Dr. Rao's talent, humility, and unwavering optimism have taken him around the world.
COVID-19 has provided yet another opportunity to care for the family he's built at Lowell CHC.
Dr. Krishnamoorthy Rao (Kris to friends and colleagues) first learned about community health centers when he interviewed for his job here.
He remembers marveling, "A medical facility that's truly developed around the needs of the community. That's fantastic!"
Kris arrived at Lowell CHC fresh out of medical school in Chicago, but with more than a decade of experience - including a medical degree earned in his native India, where academic achievement essentially guaranteed a career in medicine. After excelling in medical school in India, he went right to work in government hospitals, often seeing a staggering 50 or 60 patients a day, 7 days a week.
Although he found this work rewarding (if also exhausting!), he set his sights on moving to the U.S. "In medical school, many of our textbooks were American. That was the gold standard of excellence in medicine," he explains.
While waiting for his Visa, Kris continued his rigorous patient load, eventually leaving India to work in the Middle East. There, he finally got the good news that he could pack his bags for the U.S. Although in his 40s, he had to start from scratch, enrolling in medical school alongside much younger classmates.
Undaunted, Kris graduated in 2002, again at the top of his class. A colleague recommended him for a position at Lowell CHC. The Health Center's commitment to caring for everyone, regardless of financial circumstance, proved a perfect fit.
"My experience at the Health Center has been nothing short of wonderful," Kris says, beaming. "The work we do here is so important - striving to give the best possible treatment in a culturally sensitive way."
Known for leading with compassion and a wry wit, Kris has led the charge to add innovative new treatments, like our OBAT (Office-Based Addiction Treatment) Program and expanding HIV services, transforming thousands of lives in the process.
While COVID has replaced most in person visits with telehealth, his approach remains the same.
"Every patient should be treated like a king or queen. That's my goal. Everyone should end their appointment with a smile on their face."
After nearly two decades, Kris's energy and commitment have not waned a bit. "I am always eager to come to work," he says with a broad smile. "Even after all these years. Through hard times. I love practicing medicine at Lowell CHC."
Thank you, Dr. Kris Rao, for all that you bring to our patients, and our Health Center!