COOKEVILLE – When Dr. Supriya Kohli made the move to Putnam County earlier this year, she didn’t just join the Cookeville Regional Medical Center team – she joined the same neurology practice as her husband, too.
They may not have planned it that way – the pair first met in medical school in India and made the move to the United States together – but it was an opening Kohli says she couldn’t pass up. She signed on as one of the hospital’s newest physicians in February, following a fellowship at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville. Her husband, Dr. Ronak Jani, was hired at CRMC in September 2014. The pair now share an office in the hospital’s Professional Office Building with Dr. Randy Gaw in what’s been a blooming neurology practice.
“We always wanted to be in the same place, but the goal was not necessarily to work in the same practice,” she said. “But CRMC was in need of neurologists, and my husband was very happy here, so I said, why not?”
For Kohli, a biology lover, being a doctor was an obvious choice. “I really like helping people,” she said. “I never thought about doing anything else.” But her interest in neurology as a specialty took a little more time to develop.
Kohli attended medical school at Bharati Vidyapeeth’s Medical College in Pune, India. After, she – and Jani – both came to the United States for residency and training. She completed her internship in internal medicine at Brookdale University Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, and a residency in neurology at the University at Buffalo, SUNY. At Vanderbilt, she completed a fellowship in clinical neurophysiology–epilepsy.
“We didn’t have too much neurology exposure during medical school, but I had a few family members who suffered from neurological diseases, so I wanted to learn more about it,” she said. “Later, I saw it was one of the few fields where I could diagnose someone clinically and basically correlate (that diagnosis) to the imaging, which is really cool.
“The brain is always fascinating, and there’s so many treatment options available in neurology,” she added. “Plus there’s a lot of new medicines coming up, which makes it more interesting as well.”
Treatment options have expanded in two areas in particular, Kohli said, including epilepsy, a neurological disorder that causes repeated seizures, and multiple sclerosis, a chronic disease of the central nervous system that can cause blurred vision, tremors, numbness, paralysis, blindness and more. There’s several new orally- available options available to treat both diseases now.
“Those two fields are really dynamic right now, and we see a lot of patients in both these subspecialties,” she said. “There’s so many new medicines coming out, every month in fact, for both epileptic and multiple sclerosis patients. That makes it better for us as doctors – and for the patients – because we have more choices available.”
Additionally, since epilepsy is one area of special focus for Kohli, long-term, she’d love to help establish an epilepsy monitoring unit, or EMU, at CRMC, a specialized unit in which would be admitted for observation and treatment. Currently, the closest EMU is located in Nashville.
But for now, Kohli is settling into her new practice. “I’m seeing all sorts of patients right now, because there’s really a need for that in the community,” she said. “The practice is busy.”
And she has so far enjoyed exploring the Cookeville and Upper Cumberland community. Kohli says they’re pretty much regulars at the Putnam County YMCA and love to hike and explore, particularly Fall Creek Falls and other places outdoors. The couple also has two young children, a son and a daughter.
So far, working together is working well.
“It’s really good,” Kohli said. “We can bounce ideas off each other and discuss interesting cases, and I ask for his opinion and he asks for mine, so that certainly helps,” she said. “People think that having two neurologists in the family can get to be too much, but I feel like it’s just the opposite. There’s a lot of opportunities here.”
Neurology specialist Supriya Kohli is a staff member at Cookeville Regional Medical Center and Cookeville Regional Medical Group. Her office is located in the hospital’s Professional Office Building, 145 W. Fourth St., Suite 201. For more information, call (931) 783-5848 or visit www.crmchealth.org.