Brinda Mehta | 37
Pediatric hematologist and oncologist, OSF Children’s Hospital of Illinois; Assistant professor of clinical pediatrics, University of Illinois College of Medicine (UICOMP) at Peoria
Dr. Mehta provides care to children with blood and cancer disorders at the St. Jude Midwest Affiliate as well as the in-patient unit of the Children’s Hospital of Illinois. She also is director of the Cancers Survivorship Clinic. Her duties include teaching trainees, conducting research to advance medical care, performing faculty evaluations and participating on the UICOMP search committee for new providers.
Since taking over the leadership of the pediatric hematology and oncology unit – one of the largest and most comprehensive in the nation — two years ago, she has helped lead the program through the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring that vulnerable patients and their families remain safe and that staff remain resilient. She also started the Transition Off Therapy (TOT) program to help patients coming off active oncology treatment reintegrate into primary care and the community.
Meanwhile, she also has involved herself philanthropically, working with local government and other motivated individuals to benefit underserved members of the community. She is a board member of the Indo-American Society of Peoria (IASP) and the Asian Indian Community Colaboration of Peoria (AICCP). She helped chair a fundraising event – IASP’s “Diwali Gala,” or festival of lights – that generated $30,000 for St. Jude’s Children Hospital, and worked with India Fest to raise money for the Central Illinois Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired. She has supported Ronald McDonald House, Easterseals of Central Illinois, and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Dr. Mehta is a founding member of the Women’s Fund of Central Illinois through the Community Foundation. She has given back to her medical school in India. Finally, she is a commissioner on Peoria Mayor Rita Ali’s Joint Commission on Racial Equity and Justice.
Her biggest challenge? ‘Learning to delegate certain tasks rather than trying to do everything by myself.’
Childhood ambition: “Social worker and event manager.”
Advice to 20-year-old self: “Live life more and have more experiences other than the library and taking multiple tests for medical school.”
Hobbies: “Love to dance to Bollywood music and swim.”
Biggest challenge: “Learning to delegate certain tasks rather than trying to do everything by myself at work.”
Social issues: “Gun violence, people denying environmental issues like global warming, and false information being spread against certain vaccine-preventable childhood illnesses.”
Local inspiration: “Dr. Kamlesh Macwan, who is a NICU physician at OSF and a wonderful member of the Indian community who does a lot of philanthropy work … He has really helped me bring more meaning to my life here and help give back to the community outside of my daily hospital and clinic work.”
Peoria needs: “Other than more periods of warm weather … I would like to bring more tourism-related activities to draw more people to the area.”