Aloka Patel, MD

Associate Professor
Department of Pediatrics, Rush Medical College
Roles: Clinician, Researcher, Faculty
Joined Rush in 2003



I received my medical degree from Northwestern University School of Medicine and then completed my pediatric residency and neonatology fellowship at Washington University, Saint Louis. I am a clinician in the neonatal intensive care unit and Research Director for the Section of Neonatology. My long-term research goal is the removal of barriers to maternal lactation and human milk feedings in the NICU. My research has focused on identifying health and cost outcomes of human milk feedings for very low birthweight infants, understanding barriers to continued provision of human milk for African American mothers of VLBW Infants and clinical nutritional studies in preterm infants.

What inspired you to get into your field?

Working with families during a very stressful time in their lives is a great responsibility, but it is equally rewarding. It is amazing to see the infants grow and develop while in the NICU and then send them home!

What excited you about your work at Rush?

My colleagues are a wonderful group; working with them is a joy.

What is your opinion of mentoring and sponsorship? Please comment about your experiences.

I have had a wonderful mentor and sponsor who has helped me take on new challenges and roles, to grow as a researcher and to become a mentor myself. She has been a role model for me, and she is the type of mentor that I hope to be.

Do you have tips or advice you would recommend for someone looking to enter your field of work?

It is important to work in an area that you are passionate about. This is critical to sustaining your interest through the years.

What are your hobbies? How do you like to spend your free time?

I enjoy reading, skiing, traveling and cooking.