“I remember thinking, ‘This is the most amazing place,’” he said. “The ideals I was denied in my upbringing in Uganda are embodied in the Constitution. The moment I realized that I knew I wanted to move to America.”
Following medical school and a one-year internship in England, Savani took the exams necessary to apply for residency programs in the U.S. He didn’t receive a book with programs to match into until a week after Match Day, but there was still an opening for a pediatrics residency at Duke University Medical Center when he called for more information. Three weeks later, he was headed to the U.S. to become a resident at Duke.
“When I got there, I knew that my entire life was going to change,” he said. “And it did, residency was an amazing experience.”
After completing his residency, Savani completed fellowships in neonatology and pulmonary biology at the Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati, Ohio, and a fellowship in cell and molecular biology at the Manitoba Institute of Cell Biology at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada.
He was later recruited to join the faculty at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine before was recruited to help build a new program from the ground up in Texas in 2006.
Savani has spent the past 16 years in Dallas building and growing the neonatal programs at UT Southwestern Medical Center. He helped launch and enhance neonatal facilities at four area hospitals and established telemedicine programs for neonatal consultation and outreach.
He is currently a member of the March of Dimes’ National Science Committee and a surveyor for the American Academy of Pediatrics NICU verification program. Savani has received several distinctions, including the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award, the Perinatal Physician Excellence Award from the March of Dimes, and the Young Investigator Award for Perinatal Pediatrics from the American Academy of Pediatrics.
In his new role in Gainesville, he said he looks forward to working closely with his colleagues to continue and enhance the excellence of clinical care for the patients at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital, increase innovative research programs and train the next generation of pediatricians.
“If we’re guided by what is best for each child we have the privilege of taking care of, the programs and policies that optimize outcomes follow naturally,” Savani said. “I look forward to learning from my colleagues in Gainesville, seeking their guidance and taking the department to the next level of excellence.”