UMMC's Dr. Ram Kalagiri, left, and Dr. Kehinde Adebisi discuss treatment plans at the Delta Health System Medical Center NICU.
UMMC's Dr. Ram Kalagiri, left, and Dr. Kehinde Adebisi discuss treatment plans at the Delta Health System Medical Center NICU.
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UMMC offers Greenville-area newborns best quality NICU care

Published on Monday, December 7, 2020

By: Annie Oeth,

The University of Mississippi Medical Center is working with Delta Health-The Medical Center in Greenville to provide the best quality care for the region’s smallest and most critically ill newborns.

UMMC, through its pediatric arm, Children’s of Mississippi, is managing the neonatal intensive care unit at Delta Health-The Medical Center. UMMC pediatric hospitalist Dr. Kehinde Adebisi and neonatologist Dr. Ram Kalagiri, along with nurse manager Angela Bryant lead the Level II NICU, which offers advanced newborn care for babies born prematurely or who are recovering from serious conditions.

UMMC's leadership team at the Delta Health System Medical Center are, from left, nurse manager Angela Bryant, Dr. Ram Kalagiri and Dr. Kehinde Adebisi.
UMMC's leadership team at the Delta Health System Medical Center include, from left, Angela Bryant, nurse manager, Kalagiri and Adebisi.
Portrait of Dr. Kehinde Adebisi

“We are strengthening and rebuilding the neonatal program at Delta Health-The Medical Center,” said Kalagiri, who came to UMMC, as an assistant professor of pediatrics, and to Greenville in August. Adebisi, also an assistant professor of pediatrics, arrived in Greenville in July.

As part of the plan, in January, Bryant became a UMMC employee once again. The University of Southern Mississippi alumna had worked at the Medical Center from 2002 to 2011, caring for patients in the NICU most of those years.

Portrait of Angela Bryant

“We work together well,” Bryant said of the Delta Health-The Medical Center’s NICU team and also of Children’s of Mississippi. To span the miles, the Greenville team meets with their UMMC colleagues via WebEx several times each week.

Bryant’s familiarity with NICU care on the UMMC campus and the Delta region is a plus, said Fran Malenzi, Children’s of Mississippi director of newborn services. “She’s very open to collaboration as we standardize best practices.”

Dr. Mobolaji Famuyide, chief of Newborn Medicine at UMMC, said having a NICU team in Greenville extends the expert care offered at the Medical Center to the Delta region.

Portrait of Dr. Famuyide

“The medical team in Greenville is part of the Division of Newborn Medicine at UMMC,” Famuyide said. “We have worked as a team to implement the same guidelines and policies. They join our team's educational meetings weekly and periodically discuss their patients and the care they need and work to deliver that care as a team.”

Robust Level II NICUs such as the one at Delta Health-The Medical Center can offer assisted ventilation for less than 24 hours and continuous positive airway pressure. A Level IV NICU, the highest designated level, can provide care for babies at the lowest ages of viability, including mechanical ventilation and surgeries including heart procedures requiring heart-lung bypass.

The NICU at Delta Health-The Medical Center will serve as a regional center for newborns in need of intensive care.

The most critically ill babies are transferred by neonatal transport by ambulance or by AirCare helicopter from Delta Health-The Medical Center to Children’s of Mississippi’s NICU. The 88 private NICU rooms at the newly opened Kathy and Joe Sanderson Tower at Children’s of Mississippi make up the state’s only Level IV NICU.

Portrait of Dr. Ram Kalagiri

“When those babies have grown and are more stable, they can safely return to Delta Health-The Medical Center’s NICU where they are closer to their families,” said Adebisi.

Both doctors bring world-class experience to Greenville.

After studying medicine and surgery at the University of Ilorin in Nigeria, Adebisi completed an internship at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital. Adebisi served as an emergency medical officer, then as a resident physician in pediatrics at Federal Medical Centre in Ido-Ekiti, Nigeria. He then served as resident physician in pediatrics at Harlem Hospital Center, an affiliate of Columbia University Medical Center in New York.

Kalagiri studied medicine at Gandhi Medical College in Hyderabad, India, and completed pediatric residencies at NKP Salve Institute of Medical Sciences in Nagpur, India, and Durgabai Deshmukh Hospital and Research Center in Hyderabad. After serving as a pediatrician at Sheikh Khalifa Hospital and Wellcare Hospital, both in the United Arab Emirates, Kalagiri completed clinical observerships in pediatrics at the Cleveland Clinic and in neonatology at Metrohealth Hospital, both in Cleveland, Ohio. He completed a clinical observership in pediatric neurology at the University of Kentucky before a fellowship in neonatal and perinatal medicine and a pediatric residency at BSW Healthcare in Temple, Texas.

Delta Health-The Medical Center can accommodate as many as eight babies in its NICU. Adebisi and Kalagiri alternate their service, each on duty two weeks at a time.

“We don’t know what we’ll be faced with when we get that call,” said Kalagiri, noting that NICU care has helped babies born as early as 24 to 26 weeks go on to thrive.

UMMC also collaborates with Memorial Hospital at Gulfport in the management of that hospital’s Level III NICU, helping provide neonatal care to Gulf Coast region since 2018.