Photography by Wesley Hitt
There is a saying in India: When God gives, He showers in abundance. Dr. Roopa Samant is the living embodiment of this wisdom.
A primary care physician at CHI St. Vincent in Little Rock, Dr. Samant is managing three children, a husband, a career and her patients with a grateful heart and a gift for empathy.
Q: Roopa is such a beautiful name. Where did you grow up? Tell us about yourself.
A: I’m originally from India. I grew up in a small town, Belgaum, which my parents moved to when I was about five years old. It is very similar to Little Rock: so much greenery, all the water in rivers and lakes, and the people are hospitable just like here. I studied in Belgaum and did most of my medical training there. I also met my best friend and husband, Rohan, in 1997 there. I did my residency from UAMS at Pine Bluff and started my job with CHI St. Vincent. We have three beautiful babies – our PEAs – who are a year and a half old now, and my life revolves around them. I cannot imagine anything better and am very thankful to God.
Q: How did you come to Arkansas?
A: I came to Little Rock when my husband began his residency at UAMS. His cousin was doing a fellowship here. I moved away from my parents, country and continent for the first time. I had goosebumps on my skin and butterflies in my stomach. The first time I looked at Little Rock, I had just awakened on the plane, and when I looked down, I felt a sense of home. It seemed so much like Belgaum. From day one the friendliness of people here has made me feel 100 percent right about our decision to move here. Now, Little Rock is home and where we have started our family.
Q: What inspired you to become a physician?
A: My father is a physician, and I used to go to clinic with him as a small child. I saw the gratitude the patients had when they left the clinic; he made a difference from the time they walked in to when they walked out. He gave them comfort, hope and reassurance. I chose to be a doctor right from my childhood, and the experiences I had as I grew up strengthened my decision. He and my mother taught me and my brother that it is important to accept people and embrace their differences, and treat them as all one. My parents and grandparents showed me that when you help others, you get a lot of happiness from it. I grew up with some amazing friends who had a positive impact as well. I cherish those memories and believe all this contributed in my decision to become a doctor.
Q: Why did you choose primary care?
A: Primary care is the most critical role in a patient’s health journey. The thing I love about my job is I get to know my patients, build long-term relationships and help them make informed decisions about their health and lives. It gives me an opportunity to focus on the complete individual and be there for all their needs, whether it is for treating acute illness, managing their chronic condition, providing preventive care or just teaching them healthy lifestyles. Family medicine is in harmony with my nature of being thorough, a patient listener and a trusted advocate for my patients.
My greatest reward is when my patient says, “I’m glad you are my doctor.” At the end of the day, I feel content and happy for making a difference in my patients’ lives
Q: What’s it like to have triplets?
A: I really am the luckiest mom ever. They are my little miracles. We wanted them for 10 long years, and we call them our PEAs because of their names – Prisha, Eesha Arush. The last 2 years have been busy and life changing in all the best ways. I enjoy every moment of being a mother. I focus on bringing them up to be happy, healthy, independent individuals and teach them to love and help just like my parents did. It is encouraging to see them share and love each other and be friendly with people around. A happy and content heart brings out the best in a person and spreads a lot of happiness around. Ultimately, what you give to this world comes back to you.
This post is a collaboration with CHI St. Vincent.