Mayur Patel, MD – Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Mayur Patel’s passion as a lifelong sports fan has translated well into pursuing neurology with a focus on traumatic brain injury. A Texas native, Dr. Patel finds inspiration from his patients, who often travel far for care. When not working or following his favorite teams, he enjoys international travel, and is even working on launching his own travel blog. 

Tell us about your background.

I am a native Texan. I lived there my entire life until my last year of training. I grew up in Garland, which is just outside of Dallas. I did my undergrad at the University of Texas - Dallas. Then I went to medical school at UT - Houston. Afterwards I made the trek a bit north to Austin for neurology residency. I finally left Texas in 2021 to do a one year fellowship in sports neurology and traumatic brain injury (TBI) at the University of Florida. I then came here to Vanderbilt. 

What initially attracted you to medicine, and ultimately neurology? 

I always enjoyed science growing up; it was my favorite subject in school. I always knew I would have some kind of pre-healthcare track. In high school we had the chance to shadow doctors in different specialties–emergency medicine, labor and delivery, etc. That made quite an impression on me as a high school student and solidified my decision to pursue medicine. 

I became interested in neurology during my third year of medical school. I saw the relationship that you build with your patients as a neurologist. It can be very scary for patients to battle neurological conditions. So that, along with the subject matter, made neurology very interesting for me. 

I had also considered going into sports medicine. I was always a huge sports fan growing up. Then I saw that a sports neurology fellowship was an option, so I decided to go that route. Most traumatic brain injuries are not sports-related, and there is a massive patient population dealing with TBI that does not always have access to care. 

Who have been some important mentors or sources of inspiration for you in your career thus far?

Dr. Michael Jaffee was my program director at UF for my fellowship. He was a big mentor for me as he taught me about TBI and how to manage it. (TBI management is not a typical part of neurology residency.) He not only gave advice about how to work with patients, but also career and life advice. 

Dr. Krishna Pokala & Dr. Darshan Shah were two of my biggest mentors during residency. Again, they showed me how to manage the situations I would see with patients, while also providing invaluable life advice. I picked up a lot from them in terms of how they interacted with and examined patients. They really helped show me how to become a neurologist.

How has your experience been so far at Vanderbilt and in Nashville? 

I love Vanderbilt. One of the things I have found most enjoyable is the patient population. Teneessee is very rural. Patients tend to drive a long way to get care. I find that very rewarding because they’re very thankful for their care. We’re able to help people who may not have access, and they are some of the nicest, down to earth people you meet. You feel very good about helping them. They make you happy to come into work. 

I think of Nashville as very similar to Austin. I’ve really enjoyed the greenery, especially since Texas has a lot of flat, bare land. Here you also get to experience all four seasons. I’m really looking forward to fall when the colors change. 

What interests and hobbies do you pursue outside of work? 

Sports are probably my biggest thing. I’m a huge Dallas sports fan since I grew up there. I like staying active too—exercising and hiking outdoors. The hiking here is just amazing. 

Have you discovered any favorite Nashville spots? 

I like the east side a lot. It has a chill vibe to it. The people are easygoing, and the atmosphere is relaxed. 

What are you currently reading/watching/listening to? 

Podcasts are my favorite thing. I’m one of the old holdovers who really enjoys talk radio too. The Bill Simmons Report is probably the podcast I listen to most often. I like to listen to my favorite radio shows of Dallas sports–highlight podcasts and things like that. 

Do you do much traveling?

I go back to Texas fairly often, especially since my family is still in Dallas. My wife and I love to travel. Recently we’ve been to Columbia, Portugal, Spain, and Scandanivia. We try to do as many international trips as possible. 

We recently started our own travel blog with the idea of helping people with planning, itineraries and whatnot.

Have you had any travel destinations that really stand out in your memory? 

One place that was really unique is Tallinn, Estonia, in the Baltic. We took a day trip there via a ferry. It’s one of the coolest cities I think I’ve been to, especially since it was just not on our radar.