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Meet Yale Internal Medicine: Vivian Asare, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine (Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine).

January 07, 2020
by Julie Parry

As part of our “Meet Yale Internal Medicine” series, today’s featured physician is Vivian Asare, MD, assistant professor of medicine (pulmonary, critical care, and sleep medicine).

Vivian Asare, MD, kept hearing a similar answer regarding her patients.

“I started getting responses back from the durable medical equipment providers that the patient hadn’t been set up due to the expense of the CPAP machine,” explained Asare.

CPAP, or continuous positive airway pressure, is a device to treat patients diagnosed with sleep apnea, a condition that causes people to stop breathing when they are asleep. These episodes can vary greatly per patient and may result in lower quality sleep, along with other health issues.

Asare hunted for a solution. She gathered contact information for resources that would be readily available to her patients and started providing them the information. Asare worked to develop the Compassionate CPAP Service, which seeks to connect patients with resources that would enable them to get the CPAP or BiPAP machines and supplies that they need. She has also picked up supplies and set up CPAP for her patients who were unable to obtain them themselves.

Since college, Asare has been focused on serving the underserved. She started volunteering at a young age, and now through this program, she is able to give back more than before.

In medical school, Asare was the community service chair and developed many community service projects in which her class could participate, including helping to organize a mission trip to Haiti. She drew inspiration from a recent trip to Ghana, her native country, for a family event.

“In Ghana, there are some parts of the country that are developed, and some that are not,” explained Asare. “There is so much that we can give to others. Seeing how other people live and what they don’t have, makes you appreciate what you have and want to help others in any way you can.”

Born in Ghana, Asare and her family moved to Rhode Island when she was young. She always knew she wanted to be a doctor. Asare would accompany her parents to doctor’s appointments for her younger brother, who had a respiratory condition as an infant. She liked watching the doctors work and saw how they were able to help her brother and other patients.

Additionally, Asare loved science and discovery growing up so medicine was a natural fit. While getting her undergraduate degree in Rhode Island, she took a course on the physiology of sleep and was fascinated. Asare knew she wanted to go into internal medicine after completing her medical degree in Washington, D.C. She worked as a hospitalist for a few years, when again, she started seeing a pattern with her patients.

“I started seeing a lot of sleep apnea patients, which made me more interested in the disease,” said Asare. “I'm also interested in nutrition and lifestyle health which can play a useful role in both internal medicine and sleep medicine.”

She pursued a sleep medicine fellowship in Philadelphia before being recruited to Yale School of Medicine (YSM).

“I knew during my fellowship that I wanted to come to Yale,” noted Asare. “Yale is one of the largest sleep medicine programs and has excellent faculty who are world-renowned in research who dedicate themselves to teaching and education. We also provide excellent, patient-focused care to our patients. I get to work on the cutting edge of sleep medicine, which is amazing.”

“Not every program has someone like Klar Yaggi, who does all this great research. Or Meir Kryger who writes all the books on sleep medicine. We have such a diverse group working on so many different things. Everyone is kind and welcoming. It’s easy to work at a place where you love the people.”

So Asare continues to carve her own path at YSM and continues to grow the Compassionate CPAP Service to serve as many patients as she can.

For more information on the Compassionate CPAP Service, contact the Yale Center for Sleep Medicine in North Haven at 203-287-3550.

The Section of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine is one of the eleven sections within YSM’s Department of Internal Medicine. To learn more about Yale-PCCSM, visit PCCSM’s website, or follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Submitted by Julie Parry on January 06, 2020