her and she can connect me,” he said. “I feel like she’s always in my corner.”

Akkanti said she receives great personal fulfillment in working with students. 

“This is just my way of paying back my teachers I had,” she said. “"It’'s an automatic extension that you want to pass on this knowledge from all those teachers you had in the past.”

The impact of Akkanti’s mentoring has the potential to be felt for generations to come.

“I like teaching students, and being that mentor for those who come after me,” Aditi said. “I feel very fortunate to have a mentor like Dr. Akkanti.”

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