Showcase Index | Next
Desi Member Showcase presents
Meena Sathappan, Pediatrician, Aasha
proudly introduce our long-time Evergreen Desi and experienced
Meena Sathappan of Aasha Pediatrics.
Sathappan is the Diamond Sponsor for the Ist Annual Evergreen
Desi Diwali Party 2005 to be held at the Mt. Hamilton Grange
Hall on Nov. 11, 2005. We thank her for her generous support.
Dr. Meena Sathappan runs Aasha
Pediatrics, a solo Pediatric practice in the Evergreen
area of San Jose, CA.
Dr. Sathappan's clinic offers
personalized service and high quality patient care.
She can communicate
with her patients in six languages. She is fluent in English,
Hindi, and Tamil and familiar with Telugu, Punjabi and
Meena Sathappan is a highly qualified and experienced physician
with an impeccable medical pedigree. She has studied and received
world-class training at highly reputed medical institutions,
both in India and the United States.
Sathappan completed her MBBS from the prestigious JIPMER institute
in Pondicherry, India, which grants admission every year to
only about 60 meritorious candidates, selected from a pool of
about 25,000 students through a rigorous, highly competitive
examination held all over India.
Sathappan did her Pediatrics residency at the well known Columbia
University, NY, USA. After completing a stint as Pediatrician
in a medically underserved area in Arizona, she moved to the
Evergreen area of San Jose, CA. She worked as a pediatrician
in several area hospitals and clinics before opening her own
practice, Aasha Pediatrics,
Desi Buzz met Dr. Sathappan at her Evergreen area residence
made you decide to open a practice here?
I was planning to open Aasha Pediatrics, I found that a lot
of patients from the Evergreen area were driving all the way
to Los Gatos near Good Samaritan Hospital, or sometimes even
further, to consult a Pediatrician. As you may know, most doctors
open their practices in the vicinity of major hospitals like
Good Samaritan or El Camino.
realized that there was a real need for a good doctor in this
area. I decided to go against conventional wisdom and open my
practice here in Evergreen - close to where my patients live.
chose the name 'Aasha' from the first and last syllables
of my children's names, Aakash and Varsha.
means 'hope' in Hindi."
Meena Satthappan, with her daughter Varsha (9) and son Aakash
(12), in their Evergreen area home.
did you decide to be a pediatrician?
was about 10 or 11 years old when I decided that I wanted
to be a Pediatrician. Before that, I was not very studious.
When I realized what it took to become a Pediatrician,
I became focussed and really started working hard at my
studies. This was all I wanted to do with my life.
When I did my medical rotations,
I would love my stints in the Pediatrics wing. Children
have a boundless energy and enthusiasm that is very endearing.
And when we diagnose what ails them correctly and prescribe
the right remedy, they recover very quickly. Once they are
back on their feet, it is hard to believe that they were
feeling poorly just a few hours earlier. Seeing this and
knowing that I helped make it possible, gives me lots of
satisfaction as a physician.
do not believe in sending my patients to urgent care or
the ER unless it is a true emergency."--Dr. Meena
are some of the challenges you have faced as a pediatrician?
adult patients, children can't tell you what is wrong.
Whether it is a headache or a stomachache, the child's
response is the same. They can only cry continuously.
So diagnosing the problem is often like putting the pieces
of a puzzle together.
I enjoy the challenge to my skills
and training. I take a detailed medical history, ask all
the necessary questions and do a very thorough medical examination.
I have close to 10 years of experience practising Pediatrics.
Tell us about your work philosophy?
I just love working with children. When
I was setting up Aasha Pediatrics, the arrangement of every
room, and even the instruments I use, was chosen with the comfort
of my patients in mind. For instance, my stethoscope has a dalmation
dog on it. It is a small detail, yes, but every aspect of my practice
is important to me. Each room is furnished in a child-friendly
way, with toys and in cheerful colors. It distracts the children
while I examine them and helps make their visit to the Doctor
memorable and enjoyable.
I strongly believe that one of the
most important things a Pediatrician can offer her patients
is consistency and continuity of care. Since I have a solo practice,
my patients don't have to worry about having to deal with a
different physician if they come in with a problem on weekends
or after-hours. My patients and their parents are comfortable
in the knowledge that whether they come in for a well-baby check
or sudden illness, they get to see me, all the time.
I literally get to watch the children grow
up over the years and develop a relationship with them and their
family. This knowledge of the patient's history helps me zero
in on what is going on and fine-tune my diagnosis without having
to order unnecessary tests.
I take great pride in being available
at all times for my patients. A parent's concern for their child
is very natural. As a mother of two school-age children, I empathize
with this concern. I make it a point to personally answer any
question or address any concern that my patients or their parents
may have, be it a small detail or a big issue.
