Dr. Sandip Godambe, CHOC’s senior vice president and chief medical officer (CMO), did not always plan to become a physician leader.
In fact, as a college student at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, he initially majored in engineering and minored in the romance languages before eventually changing to biology and mathematics.
But two other, seemingly disparate college experiences propelled Dr. Godambe toward a career in pediatrics: Working in an immunogenetics lab, where he was part of a team that discovered T-cell receptor gene rearrangement. And, he worked with disadvantaged youths and led a program in downtown St. Louis through the Washington University Campus YMCA.
With these experiences as a background, he joined the MD-PhD (Medical Scientist Training) program at Washington University School of Medicine and continued to follow his passion for research in immunology. He went on to Boston Children’s Hospital for his pediatrics residency. During that time, he was able to work on a Navajo reservation in Crown Point, New Mexico.
“Those experiences taught me about the challenges that communities within the borders of our country face,” Dr. Godambe reflects. “As pediatricians, we are able to drive change to help our youth, families and communities.”
Inspired, Dr. Godambe then completed his pediatric emergency medicine fellowship at the University of Tennessee — where he pursued both clinical and basic science research. He stayed on as faculty and became a leader in its pediatric emergency department. He also completed his MBA with a healthcare quality focus at the University of Tennessee School of Business. It was during these years that Dr. Godambe developed a passion for improvement and safety science.
“Improvement science is a natural extension of the scientific method that is applied to continuous process improvement,” says Dr. Godambe. “When done well, it is enjoyable and rewarding for all who participate.”
Today, as the senior vice president and CMO at CHOC, he has primary oversight of activities involving medical staff, quality, patient safety, regulatory affairs, and risk and accreditation. As part of this role, he oversees the clinical operations of CHOC’s two hospital campuses, ambulatory network and virtual health programs.
“Everyone at CHOC is unified in their quest to be the best healthcare system for children. There are so many wonderful things occurring at CHOC — from excellent clinical care to innovation to population health — just to name a few,” he says. “I want to help with this journey to excellence.”
At CHOC, Dr. Godambe will be teaching and leading programs, supporting CHOC’s innovation and research endeavors, working clinically with patients and introducing system-wide improvement and safety science.
“The job of CMO will need to evolve with the changing healthcare landscape,” he says. “Value-based care initiatives will require better integration of efforts within the hospital and ambulatory care arena with our community, state and national partners.”
Prior to joining CHOC, Dr. Godambe served as vice president, chief quality and safety officer at Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters Health System in Virginia, where he was also a professor and vice chair of pediatrics for Eastern Virginia Medical School. He was also the co-director of their improvement science fellowship.
In addition, Dr. Godambe has been a senior examiner for the Baldrige Performance Excellence Program, which is jointly administered by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), American Society for Quality (ASQ), and the Department of Commerce. He is an improvement advisor and fellow with the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI).
Active with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), Children’s Hospital Association (CHA), and the Children’s Hospital Solutions for Patient Safety (CH-SPS), Dr. Godambe has written more than 50 publications/chapters in emergency medicine, quality, and immunology and is co-editor of five books.
With his vast experience in improvement and safety sciences, Dr. Godambe hopes to increase CHOC’s interconnectivity among all providers, staff and departments to co-design and co-produce healthcare with patients, families and communities to improve the efficiency of care and continue to deliver better outcomes.
“I want CHOC to be a learning system that better incorporates newly gathered information and integrates it across the continuum to make us better,” says Dr. Godambe.
Dr. Godambe also looks forward to building upon CHOC’s commitment to safety and quality, a proudly cultivated environment that prioritizes safety, but also emphasizes sharing and openness.
A career in physician leadership may have come as a pleasant surprise for Dr. Godambe, so he’s thrilled to pay that unexpected gift forward by providing opportunities and mentorship to residents, physicians and non-providers alike to help them grow, improve and become future leaders at CHOC and pediatric healthcare as a whole.
“CHOC’s team is friendly and dynamic, and they provide extraordinary care,” He says. “I am excited to be a part of the team as we work to nurture, advance and protect the health and well-being of children.”
In his free time, Dr. Godambe enjoys cooking, running, cycling or playing the violin with his musically inclined wife and three children.