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Fellow Focus in Four – Romero Navaranjan Santiago, MD (September 2020)

September 14, 2020
by Julie Parry

Fellow Focus in Four will introduce you to fellows from each section of the Department of Internal Medicine. This month's fellow is Romero Navaranjan Santiago, MD, fellow, Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Why did you choose medicine?

Starting as a young boy, I witnessed my grandmother deal with numerous medical issues and saw how much her family medicine physician was a part of not only her life but also our entire family's life. From a young age, seeing the multidimensional impact that my grandmother's physician had on our lives was truly inspiring. Seeing the opportunities for synergizing music and medicine through my service in nursing homes alongside my grandmother as well as seeing how one can engage in lifelong learning, science and discovery while also bearing the humbling privilege of directing one's plan of care and restoring someone to full function are aspects of medicine that I really cherished. Furthermore, it is a privilege to be able to serve those most in need.

Why did you choose Yale Department of Internal Medicine for your fellowship?

This Occupational and Environmental Medicine fellowship program is a true family, one that cherished my diverse interests, and viewed me as a whole person, identifying for me opportunities to further my interests in music as well as my interest in pursuing interdisciplinary work such as better understanding medicolegal issues. Overall, I found that this program, equipped with a strong culture of collaboration across disciplines, was where I would be immersed into the well-rounded fellowship experience I was envisioning. The faculty here are immensely open-minded, eager to engage in interdisciplinary collaboration, and are passionate about what they do, serving as inspirational role models especially in these unprecedented times.

What was your path to Yale?

Reflecting on this is truly humbling. After completing high school in the Greater Houston Texas area, I pursued my undergraduate degree in economics and minored in music at the University of Pennsylvania (my first time living in the Northeast) and then returned to Texas to pursue a four-year MD/MPH program at the University of TX Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, TX, along with the UT Health Science Center Houston School of Public Health. Following this, I completed my Family Medicine residency training at the Univ of California Davis Health System in Sacramento, CA (first time living on the West Coast). Subsequently, after interviewing this past fall for Occupational and Environmental Medicine fellowship programs across the country, made the exciting decision to travel cross-country and return to the Northeast to come here to Yale for my fellowship training!

Perks of living in New Haven? Connecticut?

Being able to enjoy the historical and beautiful Yale University campus and having all of the schools here in one physical area brings back fond memories of my undergrad days at the University of Pennsylvania when I lived on campus. Living in New Haven places me close to the coast, with easy access to famous New Haven Style pizza, as well as being along the NE Corridor with easy public transportation options to travel along the East Coast to other cities including New York City, Boston, and with Philadelphia nearby as well. Being a Catholic, I am fortunate to be living where the Knights of Columbus international headquarters is, right here in New Haven!! Connecticut has so much natural beauty and varying landscapes which I have loved just in my short time here thus far!!

BONUS: Anything else we should know about you?

I am an avid musician (cellist, pianist, and tenor vocalist) and look forward to serving in some way with the Yale music community, either through the Yale Medical Symphony orchestra as a cellist, or as a tenor vocalist with the St. Thomas More Catholic Community of Yale. Also, I am a Tamil-speaking Sri Lankan American who enjoys playing table tennis.

Submitted by Julie Parry on September 14, 2020