#088 - Dr. Jae Kim MD & Dr. Sai Mukthapuram MD

#088 - Dr. Jae Kim MD & Dr. Sai Mukthapuram MD

The Incubator Podcast

Hello Friends 👋

This week, Daphna and I are very excited to bring you a fantastic conversation with Dr. Jae Kim, director of the division of neonatology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital, and his mentee Dr. Sai Mukthapuram. We really enjoyed our chat with them because we had the opportunity to dissect how we, as neonatologists, welcome change in our careers and how we perceive new opportunities. It was valuable to have someone with Dr. Kim's experience share his thoughts on this idea and walk us through so many examples he has encountered such as the introduction of POCUS in the NICU or the opportunity to lead a large and high-quality team like the one at Cincinnati Children's. We hope you enjoy this episode and thank you for your support and loyalty.


Connect with our two great guests via Twitter:

Bio (Dr. Jae Kim MD): I am a pediatric neonatologist who specializes in the care of newborns who are born prematurely, as well as infants who present problems at birth and within the first few months after birth. Our team provides the highest level of care in the nation for the sickest infants and those with the most complex conditions.

In my practice, I believe that a holistic approach to care is necessary now more than ever. This is especially true in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), where technology can sometimes overwhelm parents. As physicians, we must be great listeners and observers in order to deliver the best care to our families. We watch for the subtle changes in our babies as well as the dynamic changes in their families that can occur on a day-to-day basis.

I am proud to lead a team of healthcare professionals who work together in the 14 different NICUs and newborn sites across the Cincinnati area to provide exceptional newborn care. Our team engages in fetal care before birth alongside our obstetrical colleagues and takes care of infants during the time of birth and after birth when problems arise. We couple this care with important bridges to scientific discovery in the areas of laboratory research, clinical research, quality improvement and follow-up care for the best long-term health outcomes.

I assisted in the formation of two donor banks for human breastmilk – one in Toronto, Canada, the city where I grew up, and the other in San Diego, California, where I practiced for over a decade. I consider these breastmilk banks to be among my most significant accomplishments.

In my research, I have had a long-standing interest in newborn nutrition, with a particular focus on a mother’s breastmilk. The lifesaving properties of breastmilk are still in an exciting period of discovery. We continue to uncover new benefits of breastmilk, including its ability to pass on immune protection to babies and to alter the microbes in their gut to stimulate the best environment for their gut health.

This is especially important for infants with the worst type of gut inflammation, a condition called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). My interest in these infants is deep-rooted, and I work with other clinical research scientists, laboratory scientists and breastmilk specialists to better understand this condition. Our aspirational goal is to have a world without NEC.

I am also dedicated to strengthening our care of infants by integrating more advances in technology, such as improvements in the use of monitored data and electronic health data, as well as softening our care with the integration of family-centered care practices. The future of newborn care is going to be very data- and technology-rich, and our challenge is to preserve the human connection with this modern care model.

My wife and I are proud parents of two grown adults. We love to travel to different countries around the world and experience their cultures, music and food. I am a fan of swimming, hiking, cycling and playing (preferably scoreless) golf. In Cincinnati, I especially enjoy the many forested walking areas, which offer a calming balance to work.

Bio (Dr. Sai Mukthapuram): Doing the right things at the right time can give sick babies an entirely new life. Since my medical school training in South India, I have wanted to become a neonatologist to help sick newborns. I believe training and mentoring fellows, residents and medical students will lay a strong foundation to help advance the field of neonatology as trainees are the future of medicine.

My areas of research include medical education, point-of-care ultrasound and quality improvement. My goals are to introduce point-of-care ultrasound curriculum in neonatology and other innovative evidence-based strategies for the advancement of medical education at Cincinnati Children’s.

I received the Reginald Tsang Outstanding Fellow Award (2018), the Outstanding Fellow Teaching Award (2018 & 2019) and the Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award (2020), all from Cincinnati Children’s. I am the communications chair and secretary for the American Academy of Pediatrics Section of Trainees and Early Career Neonatologists (TECaN). I’m also board-certified by the American Board of Pediatrics (2016)