“It was a great experience for a college kid whose mother would have never let him have a motorcycle in the States,” he said.
That experience helped cement his decision to pursue a career in medicine, where he could impact health outcomes, rather than just measure them.
“I liked working with kids and resources for children tend to lag compared to those for adults,” Dr. Bodas said. “Because children are often underserved, pediatrics is not that different from public health.”
He found the rigorous scientific study of pediatric hematology-oncology to be especially satisfying, and also an area where he could make a big impact on his patients’ lives.
Five years ago, after completing a fellowship in pediatric hematology-oncology at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, he joined Akron Children’s.
“Working in a free-standing children’s hospital was important to me,” he said. “The care and concern our staff members have for patients is palpable.”
He was also impressed by Akron Children’s level of care and our close collaboration with other pediatric centers such as Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
“Coming from larger cities such as Cleveland and Boston, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but Akron Children’s is very well positioned and has done more bone marrow transplants for sickle cell disease than any other pediatric hospital in the region,” Dr. Bodas said.
His interest in bone marrow transplants and sickle cell disease grew during his fellowship training, and he currently serves as the director of Akron Children’s sickle cell program.
“By the time patients come to us after being seen in the emergency department or their pediatrician’s office to determine what’s wrong, they are very sick and their families are scared and worried,” Dr. Bodas said. “It’s very rewarding to help them with these devastating illnesses and watch our patients thrive.”
Often former patients send him letters from college, which he finds particularly gratifying.
“Of course, losing patients is always hard, but I can’t imagine doing anything else,” he said.
Dr. Bodas and his wife Alina live in Moreland Hills with their son Rami, age 7, and daughter Nina, age 4.
In his spare time, he enjoys reading, traveling, cooking and spending time outdoors. He used to rock climb but has traded that hobby for hiking with his family.
Despite his love of the outdoors, his co-workers were surprised when he recently went camping on the beach at St. John, with wild donkeys roaming nearby.
“Maybe because I wear a tie every day, they didn’t expect me to enjoy camping,” he said. “It was very primitive – definitely not glamping.”