Celebrated Physician: Shawn Tejiram, MD
As a computer engineering and computer science undergraduate at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Shawn Tejiram, MD, seemed well on his way to a career in information technology. But volunteer opportunities at the nearby H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Shriners Hospitals for Children motivated him to reprogram his future.
“I liked the interaction physicians had with their patients and families and was inspired by the work they did,” he explains. “So, I added biomedical sciences to my major and decided to pursue medicine.”
Burn Care and Treatment
After graduation, the Tampa native stayed close to home by attending USF’s Morsani College of Medicine. He then came to MedStar Georgetown University Hospital/MedStar Washington Hospital Center for his general surgery residency. A research fellowship in the Firefighters’ Burn and Surgical Research Laboratory at MedStar Washington Hospital Center focused Dr. Tejiram’s interest in burn injuries and related care.
“It was fascinating to see how acute care management for burn patients differs from other types of injuries, plus involves other specialties, such as dieticians, rehabilitation specialists, and outpatient treatment for scar care,” he says. “The opportunity to work with some amazing physicians also made a huge impression on me.”
The experience led to additional fellowships in burn surgery, trauma surgery, and surgical critical care, at the University of California Davis Medical Center and Shriners Hospitals for Children—Northern California. The opportunity to return to the Hospital Center as an attending surgeon in The Burn Center, and at Children’s National Hospital, reunited Dr. Tejiram with colleagues and mentors, and allowed him to assist burn patients with both the physical and emotional aspects of their injuries.
“A burn can be a very traumatic experience, but we have extensive experience managing all types of cases to achieve better outcomes,” he says. “We’re also at the forefront of utilizing some highly innovative treatment methods, such as using a patient’s skin cells to produce a solution that is sprayed over the wound during the surgical procedure. This helps speed the process of regenerating natural skin.”
Dr. Tejiram’s own research has focused on blood clot formation in burn patients, and the role it can play in optimizing acute burn patient care. These and other research projects have resulted in an extensive list of published papers and presentations. He also enjoys sharing his knowledge and experiences with Hospital Center burn care and surgical residents.
“It wasn’t that long ago when I was in their position, with the same questions they’re now asking me,” Dr. Tejiram says. “I really enjoy the chance to help them become better physicians.”
Outside of Work
Still the enthusiastic volunteer, Dr. Tejiram and his wife work with several area animal rescue groups, inspired in part by their own rescue dog, Chestnut. “We’re also big hikers,” he adds, “and have explored Great Falls and other area trails. It’s great that we’re close to so many fun and scenic places.”
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