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Sumanth Rajagopal, MD

Infectious Diseases, KP East Bay

“In our specialty, we’re regularly called on to make sense of confusing situations. My colleagues and I took the same approach we use at the bedside to respond the pandemic – sifting through information and applying best practices to provide optimal care for our patients.”

When Dr. Rajagopal became chief of Infectious Diseases for the East Bay in January 2020, he couldn’t have predicted what was to come. Yet just 2 months later, when faced with the harrowing reality of the COVID-19 pandemic, he didn’t bat an eye. Instead, he rolled up his sleeves and went all in, helping to translate nebulous information about a then unknown disease into relatable and actionable clinical education.

“In just 2 years, Dr. Rajagopal delivered more than 100 educational sessions and hospital-wide grand rounds, far exceeding any individual’s contribution to CME in the East Bay in the past,” says Rita Ng, MD, physician-in-chief at KP Oakland. “His talks were tailored to each department’s needs, and he went the extra mile to support staff, nurses, and respiratory therapists, too, to create a safety net of best practices in our hospitals.”

In his educational talks, Dr. Rajagopal shared the latest COVID-19 evidence and workflows, and helped colleagues make sense of changing testing protocols and criteria for therapeutics. He digested and communicated new data at a rapid pace, and also collaborated with local county health departments and external hospitals to ensure accurate workflows and treatment plans.

“I see my role as an infectious disease physician to be that of a problem-solver,” says Dr. Rajagopal, “with the ultimate goal of providing the best possible care for any patient who comes my way. Every case is unique and presents an opportunity to share some of the skills and learning I have acquired over the years to the next generation of physicians.”

“He’s an exceptional human being,” Dr. Ng says, “an expert in his field, a phenomenal clinician educator, and a tremendous leader. And most of all, Sumanth is a kind, authentic, and caring colleague and friend, someone we can all lean on and have a good laugh with. He embodies all the best attributes of a Permanente physician: a leader in the community, a powerhouse within our medical center, and a true visionary guiding us into the future.”

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