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Today, we talk to Chinmay Paranjape, M.D., the newest addition to the medical staff at Shriners Children’s Portland. Stay tuned to learn more about Dr. Paranjape!

Introducing Chinmay Paranjape, M.D.

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Joey Wahler (Host): He's a pediatric orthopedic surgeon and a spine specialist who's relatively new to Shriners Children's Portland. So, we're getting to know Dr. Chinmay Paranjape. Welcome to Healing Heroes PDX, the podcast series from the specialists at Shriners Children's Portland. Thanks for listening. I'm Joey Wahler. Hi, Dr. Paranjape. Thanks for joining us.

Chimnay Paranjape, MD: Thank you for having me.

Host: Great to have you aboard. So, first, I know you're a Massachusetts native and first studied chemical engineering before then spending a decade in North Carolina for your medical education and residency. So, I'm wondering first, what made you switch to becoming a doctor?

Chimnay Paranjape, MD: That's a great question, Joey. And I liked engineering quite a bit. I loved sort of the math and science and everything that went into it, but what I realized is that I missed working with people. I studied engineering in Philadelphia. And while I was there in college, I spent a lot of time volunteering at different clinics, and particularly in a summer program that helped underserved children build bicycles. And I just fell in love with the idea of helping people and working directly with them. So, that prompted the switch to medicine. And I think that what I do now, orthopedics, kind of blends all of those interests. I get to work with kids, I get to help people. And the field really is very math and physics-heavy, and I use that on a daily basis to kind of do surgery and plan things and try to optimize the way that people move.

Host: Interesting. And do you still get to build bikes occasionally?

Chimnay Paranjape, MD: Portland has been an extremely bike-friendly city, which has been great. And something that is new since my college days is sort of the advent of e-bikes, and I've certainly gotten older as well. So, I've been enjoying using an e-bike, and I've got a few neighbors that are big cyclists. So, yeah, I've enjoyed sort of doing the Rails to Trails type things here in Oregon and getting some great views of nature on a bike.

Host: That's great. So, it's worked out perfectly for you geographically as well. So, why specifically pediatric orthopedics as your specialty?

Chimnay Paranjape, MD: Also a great question. I suppose I first came to orthopedics and that was really through a lot of personal experience having been a patient several times and having had surgeries myself. And as I went through my residency training and rotated with different people and different subsets of orthopedics like hand and pediatrics and spine, I realized I liked spine surgery, but I also really enjoyed working with kids.

And then, I guess I would say, moreover, I really enjoyed the people that I worked with as well. So, there's sort of the patient element of it and loving working with kids and their families and the parents. But I think that the field also attracts a lot of people who are just kindhearted, good people that want to do the right thing by others. And I've just had a phenomenal experience with across the country, anywhere I've been working with people that like working with kids.

Host: And speaking of which, that leads me perfectly into my next question. What brought you to Shriners Children's Portland? If you want to be around people that love working with kids, that's the place to be, right?

Chimnay Paranjape, MD: Absolutely. And I guess I'll say two of my best mentors in residency had both been people that started their career at a Shriners. So, I sort of already had that in my mind and in my head that that was a great place to end up. And obviously, there are several sort of locations around the country. So when this job opened up, initially, I didn't have Portland sort of in my eyesight of a place that I particularly wanted to go, but applied to the job and met with Dr. Wellborn and Dr. Bouton and Dr. Bernstein, and just absolutely fell in love with this place. There are so many resources here at the Portland Shriners that just really don't exist in a lot of other places like the Gate Lab, the OR just has the absolute most beautiful view in the world. And, again, I guess, I would sort of point to it's not just about the patients that you serve, but also the people that you work with to serve them. And I fell in love with just the community that's here too. I loved every single person that I met on that interview. And that really is what brought us here.

Host: And you just mentioned you have an OR with a great view. So, what's that like when you scrub up and get to work?

Chimnay Paranjape, MD: Oh my gosh, there's no better feeling in the world. For anybody who's not been up to the OR area, we have this sort of panoramic view. And directly in front of you, you can see Mount Hood on a clear day. And if you sort of turn to the left, you can see St. Helens and Adams and, occasionally, even Rainier. So, it's just a phenomenal view and you get this view of kind of Portland and the river and the several bridges that cross it, so it just can't be beat and it's always changing. Every season, it's changed.

Host: That's awesome. So, as a spine specialist, part of what you do is treating children with scoliosis. What's your message for our listeners whose kids may need treatment for that?

Chimnay Paranjape, MD: Sure. I think the diagnosis of scoliosis is often accompanied by quite a bit of anxiety and I think with good reason. You know, several people have had family members that had various different treatments sort of throughout history. And so, I suppose my first message would be I think the Shriners is a great place that you can come and you can receive high quality info and good care and treatment, whether you're somebody that just needs observation or a brace all the way up to the most sort of intensive and invasive surgeries. And again, I think we're sort of blessed with a lot of things here resource-wise. We have a clinical psychologist that we routinely have meet with people that are candidates for a brace or surgery, because there are a lot of feelings that go with that diagnosis. There's a lot of sort of social pressures on children and that's a wonderful resource to have. We have our own prosthetics and orthotics shop here that creates the braces from scratch. And they're wonderful people and they do a great job.

Then, finally, you know, I think I'd be remiss if I didn't sort of mention that I think we have the world's best nurses and care managers. And I've not worked in another hospital system where there's just this opportunity to kind of persistently do the right thing and focus on a patient. And there's not a focus on getting people out of the hospital at all costs. So, I've just tremendously enjoyed working here. And then, yeah, I guess finally I'll say I'm blessed with three really wonderful spine partners, and we often work together. So, it's both fun and safer for the patients.

