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Umesh Paudel

Umesh Paudel, MD

Director of Neonatology
NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem

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Caring for Premature Babies in Harlem

Leaving Nepal for America in 2007, Dr. Umesh Paudel was drawn to New York for its “pulsing heart of multiculturalism.” Seventeen years later, caring for babies and their families as the Chief of Neonatology at NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem, he feels as if he is part of that beating heart. 

“I can see their stories unfold through each visit – each story so different – and being able to provide them with resources they deserve is by far one of the most fulfilling parts of my job. I feel like I’m serving a global community in one place.”

Here’s one illustration of Dr. Paudel’s dedication: “Coming to work every day in the Neonatal ICU,” he says, “and taking care of the preemies who came into this world before their intended time, watching them grow and graduate from the NICU is such a proud moment.”

Here’s another: At the peak of the COVID crisis in 2020, on top of his regular hours in the NICU, Dr. Paudel spent up to 80 hours a week counseling and guiding New Yorkers as a hotline support volunteer.

Dr. Paudel joined Harlem’s neonatology staff as an attending physician in 2017, and his outstanding clinical skills and leadership qualities led to his appointment as chief of the department in 2022. “He has galvanized his team and demonstrated his passion and commitment with long hours to maintain our level III NICU status,” writes Dr. Maurice Wright, Harlem’s Chief Medical Officer. Since 2017, Dr. Paudel has also been an assistant professor of clinical pediatrics at Columbia University Medical Center.

“Harlem has in many ways deepened my understanding of medicine, not just in patient care but in solidifying the importance of respect for everyone involved in the process – their values, beliefs and cultural backgrounds,” Dr. Paudel says. “Creating a trusting environment is vital in guiding parents through a stressful time and helping them make sometimes difficult decisions.”

“Being a doctor can be challenging in moments,” he adds. “Not every story is a success story, not every result is positive. But when I reflect on my day and my career, I can never regret the path that I’ve taken – being able to reach out to families in their times of tribulation, facing them heart-to-heart, seeing the relief in the faces of parents, receiving hand-drawn cards from children is what motivates me.” 

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