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Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine Siriraj Hospital
Associate Professor of Medicine Mahidol UniversityVIEW PROFILE
When Nithima Chaowalit Ratanasit, M.D. (CV ’04), came to Mayo Clinic in Rochester from Bangkok, Thailand, for a research fellowship in echocardiography, that specialty was new in her country. Two of her colleagues had journeyed to Mayo Clinic for echocardiography fellowships, and she followed suit. When Dr. Ratanasit returned to Bangkok, her hospital had two echocardiography machines. Today it has almost 20, a larger echo lab and five cardiologists specializing in echo. Since her time in Rochester, Dr. Ratanasit wrote the first textbook about stress echocardiography published in the Thai language.
Two of my senior colleagues in Bangkok been to Mayo Clinic, Decho Jakrapanichakul, M.D. (CV ’98), and Yongyuth Sahasakul, M.D., for echocardiography fellowship and as a visiting clinician, respectively. I followed what they did. Mayo Clinic is very famous and well regarded in Thailand among medical societies.
I enjoyed my 18 months in Rochester. The Echocardiography Lab is much bigger than the one at my hospital, with many echo machines, rooms, sonographers and physicians.
I had a ruptured appendix while I was training at Mayo Clinic and spent two weeks in the hospital. It was good to experience being a patient at Mayo Clinic.
It means a lot. I’m very proud of it. Mayo Clinic made my career path in stress echocardiography. I knew almost nothing about it before I studied with Dr. (Patricia) Pellikka (MED ’83, I ’86, CV ’89; chair, Division of Cardiovascular Ultrasound; vice chair for academic advancement & faculty development for the department; and the Betty Knight Scripps Professor in Cardiovascular Diseases Honoring George M. Gura, M.D.). There weren’t many cardiologists in Thailand at the time, and most of them were in general cardiology.
I tried to read papers and a textbook before I went to Mayo Clinic. When I came back, I sent up an echo lab here, and now we’ve had it for more than 10 years. I’ve taught many other colleagues since then. Dr. Pellikka is a good mentor and my role model. She taught me about general echo and stress echo in both clinical and research points of view, and I have almost 10 publications from my time at Mayo Clinic. She also wrote the forward to the stress echo textbook I wrote.
Dr. Pellikka says, “Dr. Ratanasit is a star — very bright and motivated. It was absolutely a pleasure to work with her. She has a natural aptitude for understanding and reading stress echocardiography. I look forward to seeing her periodically at national and international meetings.”
I’m an associate professor at our hospital and am waiting for academic promotion to professor. I hope to get that news early in 2019. I see patients, do echocardiography including stress echocardiography, and teach medical students, residents and cardiology fellows.
I would like to share my experience with the younger generation as much as I can. After I achieve the academic rank of professor, I want to devote myself to patients. Our hospital is government owned, and we have many poor patients. I want to use my knowledge and experience to help them.
I also would like to provide lectures to our medical students, residents and fellows in echocardiography. One of my younger colleagues, Maytinee Kittipovanonth, M.D. (CV ’08), went to Mayo Clinic for an echocardiography fellowship a couple of years after I was back in Bangkok.
I like to spend my free time with my family and take care of my parents. I also like exercise and traveling.