Meet the Doctor: Swathi Vanguri, MD
Swathi Vanguri, MD, is an obstetrician/gynecologist (OBGYN) who sees patients at the Genuardi Family Foundation Maternal Health Center on Powell Street in Norristown, and at Women’s Associates for Health Care offices on Market Street in Collegeville, on Germantown Pike in East Norriton, and on Mall Boulevard in King of Prussia. She is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology.
We spoke to Dr. Vanguri recently about her career, her interests, and obstetrics and gynecology care at Einstein Healthcare Network.
Q: When and why did you decide to become a doctor?
A: My recollection is wanting to be a doctor when I was a young child. I have memories of a show-and-tell at school and my dad drawing me a picture of a human body with arteries and veins and I explained it to my classmates.
I always had an interest in science and how the body works. And I like working with people and wanted to help people. Many people who go into medicine have that fascination with medicine, but also the desire to do something good and provide some service.
Q: Tell us about your educational background:
A: I was born in India, but was 2 years old when we moved to the United States, so I have no memory of living in India. I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. Then, when I was 16, my dad got transferred and we moved to New Jersey. I have been on the East Coast since then.
I went to Rutgers University and attended Robert Wood Johnson Medical School at Rutgers. My residency was at St. Luke’s Hospital in Bethlehem.
Q: Why did you choose your specialty? Did you know that going into med school?
A: No, I didn’t. I had no idea, but I knew there was one thing I didn’t want to be – an OBGYN. So I scheduled that as my first rotation in medical school, figuring I’d get it out of the way. And lots of people tried to scare me about OBGYN, saying, “You’ll always be on call. You’ll never see your family. You’ll have a horrible work-life balance.”
But when I did the rotation, something clicked. It was the perfect mix of everything I was looking for. I could be hands-on and do procedures, and I always wanted to create that connection with people. Even as a medical student, I was able to create a connection with patients in this field more than any other. Once I did the rotation, there was nothing else I could see myself doing.
I remember talking to one of the attending physicians, and she said, “You’re going to go into OB.” And I said, “Why do you say that?” And she said I had a spark when I talked about it, and it was clear to her that nothing else was going to make me happier. And she was right. I can’t imagine doing anything else in my life.
Q: What are your clinical interests?
A: I have two. From the obstetric point of view, I’m interested in breastfeeding and breastfeeding education. I learned nothing about it in my residency, but after I had my first child, it sparked an interest in me to learn more. I have taught breastfeeding classes and done numerous lectures. I’ve written protocols, done research, and written guidelines for physicians who want to be breastfeeding-friendly.
On the gynecologic side, I do a lot of minimally invasive surgery. For example, a hysterectomy on a woman with large fibroids who had multiple previous surgeries or a lot of scar tissue is challenging, but the robot allows the surgeon a bit more dexterity. It takes extra training and specialization, which I’ve done. I’m fortunate enough to be able to do that.
Q: What drew you to Einstein?
A: What brought me to Einstein was the people. I wanted to be in a place where all the providers I would be working with cared a lot about their patients. I felt like I clicked with them when I interviewed. In some places, people can be curt and rude. But at Einstein everybody is genuinely nice to each other.
Q: Why should people choose Einstein for their care?
A: Some hospital systems choose money over patients and lose focus on what’s important. I don’t see that at Einstein. There is a drive to serve the patient with care, dignity, and heart. Everything here is appropriately managed and evidence-based.
The other thing I like is that many people who work at Einstein have been in the system a long time – 20 years, 25 years. That tells me this is a health system that treats employees well.
Q: What are your interests outside of work?
A: Well, I’m a mom of two very busy boys, almost 10 and 7. My time outside of work is with friends and family.
Q; Who was an early role model for you?
A: My mom. I’ve realized, as I’m older, that I model a lot of how I interact with people on how she does. She makes people feel important and respected. That’s something I think about when I interact with somebody. I make sure I’m giving them the respect they deserve.
Q: Is there any person, living or historic, that you would like to meet?
A: I don’t know. I’m very much into history. I have a little boy who loves it, too. We were all into Hamilton and then I taught him about the Revolutionary War. Now we’re reading books about Greek mythology. Every time we get into something new, I think I’d really love to meet these people.
Q: Do you have a favorite book or movie?
A: I love the Harry Potter series. I read all seven books, probably four or five times. My latest read-through was with my son. I read to him every night, and once we finish the book, the reward is that we watch the movie. Now we’re onto a new series, the Percy Jackson fantasy novels.
My favorite movie is tougher, but I always say The Princess Bride. That’s a great one.
Q: How about a favorite vacation spot?
A: I love to travel. Of all of the places I’ve traveled, the place I can’t wait to go back to is Rome.
Q; What is something that people might not know about you?
A: My older son has autism and I started a support group for physician moms who have kids with special needs. It has grown to several thousand women all around the world. I’m proud of and passionate about that.