Southern Through and Through
By SUZANNE BOYD
Women's Clinic OB-GYN, Dr. Madhav Boyapati's, roots are Indian, but are gripped in Tennessee soil
For Madhav Boyapati, MD, deciding to practice obstetrics and gynecology in the South was an easy decision. He grew up in Tupelo, Mississippi and his southern accent is as tried and true as almost any Southerner's. For the past 18 years, he has been bringing new southerners into the world in his practice at the Woman's Clinic, PA. as well as trying to address one of the most prevalent health issues in the South, obesity.
Boyapati, whose parents migrated to the United States from India in the 1960's, was born in Indiana, a fact that he says is really a technicality. His father was pursuing a master's degree in Engineering at Missis sippi State in Starkville and was in Chicago for the summer working. "Since my mother was pregnant with me, she was staying with her cousins in Lafayette, Indiana," said Boyapati. "And I decided to come into the world a little earlier than they had planned."
Once his father completed his master's degree, the family moved to Tupelo which is where Boyapati grew up. In high school he competed on the decathlon team that captured the state title several times as well as competed on a national level. Boyapati, who excelled in chemistry and math, graduated in 1988 as valedictorian of Tupelo High School.
At Vanderbilt, Boyapati pursued a chemical engineering degree knowing he would eventually get his PhD in it or go to medical school. A summer job during college at Tupelo Medical Center gave Boyapati a taste of the medical field and piqued his interest. At the end of his sophomore year, Boyapati had a solid GPA and applied to Vanderbilt's early medicine program which would give him a guaranteed spot in medical school after graduation. He was one of only ten sophomores selected.
While he did have an aunt who was an OB/GYN, Boyapati says it was toward the end of his rotations in medical school that confirmed his choice of specialty. "When I was considering my options, I knew first and foremost you have to pick something you can and want to do for 30 years are more," he said. "OB/GYN offered a mix of office work as well as surgery. The patients are typically healthier and get better, which is not always the case with other specialties."
Before heading to Columbia, South Carolina for his residency training, Boyapati made another big life decision, to marry his college sweetheart, Sonia. While he completed his residency requirements at Palmetto Richland Memorial Hospital, Sonia got a PhD in epidemiology.
After residency, Boyapati knew he wanted to return to Tennessee to practice. His parents had relocated to Jackson in 1992 and his mother encouraged him to consider looking in Jackson. "I put out some feelers and sent my resume to a couple of clinics in the area," said Boyapati. "The Woman's Clinic had an opening, and everything fell into place. We moved here in 2000 and I began practicing."
Over his years in practice, Boyapati has seen firsthand the growing trend in obesity among the population. While it is an issue that is nothing new to the South, especially with seven of the ten states with the highest obesity rates in the nation being in the South, Boyapati also saw obesity related issues, such as hypertension and diabetes, growing among his patients as well as the impact it can sometimes have on fertility.
"Obesity is a complex and often intractable problem, and America's obesity epidemic continues to have serious health and cost consequences for individuals and their families," he said. "Obesity is the most prevalent chronic disease in our society. Yet, many physicians are not trained in how to manage it. In an effort to be able to better serve patients that were dealing with this issue, I got certified in obesity management from The American Board of Obesity Medicine."
Boyapati admits there is no magical solution to losing weight and what works for one person may not be what will for another. "There are various options that can help patients lose weight, but they have to want to do it," he said. "And it is not always a matter of just eating less because sometimes the body just does not want to lose it. There are so many options out there including diets, programs, medications to surgical options such as gastric by-pass or the sleeve. It is just a matter of finding what is right for the patient and getting them the support needed to be successful."
Family is an important aspect of Boyapati's life. He and his wife have two daughters, which keep him busy watching his oldest play tennis and the younger one doing gymnastics. Besides living close to his parents, his younger sister and his sister-in-law and their families are both only about two hours away in Nashville. They also enjoy traveling together as a family and have made trips to India and Hawaii. They have plans to go to London this summer to take his father, who is a big tennis fan, to see some of the action on the courts at Wimbledon.