Sarulatha Narasimhan, DNP

Cardiology Nurse Practitioner Guides Patients to Heart Health

“Lifestyle changes can play a large role in managing cardiac issues such as hypertension.”

Sarulatha Narasimhan is on a mission to educate patients about heart health. As a cardiology nurse practitioner, she makes it a priority to help her patients understand their disease and how to manage it. That includes lifestyle recommendations, medication, and other interventions.

She brings decades of experience in cardiology in the hospital setting, caring for patients undergoing cardiac surgery, heart transplants, lung transplants, and those in critical care. She also spent a year as teaching faculty, instructing the next generation of nurses. For her specialty as a nurse practitioner, Sarulatha chose gerontology, the study of aging. “Most of cardiac care is needed as we age,” she explained. “I wanted to be able to learn more about the patients I’m helping.”

At Vanguard, her goal is to keep cardiac patients out of the hospital. “I’m on the clinical side that is more preventive care and disease management,” she said. “I really enjoy the chance to form long-term relationships with my patients that aren’t possible in a hospital setting.”

Sarulatha’s patients say they like her clear and simple explanations, and that she takes the time to listen. “I can tell that I put them at ease,” she said. “Often when patients are anxious, their blood pressure readings are high, but once they are more comfortable, I actually see the drop in their blood pressure.”

When she’s not working, Sarulatha enjoys traveling and is an avid photographer. She takes time each day to meditate and practice yoga.

Joan Mariyampillai, MD (Retired)

Internist Takes Personalized Approach to Adult Primary Care

“Whether it’s counseling on preventive care or treating acute and chronic illness, I get a lot of satisfaction from helping my patients.”

Learning has always been a priority for Dr. Joan Mariyampillai. Having completed higher secondary education in her native Sri Lanka, she went on to study medicine in India at the University of Madras, Stanley Medical College. Her perseverance and hard work earned her a nomination by the Ministry of External Affairs of the Central Government of India to pursue a career in medicine.

Dr. Mariyampillai is an internist, a primary care physician who cares for patients who are 18 years old and older. Internists differ from family physicians in that they do not offer pediatric or gynecology services but are specially trained in adult diseases and disorders. As a primary care physician, Dr. Mariyampillai treats acute and chronic illness and helps her patients stay healthy through preventive care.

She follows guidelines for preventive screenings and recommends tests as age-appropriate. Also, patients who require genetic counseling and oncological workups are referred accordingly. “If patients have a family history, I may recommend an age-appropriate screening earlier,” she noted. “Patients are individuals, and it’s important to offer individualized care.”

Dr. Mariyampillai has lived and practiced medicine in the U.S. since 1995. She brings broad and varied experience to Vanguard, including three years of work in tropical medicine in West Africa and additional experience in occupational medicine in New Jersey. She has treated generations of families in the Verona area. Her patients say they enjoy her compassionate, caring approach and diligent follow-up.

When she’s not working, Dr. Mariyampillai enjoys traveling, reading, gardening and listening to music. She and her husband, Marcarious, have three grown children.

Manish V. Bhalodia, MD, FACC

VMG Cardiologist Helps Patients Improve Quality of Life

“I’m an advocate for a healthy lifestyle in the treatment of heart disease. Diet, sleep and exercise are part of the regimen.”

From vegetarian cooking to practicing mindfulness, Dr. Manish Bhalodia tries lifestyle changes that he subsequently suggests to his patients. “I try it first, because if I can’t do it or it’s not effective, then it doesn’t make sense to tell my patients about it.”

It’s a hands-on approach that Dr. Bhalodia finds helpful in inspiring change. “Lifestyle goes hand in hand with cardiology,” he says. “Healthy habits can reduce the need for more invasive and/or expensive treatments.”

Dr. Bhalodia treats such issues as congestive heart failure, atrial fibrillation, valvular heart disease, heart attack, coronary artery disease and syncope (fainting). Patients enjoy the comfortable atmosphere and the nonintimidating conversations he creates. He wants patients to be able to talk frankly about their concerns. “Sometimes that includes stresses in their lives that may be impacting their health,” he says.

He joined Vanguard to be part of a groundbreaking movement in value-based care. “I feel there is a lot to be gained by the synergy between a cardiologist and primary care physicians,” he notes. “Ultimately, it benefits the patient to have well-coordinated care.”

Helping others has been a focus of Dr. Bhalodia’s since he was in middle school, when he first envisioned his future career. The idea of alleviating human suffering was quite powerful to him, even at that young age. Due to his strong conviction about access to quality health care, he chose to forgo joining his father’s thriving accounting practice in favor of becoming a physician.

“During residency, cardiology was one of the toughest branches to understand and get selected for a fellowship,” he says. “To me, it was the most satisfying and gratifying feeling to be able to make a meaningful difference in a person’s quality of life. You can help save somebody from the brink of a catastrophic situation.”

When he is not working, Dr. Bhalodia enjoys reading, practicing yoga, and playing tennis, table tennis and cricket. He also enjoys traveling and exploring different cultures with his wife and twin sons.