Interview with Dr. Raghu Kolluri
Check out Raghu's thoughts on avoiding turf wars, tips for speaking on podium, and his top 3 songs for the operating room.
Before we dive in, here’s a little more about Dr. Kolluri’s medical background:
Current: Medical Director, Vascular Medicine, OhioHealth, Columbus, OH
Fellowship: Vascular Medicine, Cleaveland Clinica, Cleveland, OH
Residency: Internal Medicine, OhioHealth Riverside Methodist, Columbus, OH
Medical School: Armed Forces Medical College, India
Thanks for joining us, Dr. Kolluri. Let’s dive in!
Shortly after you completed your residency and fellowship training, was there a therapy area or subject matter you wish you were taught or had more experience in?
Yes, venous interventions and wound care.
Many residents and fellows leave training with a sense that they aren’t fully prepared for clinical practice. Do you remember a time when you felt like you weren’t ready for “prime time”? How did you overcome this?
We all go through those times early on in our careers. The key is to surround yourself with mentors locally and from your alma mater. That’s how I got through those days. Advice from mentors, locally and nationally.
Dr. Kolluri, can you tell us about a time in your residency or fellowship that was completely unexpected?
Day #1 of my Vascular Medicine Fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic. I did not realize how little we are taught about vascular disease in medical school and internal medicine.
When thinking about the business of healthcare, what are 2-3 concepts that you wish you knew coming out of your fellowship?
Billing, coding, and related documentation. This was all new when I went into practice.
You have friends and colleagues across multiple healthcare disciplines. For a young clinician, how important is networking? Are there 2-3 tips you can pass along on how to network better or more effectively?
I tend to gravitate to people who are easy to get along with. I ended up making friends with people who share similar passions and interests in medicine such as education, appropriateness, and service; regardless of what their background, specialty, or occupation is.
Physician-industry relationships can be very valuable, but they are sometimes perceived in a negative light. How do you effectively work with industry partners?
I don’t view it as a negative aspect of my life. As long as they share similar values that are patient-centric and education-focused, I am fine. I have known several industry partners for a long time and they are like-minded colleagues and friends.
Dr. Kolluri, you speak on podium at many conferences and do a fair amount of physician training. What are some of the important skill sets needed to be an effective leader in these types of initiatives?
Command over the disease process is key. Techniques change and we need to keep up. But, an in-depth understanding of disease states is mandatory to command authority. Being humble on the podium goes a long way too. Speaking skills are obviously important as well.
COVID-19 has sped up the process (and technology adoption) in which virtual learning and remote case observation are becoming more prevalent. How do you see this playing out for residents and fellows?
I believe hybrid learning is going to be the future.
So-called “turf wars” are inevitable in almost any workplace setting, including healthcare. How do you approach this challenge and what’s your advice for graduating residents and fellows?
We consider our Vascular Medicine specialty the “Switzerland of the vascular world”. But, reaching out to colleagues, sharing cases, and asking for help is the best way to navigate turf wars. There is absolutely no way one specific specialty can provide the entirety of care for vascular patients. It’s simply impossible. So, be prepared to get help and to ask for help.
Who were your biggest mentors throughout your medical training and what key learnings did you gain from them? How should residents and fellows go about finding (and keeping) a mentor?
I think mentors become mentors naturally. I did not have to find mine, they just were there in my life. Gary Ansel from residency training and Jerry Bartholomew from fellowship training were my first mentors. I now have plenty more. They taught me how to care for patients and how to become a leader.
I would suggest that you look for people who are willing to help and are approachable. If they are rushing all the time, they probably don’t have time for you. In order to keep a mentor, you must follow through on the mutually agreed upon tasks, and continue to show interest.
Okay, let’s transition to some fun, rapid-fire questions.
When it comes to personal finance, what do you wish you knew coming out of your fellowship?
Haha! I wish I know more about personal finance even to date.
When operating, if you had to choose 3 songs to play on repeat, what would they be?
Rush by Tom Sawyer
Nothing Else Matters by Metallica
Paranoid by Black Sabbath
Which mobile app are you addicted to – personally and professionally?
Starting over in your late 20’s or early 30’s, knowing everything you know now, what would you do differently?
Do you have any conferences, symposia, or other resources that you’re trying to raise awareness for?
The VEINS and VIVA are the conferences I am most involved with. I also recommend all cardiovascular trainees consider attending the Society for Vascular Medicine’s yearly Fellows Course.
Thanks for doing this interview, Dr. Kolluri!
Where’s the best place fellows and residents can connect with you online?
My handle is @RKolluriMD on Twitter. And here’s my LinkedIn profile.