The Wright Center’s Dr. Madhava S. Rao, Announces Retirement

Members News

After four decades of faithfully serving our community, renowned area cardiologist and medical educator Madhava S. Rao, M.D., has decided to embrace a well-deserved retirement. Throughout the span of his 40-plus year career, Dr. Rao has touched the hearts and improved the lives of countless patients and families through his practice of cardiology. And thanks to generations of cardiologists — serving patients regionally and nationally — who trained under Dr. Rao in The Wright Center’s Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship Program, his life-saving legacy of service will continue well into the future.

“We appreciate Dr. Rao’s legacy and his many amazing contributions over the decades to support delivery of our mission to improve the health and welfare of our community. We wish him and his family many blessings and great prosperity in his well-earned retirement,” said Dr. Linda Thomas-Hemak, CEO of The Wright Center for Community Health and President of The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education. “Dr Rao’s valued passion for education, cardiovascular expertise and healthcare system insight have been great influential assets to our regional practicing physicians and learners. His career contributions have benefitted our community in immeasurable ways.”

“Teaching made me a better doctor, because when you see that enthusiasm for learning, it makes you want to learn more, too,” Dr. Rao shared. “Even now, whenever I get asked to do consultations for my former student fellows, they always send me a note of appreciation. They’re great doctors, but when they come to me for a second opinion, it’s a validating confidence boost. It inspires me and feels good to continue to help them.”

Dr. Rao graduated from Mysore Medical College in India and completed his internal medicine residency at Cook County Hospital in Chicago. He then completed his cardiology fellowship training at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio and notably went on to earn board certifications in nuclear cardiology, echocardiography and clinical hypertension. A fellow of the American College of Cardiology, Dr. Rao has served the greater Scranton community since 1979, most recently serving as Director of Non-Invasive Cardiology for the Geisinger Heart and Vascular Center at Geisinger Community Medical Center.

Throughout his career, Dr. Rao held numerous leadership roles, including Chief of Cardiology at the former Community Medical Center in Scranton, where he also was a well respected president of the medical staff; valued chairman of the Mortality and Morbidity Committee; a vested board member of the Quality Committee; and a 10-year passionate member of both the Board of Directors and the Medical Executive Committee.

He has been integral to medical education in the area, starting in 1980 when he was a preceptor for internal medicine residents and students enrolled in the Scranton Temple Residency Program, which later became The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education. He passionately supported the development of The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education’s Cardiology Fellowship and made numerous contributions to ensure it has thrived. For more than a decade, he has served as a key faculty leader and as the director of non-invasive cardiology for our fellowship. To date, 14 physician learners have graduated from this program, with nine more currently in training.

During his time with The Wright Center, Dr. Rao has been honored by the students, residents and fellows he has taught cardiology, who have voted him Teacher of the Year on numerous occasions.

“Throughout my years studying with him, Dr. Rao has been amazing,” said Dr. Neil Patel, a third-year Cardiovascular Disease Fellow at The Wright Center. “He has always been very passionate about teaching and the specialty of cardiology. as well as the profession of medicine in general. Everyone in our fellowship so far, myself and previous graduates included, are now board-certified in echocardiography and nuclear cardiology, and we all credit those accomplishments to Dr Rao.”

“Dr. Rao has been a great mentor. His teaching skills, especially in echocardiography and nuclear cardiology, have been exemplary,” agreed fellow third-year Cardiovascular Disease Fellow Dr. Guarav Patel.

“Dr. Rao has been a true inspiration not only to Wright Center cardiology fellows, primary care residents, and medical students, but he has also positively influenced the careers of many local practicing physicians, myself included. He’s been an exemplary doctor, teacher and mentor, and his years of service have been a blessing to our community. We will all surely miss him,” shared Dr. Jignesh Sheth, Chief Medical Officer and a practicing internal medicine and addiction medicine physician for The Wright Center for Community Health.

“Physician learners and our community alike benefited from Dr. Rao’s decades of practice and his many contributions toward training the next generation of cardiologists, as well as other specialty and primary care physicians. I have been privileged to be his colleague and wish him well,” said Dr. Samir B. Pancholy, Program Director for The Wright Center’s Cardiovascular Disease Fellowship.

“Teaching has been very rewarding, but the greatest satisfaction is knowing I did something good for the community,” Dr. Rao shared. “I have seen the commitment from Dr. Thomas-Hemak and The Wright Center to improve primary care and medical education in our community, especially when it comes to rural health, and I have appreciated the opportunity to be part of that.”

An acknowledgement celebration is planned for the future when a gathering to honor Dr. Rao will be COVID-19-safe.