Learn more about Dr. Shivi Siva, new Assistant Professor in Digestive Diseases. 

Hometown: I was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka and spent my childhood along a beach in Colombo. My family sent me to an Irish boarding school run by Franciscan sisters located in Chennai, South India due to the ethnic unrest in Sri Lanka. I completed my middle and high school in Chennai.

Undergraduate and medical school: I began my medical studies at North Colombo Medical College, Sri Lanka and had to transfer to Ross University, Domina due to the civil unrest in Sri Lanka. My clinical clerkships were primarily on the east coast of the United States at John Hopkins and Yale University affliated hospitals.

Internal Medicine residency: I completed my internship and residency in internal medicine at Hahnemann University-Medical College of Pennsylvania hospitals located in Philadelphia, PA.

Gastroenterology Fellowship: I completed my first year of Gastroenterology Fellowship at Graduate hospital, Philadelphia and relocated to London, UK to live closer to my family when Graduate hospital closed.

I was selected for a categorical fellowship in an accredited fellowship program at London Deanery, the University of London to complete my Gastroenterology fellowship. During my clinical fellowship, I also studied stem cell biology of hepato-biliary tumors in a translational center at Cancer Research-UK.

I relocated to the midwest for an advanced fellowship in inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD), initially at Indiana University and then the prestigious Joseph B. Kirsner Fellowship in Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, at the University of Chicago.

Division: Digestive Diseases

Tell us about yourself. Having grown up in Sri Lanka as a part of a Tamil family of lawyers, I was initially interested in becoming a human rights lawyer. However, human rights lawyers in Sri Lanka in the 1980’s and 1990’s were often victims of violence. Therefore, I decided to take an alternative path to help others. I was drawn to medicine through a desire to help patients, engage in academic pursuit, and have a career that would enable me to pursue these interests without fear of persecution.

As a child, I was afraid to cross a road ‘alone’ in Colombo, Sri Lanka. In contrast, I ‘solo’ traveled extensively in Europe and most recently Jordan. I am a foodie and enjoy spending time in fine dining, cooking and art museums.

What are you most looking forward to working at UMMC?

I was drawn to UMMC by Dr. Sarah Glover, the Division Director of Digestive Diseases who is also an IBD expert. I admire her infectious enthusiasm and tenacity. The GI division at UMMC is a close-knit group and will grow exponentially into a world-class center under her leadership. I have an advantage as I can be mentored by Dr. Glover as we both share a common interest in IBD. I am keen to start my research interests in IBD, both in clinical outcomes and translational research and looking to collaborate within and outside the division.

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