Vandana Khungar, MD, MSc, is a hepatologist and gastroenterologist who specializes in chronic liver diseases and liver transplant.
She became interested in hepatology when she saw the profound impact that liver disease has on patients’ lives and the lives of their loved ones. The best part of her job, she says, is seeing patients who are very ill make amazing turnarounds in their health.
“Whether it’s a transplant or medical treatment of their condition, I enjoy seeing people obtain a second chance,” Dr. Khungar says. “Liver physiology is fascinating and complex and I’m happy to educate patients about liver disease.”
She is the associate medical director of liver transplant and the medical director of Outpatient Transplant Hepatology and Transplant Hepatology Outreach at Yale New Haven Transplantation Center. “There is a lot of stigma surrounding liver disease and disparities in care. Many people might not be aware of our services, and I want to build a bridge between the community and Yale,” says Dr. Khungar, who has long had a passion for helping underserved and vulnerable populations and ensuring access to medical care.
Dr. Khungar’s research interests include implementation science, quality improvement, behavioral economics, digital health, and medical technology with a particular focus on reducing readmissions, and promoting healthy behaviors in patients and providers. She has served on national committees for the American Association for the Study of Liver Disease, the American Gastroenterological Association, and the United Network for Organ Sharing. She helped to write national guidelines for reproductive health in liver disease.
“I emphasize patient-centered care and shared decision-making. I have as much to learn from patients as they do from me,” she says. “My goal is to listen to what they want, and not to tell them what they should do. I want to hear them, tell them what is available to them, and make decisions together.”
Dr. Khungar’s overarching goal is to meet patients and their families where they are at emotionally and to tailor their medical care to their lives, in a compassionate environment.