Select Page

Member Spotlight on Sathya Vadivelu


What’s your current position? How long have you been in this position?

Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine, Children’s Mercy Kansas City
Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine
Clinical Assistant Professor, Rehabilitation Medicine Education, The University of Kansas Medical Center
I have been at Children’s Mercy since September 2015

What got you involved in Pediatric Rehabilitation?

I fell in love with Pediatric Rehabilitation Medicine before I knew what it was to be a Physiatrist. I have always been passionate about helping people live their “normal”. While I have known from a young age that I wanted to pursue a medical career, it was not until I had the opportunity to shadow a Physiatrist who was seeing pediatric patients with spinal cord injuries that I learned that there was an entire sub-specialty dedicated to optimizing function and quality of life for kids. A sub-specialty in which the goal is to help a child live their normal, to be a kid without feeling restricted by their physical and/or cognitive impairments. Who wouldn’t be passionate about that?

The more I have experienced through my training and practice, the more grateful I am that I get to be part of patients’ lives and this amazing field.

What motivates you most about Peds Rehab? What are you most excited or passionate about?

My patients! I love seeing my patients accomplish their goals and set new goals they didn’t think possible. I enjoy being part of their journey, helping them through the tough road of an unexpected diagnosis to creating a new vision for their future or their child’s future.
What is one goals you most want to accomplish in your work (not so much the goals that are in your job description, but the goals you hold and motivate you personally)?

I hope to build programs based on the needs of my local community that are not only sustainable, but also are programs that inspire others to set new standards in patient care. There have been so many people and programs that have inspired me throughout my training. I hope to be able to do that for others.

What is your biggest pet peeves related to your field, things you’d like to change how they’re done?

The politics of medicine has been a pet-peeve of mine. As we are finding less and less coverage for the equipment and medications our patients need, we are seeing more time dedicated to non-clinical work in pursuing peer-to-peers, seeking appeals, and writing letters of medical necessity. Increasing the research in our field would increase justification for the equipment and medications we prescribe, and ideally would help with coverage.

Can you share some of the ongoing projects you work on and think the Pediatric Rehabilitation Networking Group would be interested to find about?

I have been in collaboration with Hematology, Neurology, Neuropsychology, PT, OT, and Social Work in building our multidisciplinary Comprehensive Stroke Clinic as an extension of our Stroke Center. Through both programs we are beginning to collect data on long term outcomes and utilization of our stroke alert.

I have been fortunate to serve as leadership in Children’s Mercy’s concussion program. Along with Sports Medicine, Neurology, Neuropsychology, and Physical Therapy, we have been able to ensure children who have sustained a concussion in our region are seen within a timely manner by the provider best suited to guide their recovery and return to the activities they enjoy.

Any final reflection you would like to share with your peers?

I have been fortunate to be supported by my colleagues and mentors in my pursuing my ideal career. I have had the opportunity to pursue my interests, which has helped grow my practice and better serve my patients. I have been allowed the opportunity to grow programs that meet the needs of our patients utilizing both our inpatient and outpatient resources, work with our fellows and residents on ultrasound education, and I have been given the time to explore treatment options for our complex tone management patients through our Movement Disorders/Spasticity Clinic in collaboration with Neurosurgery, Neurology, and Orthopedic Surgery.