2021 marks the 15th anniversary of ‘Passage to India’. The event is put on by Easterseals to uplift Indian leaders and how they have contributed to the healthcare sector, historically as well as over the past year.
PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Bhavana Kandikattu said she was always meant to be a doctor.
“My dad was a physician in the community, and therefore kind of grew up in that culture, so medicine was a natural draw to,” she told WMBD-TV.
Originally from India, Kandikattu has called Peoria home for 19 years, initially for a medical residency in 2003. She said she instantly knew Peoria was where she wanted to hone and contribute her skills.
“As soon as I drove past the bridge and saw the vibrant city and everything it had to offer, and then came to the Children’s Hospital and saw how much I could learn here and be a part of the community at the same time,” she said.
Now, as the pediatric residency program director at the University of Illinois College of Medicine and pediatric hospitalist at Children’s Hospital of Illinois, Kandikuttu said she sees all types of cases, including some patients who also receive services at Easterseals.
“You see bread and butter pediatrics, you see all the rare cases that you read one-liners in textbooks about, and then you see all the zebras in between,” she said. “A lot of the patients that we take care of with developmental disabilities and medical complexities are Easterseals patients as well.”
Kandikuttu said Peoria is a “hidden gem” and a great blend of both suburban and city life.
“You can get from Point A to Point B without the crazy traffic of the big city, but then you have all the amenities of a big city,” she said.
There is also a robust Indian community in Peoria, and she said they are very involved in the community.
“Even during COVID, the Indian community has looked at various way to participate and help, like mask making, taking care of people that are at Ronald McDonald house, cooking meals for them,” she said.
To learn more about Kandikattu, visit her U of I College of Medicine profile.