Jacobs School neontaologist Praveen Chandrasekharan, MD, and his wife, Munmun Rawat, MD, also a Jacobs School neonatologist, are shown with their two young sons at Niagara Falls. 

WNY Bereavement Network Honors Chandrasekharan

By Ellen Goldbaum

Published April 3, 2023

A Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences physician who specializes in caring for newborns received the Physician of the Year Award from the Western New York Perinatal Bereavement Network, Inc. (WNYPBN).

Recognized at Group’s Annual Gala

“To get this award and to be appreciated in such a manner is a great honor, and it makes me very grateful. I am pleased and humbled at the same time.”
Associate professor of pediatrics

Praveen K. Chandrasekharan, MD, associate professor of pediatrics in the Division of Neonatology, was recognized at the organization’s annual gala event on March 24. 

Chandrasekharan, a neonatologist with UBMD Pediatrics, was honored for his work as both a clinician at John R. Oishei Children’s Hospital and a researcher at the Jacobs School. The citation noted that his research “allows him to study factors which may impact viable and successful newborn pregnancy and delivery and prevention of neonatal demise.” 

The organization noted his translational research on neonatal resuscitation and placental transfusion, which improves outcomes in a newborn who isn’t crying or exhibiting healthy response by providing cardiopulmonary resuscitation while also providing extra blood from the placenta before the umbilical cord is cut. This work was the subject of an “Editor’s Highlight” and podcast in the journal Pediatric Research.

Chandrasekharan explained that everyone who works in the neonatal intensive care unit, or NICU, understands they are working with the most vulnerable patients and that infant mortality, unfortunately, is part of that reality.

A Personal Connection to Loss

That understanding took on new meaning when, in his first year of fellowship at UB, Chandrasekharan and his wife, Munmun Rawat, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics in the Division of Neonatology at the Jacobs School who is also a neonatologist with UBMD Pediatrics, lost their first child to miscarriage. 

“Most of the time as a physician you’re not on the other side,” he said, “so you understand by knowledge empirically, but practically experiencing those feelings as a parent in the NICU helps you understand even more what a parent’s fears are. Since we had that loss, it makes you better able to help other parents because you know what it means to go through it,” he said. 

The experience also gave him a sense of the importance of an organization like the WNYPBN, noting that the organization’s support for him and his wife was a welcome surprise. 

In its citation, the WNYPBN noted that Chandrasekharan’s clinical position in the NICU “has fostered further interest in this field as he supports bereaved parents of Western New York with both antenatal and postnatal loss with the expectation of decreasing these morbidities.” The citation states he is being recognized for his support of bereaved families, which he demonstrates through his research and his clinical work. 

“To get this award and to be appreciated in such a manner is a great honor, and it makes me very grateful,” he said. “I am pleased and humbled at the same time.”

Chandrasekharan is currently funded with an R01 grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the NIH. He mentors residents and fellows as well as medical students in translational and clinical research at the Jacobs School. 

His neonatology fellows are continuing the translational work on neonatal resuscitation that they began under his supervision, with support from funders ranging from the American Academy of Pediatrics Neonatal Resuscitation Program to the ZOLL Foundation. They have also been invited to present their research at meetings of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Society of Pediatric Research, European and Japanese Pediatric Society. 

Chandrasekharan also provides clinical services at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital.