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Mahrukh Bamji

Mahrukh Bamji, MD

Chair, Department of Pediatrics
NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan

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A Pioneer in Pediatric Care

As a nationally recognized veteran of 38 years in the pediatrics department of NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan, Dr. Mahrukh Bamji has been on the frontlines of nearly every modern-day challenge to children’s health, from the routine to the critical to the global. 

In the late 1980s, Dr. Bamji was the director of the pediatric intensive care unit when Metropolitan emerged as a major center treating babies born with HIV infection transmitted by their mothers. She became a widely respected clinician and researcher – and part of a multi-center team that helped radically reduce perinatal transmission of HIV. Among other things, Dr. Bamji and her colleagues developed the use of PCR testing to detect HIV in the blood of newborns, decades before it became a common test for COVID-19. And she led clinical trials for medications that now prevent mother-to-newborn transmission of HIV.

When COVID overwhelmed New York 30 years later, Dr. Bamji, who is board-certified in pediatric hospital medicine, treated children with a rare but life-threatening version of the infection called multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children. It was just one of many pediatric conditions she’s confronted in her long career as a clinician, department chief, award-winning teacher and well-funded researcher who has published more than 80 peer-reviewed papers. 

“Medicine is continuously evolving, with new research and advances that provide constant intellectual stimulation,” Dr. Bamji says. But in the end, “It’s the joy and fulfillment of improving the health of patients that is priceless.” 

Dr. Bamji grew up in India in a family of physicians that went back generations. In the late 1800s, when India was a British colony, her great grandfather made a two-month journey across the oceans to become one of the first Indian physicians trained in England. “My grandfather, my father, my aunt and uncle were also physicians,” she says. “And my children.”

Dr. Bamji earned her medical degree in Bombay and became board-certified in pediatrics after arriving in New York in 1975. She joined Metropolitan in 1986 and held a series of leadership positions before being appointed chair of pediatrics in 2020. She has also been a professor of pediatrics at New York Medical College since 1978 and the principal investigator of numerous pediatric HIV-AIDS research, education and treatment projects. 

“In my career, the pediatric population has gotten healthier, mostly because of vaccines,” she observes. “Now, I think the biggest challenge is addressing mental health issues. It cuts through socioeconomic groups, but you see it more in the inner-city population and that has to do with the social determinants of health and lack of access to care.”

Reducing such health care disparities is what has kept her in the public health system: “I cannot imagine a more satisfying calling.”

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