dr-bananas At Phenix City Children’s, we consider it a privilege to be a trusted partner in the care and development of your child. We are committed to providing skilled and compassionate care from your baby’s birth to college graduation. It is our joy to work with new parents, sharing both the excitement and stresses of the parenting journey. You will see the same doctor consistently, allowing us to provide care that is as unique and special as your child. We will grow together as a team to ensure your child enjoys the best health possible.

Phenix City Children’s is more than just another practice. We are a family. Patients come first. No matter what other goals we have, serving patients and helping them is our very highest priority. We intend to serve children and their families regardless of economic and social status. We do this always while being respectful and caring of you and your family. It is our intent to make a difference in your child’s overall health and wellbeing, as we also strive to make a difference in the community in which we serve.

Ritu Chandra, M.D.

Dr. Chandra is the founder of the group. In 2007 she started Phenix City Children’s in Phenix City, AL. She also founded Fort Mitchell Clinic in January of 2012.

Dr. Chandra grew up in India, her father being a senior officer in the Indian Army and her mother a homemaker and national level swimmer. She went to medical school at one of the top five medical schools in India and graduated as a medical doctor at the age of 21 years. She was simultaneously commissioned as a medical officer in the Indian army. In 1993, she was awarded the Chief of Army Staff Commendation, which goes to a handful of men and women in uniform.

Dr. Chandra completed her residency in pediatrics at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis and at Nassau University Medical Center in Long Island, New York. She is board-certified in pediatrics, and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

In addition to her pediatric practice, Dr. Chandra is an assistant clinical professor at Mercer University School of Medicine and Georgia Health Sciences University. She is also faculty for training Physician Assistant students from University of Alabama in Birmingham and from University of South Alabama in Mobile. She has hospital privileges at the The Midtown Medical Center in Columbus and at the Jack Hughston Memorial Hospital in Phenix City.

Her special areas of interest are in newborn care, asthma, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, anxiety and school related problems. Besides her role as a pediatrician, she is an advocate for the children in our community and she stays actively involved with the Phenix City schools, Russell county schools and Smith Station schools. Dr. Chandra is also involved in advocacy for children’s health issues at the state level. She is an active clinical researcher and has been a principal investigator for pediatric research studies.

Awards and Recognitions: In 2012, the Phenix City Education Foundation presented Dr. Chandra with a “Special Recognition Award” for her contributions towards the children in the Phenix City Schools. In 2012 and 2013, she received the Reader’s Choice Award by the Columbus Ledger Enquirer. The Chamber of Commerce recognized her with the ‘Small Business of the Year Award” in 2009. She has also been recognized for her contribution by the Phenix City Headstart. In 2012, sFort Mitchell Clinic was recognized as a bronze sponsor by MWR for providing outstanding support to soldiers and their families. She has been formally recognized as a Partner in Education with Lakewood Primary School, Lakewood Elementary School, Mount Olive Primary School and Mount Olive Intermediate School for 2013-2014.

Dr Chandra is very committed to community pediatrics; in 2012 she was awarded the prestigious CATCH grant by the American Academy of Pediatrics to research barriers that keep children from having a pediatric medical home. She is also the recipient of several scholarships from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

For the last 4 years Dr. Chandra has served on the Health Advisory Committee of the Phenix City Headstart and she serves on the Board of Care Network of East Alabama. She is also the chair of the Nominating Committee of the Alabama Chapter of American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dr. Chandra’s personal interests include traveling, cooking, ballroom dancing, roller skating, sailing, white-water rafting and hiking. She was part of a Round-the-World Sailing expedition,
sailing on a 32-foot yacht. She lives in Phenix City with her husband and her three-year old daughter.

Shilpa Vernekar, M.D.

Dr. Vernekar says the ability to care for patients during the purest and most innocent stage of their lives puts a smile on her face every day.

“Unlike adult patients, children cannot tell you where they hurt or why; the doctor must interpret their screams and sighs with an observant eye and a careful ear,” she says. “This challenge is why I became a pediatrician.”

Dr. Vernekar joined Phenix City Children’s in November of 2011. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a board-certified pediatrician. Her special areas of interest include weight management and nutrition. She works as an assistant professor at the Mercer University School of Medicine and Georgia Health Sciences University. Dr. Vernekar has full hospital privileges in the Columbus Regional Healthcare System.

Dr. Vernekar completed her medical schooling at Seth G.S.Medical College and K.E.M. Hospital in Mumbai, India, and graduated as one of the top 50 medical students in the state of Maharashtra. After moving to the United States, she completed an internship and residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in New York. In 2008, she was named as intern of the year for excelling in six benchmark areas, including patient care, medical knowledge, professionalism and interpersonal skills and communication. She also performed research studies at John Hopkins Hospital in the pediatric neurology department.

In addition to her love for children, she enjoys reading, cooking and spending time with family, including her husband and daughter, Geet.

Dr. Jennifer Rumph was born and raised in Middle Georgia in an air-force community known as Warner Robins. She has always had a heart for children. She babysat as a teenager and spent a lot of time around children through her church and various extracurricular activities. Dr. Rumph wanted to give back to the community by becoming a primary care doctor for this young and very special population.

Dr. Rumph attended medical school at the historic and prestigious Howard University College of Medicine in Washington D.C.. She completed her internship and residency at Our Lady of the Lake Pediatric Residency Program in Baton Rouge, LA, and then moved to Phenix City, AL and joined Phenix City Children’s in 2013.

Her interests include pediatric oral health, pediatric infectious disease, neonatal and newborn care, and NICU graduate care. She especially enjoys following her patients from birth to age 18 and seeing how they grow and change along the way.

Outside of pediatrics, Dr. Rumph has a special kindness and compassion for animals. She grew up around animals and developed a love for them at an early age. She now fosters pets without homes in every city where she lives. Additionally, Dr. Rumph enjoys and excels at basketball, tennis, and dancing – especially Dance Central. She plans to marry the love of her life in October 2014 and is looking forward to officially gaining two step-children as well as a husband.

Dr. DeRamus joined Preferred Medical Group in February 2013 as a child psychologist at the Phenix City Children’s office. Since she was a teenager, she has known that she wanted to work with children.

While she enjoys working with all children and adolescents, her special areas of interest include autism spectrum disorders and anxiety.

Dr. DeRamus earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of South Alabama and her Master of Arts and Ph.D. in clinical child psychology from the University of Alabama. She completed a predoctoral internship at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, NC. She was named the Outstanding Psychology intern for 2007-2008.

Following her internship, she completed fellowships with the TEACCH Autism Program at the University of North Carolina and the University of Alabama Autism Spectrum Disorders Clinic.

When she is not practicing psychology, Dr. DeRamus enjoys spending time with her family, watching football, reading, and watching movies. She has traveled across the U.S. and Canada as well as to Jamaica and Trinidad.

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