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Nandita Ramananda Nadig, MD, MSCR, Assistant Professor at the Medical University of South Carolina College of Medicine

Dr. Nadig is the P.I. of an ACCEL pilot grant researching transitions of care between hospitals and inter-intensive care unit (ICU) transfer of high-risk patients to tertiary-level
centers. She is studying the clinical and economic implications of patient transfers,
as well as the psychological implications on families due to transfer. In addition, she is a
principal investigator on several foundation grants to study these concepts.

  1. What is the importance of this research?

One in 30 patients admitted to an intensive care unit (ICU) for respiratory failure currently undergoes inter-ICU transfer from their community hospital to a tertiary care hospital for higher level of care. Although patient transfers happen every day, there are no current guidelines on ‘who,’ ‘why,’ and ‘when’ patients should be transferred. Thus my research aims to provide clarity regarding the timing and clinical and economic implications of inter-ICU transfer to provide a foundation for future evidence-based transfer procedures, policies, and guidelines.

2. Why did you want to conduct this research?

Growing up in India, I saw disparities at several levels as it relates to gender, social class, education and finances. After moving to America, I noticed several of those same disparities; however, what struck me most as a physician were disparities in access to care. This is particularly true in a rural state like South Carolina. Thus, my research focuses on ‘right-sizing’ ICU care for all irrespective of where patients reside.

3. How does this research relate to your other work?

I am a practicing pulmonary and critical care physician at a tertiary-level center (Medical University of South Carolina) and my research areas has evolved organically due to my everyday experiences with transferred patients from community hospitals across the state. In addition to patients, my experiences with families who are displaced due to inter-ICU transfer have led to my recent research focus in development of telehealth interventions for patients (through tele-ICU services) and families (through support/resource portals).

4. What aspect of the DE-CTR was most helpful to you for this research?

Specifically, the ACCEL grant provided funds for statistical support for my projects and that was immensely helpful. Grant mechanisms for early career physicians typically provide ‘protected time’ but do not provide support for resources. This avenue helped provide both time and resources during a crucial stage of my career.

5. What advice would you give to a junior researcher?

I would like to bring to their attention an age old concept: Matthew Effect by Merton (Science 1968) to describe how success begets more success. Unfortunately, a mechanism driving the Matthew Effect is participation, whereby early stage failure inhibits participation in further competition. Thus, I would urge junior investigators to persist, practice resilience, and incorporate feedback effectively as it will serve them well not only in their research but in their career.

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