Host: Well, to follow up on that, doctor, You've mentioned already several of the great attributes at Shriners that you've experienced in the relatively short time you've been there. If you had to point of finger at what it is that makes the place so special and sets it apart overall, what would that be?

Chimnay Paranjape, MD: I think it's the mission. You know, the history of this hospital system is that it was set up as a charity. And the mission was to treat people regardless of ability to pay, and things have changed in an era where we do accept insurance. But ultimately, we still sort of keep to that mission. The imperative is just to do the right thing, and sometimes that means having to fill out a little extra paperwork or advocate. But every single person that chooses to work here, I think it's a bit of a self selection. It's people that adhere to that mission.

Host: Now, you're also a family man. You have a wife, Emily, a son named Sonny, love that name, and a dog named Lucky, I love that name as well. How did you and your wife Emily wind up naming your son Sonny?

Chimnay Paranjape, MD: Yeah. So, his name, I guess, my wife wanted to have the name Sonny. And so, his formal birth name is Sunil, which is an Indian name and it means deep blue. But we actually kind of worked backwards. We started with Sonny, which we also love, but we're biased, and then arrived at his formal name later.

Host: So, you mentioned earlier, you weren't initially necessarily looking to work in the Portland area. But of course, you love it now that you are. So, how do you all like the West Coast aside, of course, from that great view in the OR?

Chimnay Paranjape, MD: Oh, man. You know, it's a great view in the OR, but it's a great view when you're actually out there too. And we love the West Coast. My wife and son have both very quickly adapted to being Portlanders. And I got to tell you, I was a little bit worried because where we were in North Carolina is quite sunny, and Portland obviously has a longer and darker winter. But something I love about Portland in general, you know, the weather does not get people down. You see people outside running, biking, doing all sorts of things in all seasons. And I think the hiking, the biking, the backpacking, I mean, all of that outdoor things that you can do here is just wonderful. And we've really taken advantage of that and enjoyed that quite a bit.

Host: Yeah, it's sounds like it's been a great experience for all of you. So, outside of work, specifically, what kinds of things do you and yours enjoy doing just to relax and enjoy yourself?

Chimnay Paranjape, MD: Oh, great question. Well, my wife is a phenomenal cook, and I try to keep up. One of the things that we sort of started as a tradition in residency was to make a pizza every Friday. So, that's a tradition that we've kind of kept up and we still do. The neighborhood that we live in actually has an outdoor pizza oven. So, that's been a welcome addition to that kind of tradition. And aside from that, I've done a lot of woodworking. I haven't yet set up a shop here, but I'm blessed with a few neighbors that do have shops. And so, that's something that I enjoy doing as well. And otherwise, mainly just enjoying the outdoors here. There's so much to see and do. And, I mean, you could spend every weekend a year and still not see everything that there is to see here.

Host: You mentioned a neighborhood pizza oven. Tell me about that.

Chimnay Paranjape, MD: Sure. Well, I guess I have to start by telling you a little bit about the neighborhood. So, we live in, I guess what would be called communal living. Everyone has their own living space and house, of course. But there are several sort of shared community resources, including a common house that hosts events and potlucks and that sort of thing. There's sort of a playground in the middle of it. And actually, there's a community garden, which is more active in the spring, summer, and early fall. But a few years ago, the neighbors all wanted to make this pizza oven, so they did. There's this clay pizza oven. And anytime any of the woodworkers have some scrap wood or something like that, you can use it. And so, you can burn like applewood or walnut or whatever, and you can really kind of get the aromatics from that into whatever food, whether it's pizza or otherwise that you're cooking in that oven. It's kind of cool.

Host: That's great. So, in summary here, when you think about the patient experience, what do you usually try to accomplish when a child comes to see you?

Chimnay Paranjape, MD: Yeah. I guess, you know, it starts by first understanding why they're there and getting a sense of what the family is hoping to either learn or to accomplish. And I like to take my time to actually figure that out because, you know, it's one thing to look at an x-ray in labs and sort of have a diagnosis in your mind and walk in with a plan. And I think, as providers, we should do that. We should be prepared and read through the history and all the available testing.

But anybody cares how much you know, they want to know how much you care. And I guess that is sort of my promise to my patients, is that I do care and I want to try to understand how I can best help and not just sort of jump into things right away.

Host: I'm sure that's comforting for people to hear. Well, folks, we trust you're now more familiar with Dr. Chinmay Paranjape. Doctor, thanks so much again.

Chimnay Paranjape, MD: Yes, you got it. All right. Thank you.

Host: And for more information, please do visit shrinersportland.org. Again, that's shrinersportland.org. If you found this podcast helpful, please share it on your social media. I'm Joey Wahler. And that concludes this episode of Healing Heroes PDX with Shriners Children's Portland.

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Chinmay Paranjape, M.D.

Chinmay Paranjape, MD, nació y creció en Massachusetts, y progresivamente se mudó hacia el sur a lo largo de la costa este para recibir su educación, con una parada en Philadelphia, donde estudió ingeniería química antes de pasar una década en North Carolina para realizar su educación médica y su residencia. Allí conoció a su esposa, Emily, y juntos emigraron al oeste para realizar su especialización en cirugía ortopédica pediátrica y escoliosis. Se enamoraron de la belleza natural y la atmósfera de la costa oeste y decidieron convertirla en su hogar, la de su perro Lucky y su hijo Sunny.

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