From Aerial Performance to Podcasting, Global Emergency Medicine Fellow Brings Talents and Enthusiasm for Teaching to UCSF Fresno

Ranjita Raghavan performing aerial acrobatics in scrubs.
Dr. Ranjita Raghavan performing aerial acrobatics.
Photo by: Rowan Metnzer

Ranjita Raghavan, MD, has always looked for interesting, creative challenges. While in medical school at the University of Southern California, she took classes in aerial arts, mastering the hoop and silks.  For a chance to live on the East Coast, the native Californian matched for an Emergency Medicine residency at Mount Sinai in New York City.

And seeking a challenge post-residency, this fall she was accepted as the inaugural fellow in UCSF Fresno’s new Global Emergency Medicine Education Fellowship (GMEd).

The one-year fellowship is an advanced training program for teaching Emergency Medicine in countries where Emergency Medicine (EM) is a developing specialty. It is a collaboration with the UCSF Fresno Department of Emergency Medicine and EM:RAP, a monthly education podcast focused on Emergency Medicine and a part of the Access and Innovation Medication Education (AIME) Collective. 

The fellowship has a secondary focus of improving teaching skills for the fellow, drawing on workshops and expertise of EM:RAP educators, as well as providing teaching mentorship for international colleagues.

Dr. Raghavan was drawn to the fellowship for several reasons, including its emphasis on teaching and the ability to build on skills she gained during residency. In her third year of residency, she came to UCSF Fresno for a Medical Education Elective and she also was able to work on a few EM:RAP podcasts. “They were short segments, but it was fun,” she said. She also produced podcasts with the Emergency Medicine Residents Association (EMRA). “I was one of their podcasters for two years and it was amazing. We produced podcasts and learned from the podcasting greats.”

Her background in performance arts also lends itself to finding innovative ways of disseminating EM information globally. “I definitely want to take some of those skill sets and use them to produce EM content in an interesting format,” she said.

She has a passion for teaching, said Ryan Ernst, MD, a UCSF assistant clinical professor of Emergency Medicine and the UCSF Fresno director of Global Health Education. “She brings her online talent … and she brings her enthusiasm and talents to provide high-quality Emergency Medicine education internationally and to help curate existing relationships and help to develop relationships.”

She also thrives on learning. She had no experience in aerial arts when she stumbled upon a class in a gym and decided to sign up. “Once I find something interesting, I find people who do it really well and learn from the best,” she said. In a competition in Las Vegas, she took fourth place in the non-professional category for her age group in hoop and silks.

Dr. Raghavan’s proclivity for diving into new assignments fits with being the first Global Emergency Medicine Education Fellow at UCSF Fresno. She is tasked with numerous projects, including editor of EM:RAP GO newsletter and module director for the EM Diploma at Cho Ray Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City. She also is supporting both virtual and online teaching for the EM diploma at Aga Khan residencies in Nairobi, Kenya.

Ranjita Raghavan posing in a hospital room.

“I want to highlight global voices who have so much experience and maybe don’t have the outlet to share their knowledge. We can promote them and be able to learn from them as well, while helping them make a strong residency program,” she said. “One of the main things that Ryan (Dr. Ernst) and I want to highlight is that this is an anti-colonial agenda, and we achieve this with long-term commitment, flexibility and humility.” 

While the UCSF Fresno fellowship allows her to further develop her teaching skills, it also provides clinical opportunities.  Dr. Raghavan has an appointment as a UCSF clinical instructor and works in the emergency department at Community Regional Medical Center, while collaborating on global projects.

“I want to become a better educator, but I still want to work in the emergency department. Definitely working in this ER was a huge pull to come here. There are really diverse and sick patients. It’s a good feeling to know you are helping people who need it or people who don’t have access to care.”

Most of all, Dr. Raghavan is excited by the possibilities for developing long-term longitudinal educational collaborations across the globe during her fellowship year at UCSF Fresno.

“This Emergency Medicine Education Fellowship at UCSF Fresno really is honestly a golden ticket of a fellowship if you are interested in becoming a good educator and you want to get better clinically or like to continue your clinical skills. And you have this global agenda where you get to meet people from around the world and you get to learn from them – and you get to help them in a responsible way.” 

Part of Newsletter: Focus on UCSF Fresno Winter 2024