The well-being of my patients
is very important to me. I do not believe in sending children
to urgent care or the ER unless it is a true emergency.
I have set up my office phone
so that I get paged when someone leaves a voice message
either during weekends or after hours. I call them back
and evaluate the situation.
If the situation warrants it,
I tell them to meet me in my clinic. I prefer to reopen
my office and personally attend to my patient's emergency
needs rather than send them, in that state, to urgent
care to wait for many hours before they get to see a doctor.
I prefer to personally evaluate
the child before taking the decision to send the child
to the ER.
I feel that urgent care and ER are intended for true emergencies
like heart attacks and the like. We should not abuse this
facility for minor ailments like ear infections. Nowadays,
insurance rates for ER visits are very high. Not only are
ER visits very expensive, but they unnecessarily expose
children to some serious pathogens during the two or three
hour wait in the waiting room. The possibility of my patients
contracting something even more serious is just not acceptable
"Aasha Pediatrics offers free shots to
infants with no medical coverage on a temporary
basis if the parents have lost their job."
--Dr. Meena Sathappan
Why did you decide to
open a solo practice?
It gives me the flexibility
to practice medicine the way I want.
Large multi-physician groups
have strict guidelines that must be followed by
every Doctor who works there. In my own practice,
not only do I get to set my rules, I also get the
leeway to deal with my patients on an individual
basis. For example, some parents are very conservative
in their beliefs and don't want to immunize their
children. I can work with such patients if I am
a private practitioner.
But in terms of administrative
details, marketing and management, a solo practice
is definitely a lot more work. It is also very expensive.
For example, when we first leased the Aasha Pediatrics
offices, we were literally given a portion of the
building shell to work with. We had to pay to construct
the inner walls, put in the clinic facilities and
If you are a solo practicioner,
what happens when you are out of town or sick?
During times when I am not available
or on vacation, which is pretty rare, you can be sure
that there will always be a qualified doctor to attend
to the patients at the office. I have made arrangements
with a group of Pediatricians who attend to the calls
from my patients in that situation.
What kinds of insurance do you accept?
We accept all kinds of medical
insurance, including Medi-Cal. My Aasha Pediatrics website
has a comprehensive
list of all the insurances that we accept.
A lot of Evergreen Desis get
families visiting from India with kids. Do you accept
patients who have no insurance?
Yes, I do. My charges for patients
without insurance are very nominal. I try to save them
as much money as possible on the cost of the medicine
by giving them my free samples, and by prescribing over-the-
counter medication, wherever possible.
Even people who live here - if they
lose their insurance between jobs, they can still come
in. And if they have small children - infants - that need
to be vaccinated, we can administer the vaccinations to
them for free by using vaccines provided by the government.
I charge a nominal sum to cover the vaccine administration
Where did you hear of Evergreen Desis?
How has this organization helped you?
do you envision for the Evergreen area, from a medical point
of view, in the next few years?
I think this area is going to grow
a lot. Medically, a lot of services are already available.
More services will become available soon.
Within my office complex, a stand-alone
pharmacy and Stanford lab - where patients can get their
lab tests done - are already open. The closest hospital,
the Regional Medical Centre on Jackson, recently opened
its newly renovated trauma centre.
The Regional Medical Centre is presently
undergoing renovation as part of its continued expansion.
This will be completed soon. In addition, a medical offices
complex is being constructed close to the hospital, where,
I believe, Stanford Hospital is planning to open satellite
clinics. Specialists from Stanford will come over to attend
to our local patients. This would save patients from having
to drive all the way to Palo Alto to consult with a Stanford
We moved to this area in 2000 from Arizona. So we have really
watched this area grow. I joined the Evergreen Desi mailing
list when some friends recommended that I should join. When
I started Aasha Pediatrics, it certainly helped me in spreading
the word. In general, it's a very good resource from very simple
things to very complicated issues. I really like the wide range
of information that I can find just by going through the discussions.
I have recommended my patients to this mailing list when they
asked me for help getting a nanny or a good preschool. I should
add that they have been quite happy with the quality of information
and choice they have found on the Evergreen Desi list.
Pediatrics is located conveniently close to Evergreen residents.
Professional Center, 2060 Aborn Road,
230, San Jose, CA 95121
Tel. no. :
Office hours: Mon, Wed, Fri.: 9:00
Thurs: Close at 7:00PM **
** Please call the office for exact times of closure on some
Tuesdays and Thusdays.
about Dr. Meena Sathappan including a tour of her office is
available at her Aasha
Showcase Index |