SCOTCH PLAINS—The family of Dr. Uma Viswanathan, a Scotch Plains pediatrician, has chosen to remember her life and work through a donation to the Trinitas Health Foundation that creates the Dr. Uma Viswanathan Memorial Endowment.
The newly-created endowment will support inpatient and outpatient children who are treated at Trinitas. Viswanathan, who had a pediatric practice based in Roselle, was affiliated with Trinitas Regional Medical Center for more than 30 years until her unexpected passing in November 2008.
The practice of medicine was a deep calling for Viswanathan who once said, “Experienced physicians have learned that being a doctor is more than the dispensing of pills, patching lacerations, or nurturing shattered minds. The tenets of our professional lives have always included the healing arts, the use of rational resources, and sometimes, empiricism. Thanks to the breakthrough contributions of physicians like Jonas Salk—who made medical history—we are preventers, arresting even diseases like polio.”
In addition to serving as an attending physician at Trinitas, Viswanathan was a clinical associate professor at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
Just this past month, she was posthumously granted the 2009 Voluntary Faculty Award by the Medical School in recognition of her commitment to its students and patients. Viswanathan was often invited to speak at regional and national conferences on the topics of pediatric asthma, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, antibiotic resistance, and atopic dermatitis. She was also a high profile supporter of community causes including anti-smoking campaigns in public schools and concerts to raise funds for children with disabilities.
When observing Viswanathan’s distinct abilities to relate to and treat pediatric patients, a mentor at Genesee Hospital in Rochester, New York, once told her that she “was destined to be a pediatrician.”
Viswanathan enjoyed a lifelong interest in the classical dances of her native India and often traveled back to India with her daughter to study there. She performed publicly at benefits for the Kohler Child Development Center in Winfield Park and the Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation. She enjoyed sharing her dancing with others, noting that “I was always dancing, whether there was music in the house or not…. I am honored to have the abilities to perform and practice medicine. Dancing and treating children are great pleasures.”
A native of Kolkata, India, Viswanathan came to the US and married her husband Ramakrishna in 1970. Their daughter, Anjali, a board certified internist with attending privileges at Trinitas, is a graduate of Brown University School of Medicine. Anjali is continuing the legacy of her mother by providing compassionate care to teenagers as well as adults of all ages in her practice location in Roselle. Their son, Arjun, is with Price Waterhouse Coopers in New York City.
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