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Dr. Ambika finds new home in Ridgecrest

Ridgecrest Regional Hospital–

When Indian-born, multi-lingual Dr. Minu Ambika Rajendran completed her residency for internal medicine at Saint Barnabas Hospital in New York, she began looking for a close-knit community where she could practice medicine and still spend time with her family. She found it here, where she has been serving as a specialist in internal medicine at the Ridgecrest Regional Hospital Adult Rural Health Clinic for the last five months.

“It has definitely been a big change, moving here from New York,” she said. “But I grew up in a very small village, so it’s not completely new to me.”

Dr. Minu Ambika

Dr. Ambika attended Mysore Medical College and Research Institute. “After medical school, I was doing house calls in my neighborhood, which is very far from any major healthcare center. So this is the kind of community I want to be in.”

Many physicians who come to practice in Ridgecrest experience a culture shock in the limited social and economic opportunities here.

“I like being able to get to know people. I like having the time to develop a rapport with my patients — and I think that’s important to them, too,” she said.

“One of the patients, knowing I speak Indian, asked what language I spoke and brought me a magazine. I think it was a very sweet and welcoming gesture, and I was happy to know that we had made a positive connection.”

In her practice, Dr. Ambika said she wants to focus on quality over quantity. “One thing I am focusing on is getting a comprehensive picture. It takes a long time at first, but I think it’s important to develop a full understanding of the patient.” She noted that patients count on their primary-care provider to evaluate not only what happened in a clinic visit but a thorough understanding of their medical history and any potential visits to urgent care or emergency department clinicians.

Dr. Ambika also takes time to talk with her patients about preventive care — activity, diet, and other aspects of a healthy lifestyle can keep people from some kinds of illness.

“I am also working on educating myself on things like food-as-medicine, which I think will help my patients,” she said.

Outside of the clinic, Dr. Ambika has purchased a home with her husband and their two-year-old son. “Having a real home and a backyard was a nice upgrade from our little apartment in New York.”

Her husband works remotely for a company in Long Beach.

Dr. Ambika enjoys music, reading and baking — although she has not yet had much time for that since relocating. She and her husband also love hiking, although they have not explored the region as much as they hope to.

In addition to speaking fluent English, Dr. Ambika also speaks Malayalam, Kannada, Hindi, Tamil and some Spanish.

“We are so fortunate in being able to bring Dr. Ambika and her family to Ridgecrest Regional Hospital,” said CEO Jim Suver. “Recruitment and retention remain ongoing efforts for us, and it’s always encouraging when we find physicians who offer high-quality care for our patients as well as an appreciation of our unique location.”