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Dr. Asha Shenoi in Rwanda

"These children can be saved"

“My favorite part is when the patients that I took care of come back, and I don’t even recognize them. Just today, I had a patient that I took care of three months ago. He came back and he gave me a hug. He is doing phenomenal.”

Dr. Asha Shenoi
Dr. Shenoi was inspired to go into pediatrics by her own pediatrician.

Dr. Asha Shenoi’s patients are children—children she sees at some of the most difficult times in their lives. Her work in the pediatric ICU at UK HealthCare’s Kentucky Children’s Hospital allows her to help seriously ill children make incredible recoveries.

Dr. Asha Shenoi in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
Her pediatrician’s ability to combine science with compassion led Dr. Shenoi to do the same.

“The pediatric ICU is a place where scientific inventions combine with the humanistic side. The majority of our patients get better, and when they get better, we see them for the rest of their lives. They have such a good quality of life.”

Dr. Asha Shenoi uses her computer with a map of the world on her desktop.
Dr. Shenoi’s office at UK HealthCare is filled with reminders of her international education and work.

Dr. Shenoi’s work has taken her far beyond the doors of the ICU at KCH. Inspired by her mentor at Emory University, she spreads the knowledge and best practices that save lives at KCH by educating doctors and nurses across the globe.

Dr. Asha Shenoi gives a lecture.
“It's very encouraging to see people come together and bond over a common shared goal, which is care of children.”

“The focus is on training the pediatricians to recognize a really sick child, and institute the therapies within their resources. A lot of these children can be saved if you have interventions done in a timely and systematic manner. So what saves lives is timely interventions within the resources.”

Dr. Asha Shenoi speaks with a colleague in Rwanda.
“We had an equal number of nurses and physicians, and one of the nurses qualified to be a trainer next year.”

Over the past five years, Dr. Shenoi has taught ten courses in seven different countries, including Haiti, Vietnam, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, St. Lucia, India, and, most recently, Rwanda.

A Rwandan clinic.
The hospital in Kigali, Rwanda where Dr. Shenoi provided training has the only pediatric ICU in the country.

For Dr. Shenoi, and the team of international physicians who come together to teach these courses, the goal is to help improve the health of the region long-term. They don’t provide care to patients—instead, they train local nurses and doctors.

Dr. Asha Shenoi with her daughter and trainees.
The training brought together a massive international team, including Dr. Shenoi and her daughter.

“We can provide these courses to pediatricians and train them as trainers so you can ensure the sustainability of this course, rather than just going to a place, providing clinical care and coming back.”

Dr. Asha Shenoi teaches a class in Rwanda.
“We adapt what we teach to what they have. We go over every material to make sure they’re delivered in a way that will have maximum benefit.”

“Every time, I learn so much more than I teach. How much grit and perseverance they have to communally take care of these children with limited resources, coping with the loss and the frustration of not having enough resources to save a child’s life. I’m really humbled by their resilience, and their grit. It’s amazing.”

Dr. Asha Shenoi with a young patient.
“It’s a privilege to be able to help children. It’s a true honor.”

No matter where she is—at home in Kentucky or on the other side of the world—for Dr. Shenoi, it always comes down to helping children. “It’s a tiring process to be in the ICU, but it’s a privilege to be able to help children. It’s a true honor. I cannot describe it, but it’s very, very meaningful.”

Dr. Asha Shenoi
“Clinical training can be combined with a systemic approach that can save lives.”

Learn more about the work of physicians like Dr. Shenoi at UK HealthCare’s Kentucky Children’s Hospital.