For all newborns born and cared for at Mass General for Children (MGfC), Leela Sarathy, MD, brings clinical expertise and compassion to give little ones and their families the best possible start, no matter how complex their needs may be.
As medical director of Newborn Services at MGfC, Sarathy hopes to continue to grow the newborn hospitalist service and integrate clinical care for babies and their families across Labor and Delivery, the Newborn Nursery, the Special Care Nursery and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). She is assembling a breastfeeding task force, consisting of pediatric and OB providers, nursing, and lactation consultants, to examine current trends and identify areas for improvement to provide more equitable lactation support and help all parents achieve their breastfeeding goals.
Sarathy’s more recent clinical and academic work focuses on perinatal substance exposure and providing more equitable, trauma-focused care to parents, families and newborns affected by substance use disorder.
“My current research involves perinatal toxicology testing and perinatal cannabis use. I am passionate about high-value care and weighing the harms of an intervention against potential benefits; this I believe applies to toxicology testing as well. I am also working with a group of newborn hospitalists on a workshop examining the ethics of universal toxicology testing,” said Sarathy, who actively involved with the Perinatal-Neonatal Quality Improvement Network of Massachusetts and participates in perinatal substance use research and advocacy at MGfC. “We are also working on a pathway here at MGfC to ensure earlier identification and management of feeding issues in infants with neonatal opioid withdrawal syndrome (NOWS) and set them up for success upon discharge.”
Sarathy previously served as an attending physician at Tuft’s Children’s Hospital and Lawrence General Hospital before she was recruited to St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center (SEMC) as medical director of the Newborn Nursery. There, she developed policies for the 19 Steward Health Care birthing hospitals on topics such as early-onset sepsis, neonatal hypoglycemia, COVID-19-related newborn care and care of newborns who have been exposed to substance use.
Her leadership extends beyond the MGfC walls, however. Sarathy has given several workshops at national conferences on a variety of newborn topics and has published her quality improvement work on newborn Hepatitis B vaccination. She was recently selected by the American Academy of Pediatrics VIP (Value in Inpatient Pediatrics) network to serve as an Expert Workgroup Member in its latest quality improvement collaborative, which aims to support the pediatric inpatient community with the implementation of the forthcoming clinical practice guideline on the management of neonatal hyperbilirubinemia (jaundice).
Sarathy earned her medical degree from the Boston University School of Medicine. She completed her pediatric residency at Rhode Island Hospital/Brown University and a fellowship in pediatric hospital medicine at Tufts Children’s Hospital at Tufts Medical Center. She is accredited as Qualified Bilingual Staff at MGfC in which she is fluent in English and Spanish.