Dr. Indupalli was born and raised in India. He moved to the USA about 20 years ago and made Texas his home. After living in Houston for five years, he moved to Beaumont, TX where he lives with his wife and two daughters. Dr.Indupalli currently the President of Medical Staff at Christus Hospital (St.Elizabeth, St.Mary), Beaumont, TX. He is also on Christus Health Southeast Texas Board of Directors.
The following are the excerpts from an interview by the webmaster of indupalli.com.
WM: Tell us about what made you decide to become a physician.
Dr.I: (with a chuckle) When I was 6 years old. When I was a kid, I used to watch my big brother Dr.Raju Indupalli (1948-2004) on his way to medical school with white lab coat draped over the handle bars of his bike and stethoscope over his neck. He was 12 years older than me, and already enrolled in medical school while he was still a teenager. I thought that was so cool, and wanted to be like him. He was my role model all along and one of the most influential people in my life.
WM: So when did your dream come true?
Dr.I: In 1975. I enrolled in Guntur Medical College, Guntur India where my brother graduated from. Those days, medical school program consisted of some pre-med classes including English, Chemistry, Bio-Physics, and Organic Chemistry etc. Math was eliminated from the curriculum real quick (whew…) We also had to repeat MCAT because of some fraudulent activity, I was happy when I saw that I was awarded a seat in the medical school even though it was delayed by a few months.
WM: So, after graduating from medical school what did you do?
Dr.I: After completing the compulsory rotating internship, I worked some small jobs locally, and then moved to a mission hospital in Nuzvid, India. It was a general hospital established by Seventh-day Adventist missionaries from the USA. This hospital used to be a beacon of hope for people living in 100 mile radius taking care of their health problems. Ironically, that was where my grandpa Mr.Eliah worked as a lamp-lighter several decades ago. When I went to work in that hospital-Giffard Memorial Hospital of SDA, I was surprised to see that my grandpa was still remembered by some old timers.
This is where actual foundation for my medical work was laid, under the direction of an incredibly skillful surgeon Dr.Mohan. He was my mentor and taught me general and orthopedic surgical procedures. Within three years I was proficient in routine surgeries like appendectomies, colon resections, hernia repair etc. This hospital also holds a special place in my heart because this was where I met my sweetheart who later I married. Ponna used to be OR nurse in the same hospital.
WM: When did you go to Christian Medical College Hospital, Vellore?
Dr.I: After working for 3 years, the hospital sponsored me to go study Orthopedics in CMCH, Vellore, South India. I enrolled in a diploma program D.Orth (two year diploma in orthopedic surgery).
WM: Tell us about that program a little.
Dr.I: D.Orth program is an intensive trauma surgery program. We were trained in taking care of trauma cases in the field of orthopedics. We did assist in a lot of cold orthopedics surgical cases like tumor excisions etc. We were also trained in polio surgery for correcting the deformities, release of contractures etc. A two month hand surgery rotation and a month of rehab medicine were included in the curriculum. Dr.G.D.Sunderraj was the professor of orthopedics. Under his mentorship, many budding young surgeons became fine orthopedicians. The program was intense, with emphasis on basic orthopedic skills. The total orthopedic training in CMCH included another two years of orthopedics where they let you perform arthroplasties etc. I left CMCH after finishing first two years of orthopedic training and earning a diploma in orthopedics.
WM: Why did you leave CMCH without finishing next two years?
Dr.I: (laughs) Because of Mark Twain.
Dr.I: Let me explain. When I was about 12-14 yrs of age, I read Huckleberry Finn written by Mark Twain. I loved that book so much because I believe it captured old America with its enchantment, generosity, freedom and most importantly its plain heartedness. I decided I would live in Mark Twain’s land. Of course, its all changed when I moved to Houston. Mark Twain’s land was long gone, and in its place are drugs and drive by shootings. But I still love the enchantment and plain heartedness of American people.
WM: (smilingly) So what did you have to do in the USA to obtain your license and why didn’t you pursue your orthopedic career.
Dr.I: All doctors even though they hold diplomas abroad, have to take the same test that is taken by medical students in the US, pass the test, and then go through a residency training in order to obtain medical license. After successfully completing USMLE (United States Medical Licensing Exam) steps One and Two, I enrolled in Family Practice program in UTMB, Galveston- Port Arthur branch. By then I decided on being a family physician which was more like what I was in India. I decided I need to spend more time with my own family than be a busy orthopedic surgeon with no time for my two little daughters and my wife. This proved to be a good decision. I still use my knowledge of orthopedics in my ambulatory medical practice in my clinic. I was able to spend a lot of time with my family even during the residency training. Dr.William George mentored me in this program and we became best friends through this program.
Dr.I: After completing the residency training, I worked for a little while in Pine Ridge, SD, on the Sioux reservation as a contract doctor in Indian Health Service hospital. This was another of my dreams to live on the reservation for a little while. I accomplished that too. My family simply didn’t want to move to the snow country. I had to come back to Texas. I worked for about three years for Christus Medical Group, and then started Second Advent Medical Center my own private practice clinic.
WM: Lets switch gears for a second. What are your hobbies?
Dr.I: Photography (though my pictures are not quite that good), reading and a little iPhone programming on the side. I also have earned Masters degrees in Ministry and Theology from Liberty Bible College and Seminary, in Florida, through a home study program. A lot of my spare time goes to church related activities. I am a member of local Beaumont Seventh Day Adventist Church. I am an Elder in our Church.
WM: Tell us a little about your family.
Dr.I: My wife Ponna is an operating room nurse. She works at St.Elizabeth hospital. We have two daughters. Sreyah is a Family Medicine Resident at Kaiser Permanente Riverside Hospital, Riverside, CA. Her husband Dan Brereton is an Orthopedics Resident at Riverside County hospital in CA. Abhayah our younger daughter works for Technip, a pipeline company as Commercial Specialist.
We are blessed with a granddaughter Isla Kate Brereton, love of our life.