Returning to Practice in His Hometown Gives this Pediatric Cardiologist all the Feels

  • February 27, 2020

When Andrew Dodgen was growing up in Columbus, he never thought of the area as “underserved.” But since returning to his hometown with his wife and two young children to work with Sibley Heart Center Cardiology, he has realized that, at least in terms of pediatric specialty services, the area is in desperate need. He is currently the only pediatric cardiologist in Columbus.

Dr. Dodgen was born in Macon and raised in Columbus since the age of 3. He met his wife at LaGrange College, and they went to medical school together at Mercer University, both choosing to become pediatricians.

“We always had the goal to get back home to Georgia, not only to be close to family, but to live out the Mercer mission of providing primary care and specialty services for underserved populations in the state,” Dr. Dodgen said. “Though we have had the opportunity work at amazing hospitals with incredible people, we always hoped to take advantage of any openings at Sibley. In July, we got one, and it’s everything we hoped for and more.”

Dr. Dodgen spends the bulk of his time in outpatient pediatric cardiology clinic with an emphasis on congenital heart disease and general pediatric cardiology. He has a special interest in pediatric hypertension management and fetal cardiology, offering specialized clinics dedicated to each.  In addition, he spends up to 10 hours of his workweek at Piedmont Midtown Medical Center doing consults and reading echocardiograms.

It is essential for critically ill patients, particularly newborns, to have ready access to pediatric cardiology services and a streamlined way to get them to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Egleston when their condition demands more specialized care,” Dr. Dodgen said. “Sibley Heart Center Cardiology has provided this service in Columbus for a long time and I am so glad that I can continue to provide this service in my hometown.”

“What is most striking to me about Sibley is that, as a satellite clinic, we may be far removed from Atlanta, but it doesn’t feel that way,” Dr. Dodgen said. “There is exceptional communication and teamwork, not only among cardiologists but other sub-specialists, and there is such a willingness to help. It’s been reassuring to families to know just how easily we can access additional services offered by Sibley, often getting any necessary information while they are still in our office.”

That teamwork is exceptional not only statewide, but in Columbus with Dr. Dodgen’s office staff. He says the excellent patient care they provide in Columbus is a direct reflection of how his team works together.

“I couldn’t do what I do without them,” Dr. Dodgen said. “Every element they provide is essential to the care of each individual patient. I wouldn’t trade any of them for anything. They are also good to me personally. They welcomed me as a new provider, and they look out for me. When the relationships with your team are good, the work is easy.”

 

Dr. Dodgen said it’s been interesting to return to the place he grew up to care for the next generation of children. He says that practicing alongside the physicians who cared for him and his brothers when they were growing up is amazing and in addition, he is now working with the same pediatric cardiologists who inspired him to pursue his career when he was a medical student.

“Pretty much every day, I meet someone who knows me from another context,” Dr. Dodgen said. “That level of familiarity, after having been away for so long, cemented for me that I made the right choice in coming back here. I walked in and immediately felt that the city and my patients were welcoming me. While I’ve enjoyed all the places that I’ve practiced previously, there truly is no place like home.” 

Dr. Andrew Dodgen

  • Emory Title:  Assistant Professor of Pediatrics

 Education

  • Medical school: Mercer University School of Medicine
  • Residency: Arkansas Children’s Hospital
  • Fellowship: Duke University Medical Center

Bio sketch

Dr. Dodgen is from the town of Columbus, GA. He is a graduate of Columbus High School and received his undergraduate degree in Biochemsitry from LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga. He then attended medical school at Mercer University School of Medicine and went on to complete his pediatric residency training at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, Ark. Following his residency training he went on to complete his fellowship in pediatric cardiology at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. Most recently, Dr. Dodgen served as an assistant professor of pediatrics and program director for the pediatric cardiology fellowship at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio.

Dr. Dodgen cares for children with congenital and acquired forms of heart disease. He also has a special interest in fetal cardiology. In addition, he is passionate about medical education and has worked regularly with medical students, residents and fellows as part of his practice. This has resulted in his receipt of several teaching awards, including the annual teacher of the year award at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. He is proud to be serving the people of Georgia and to be working in his hometown of Columbus. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his wife, Amber, and their two boys, AJ and Amos. He also enjoys traveling, woodworking and participating in medical mission trips with his church.

Areas of focus

  • Congenital Heart Disease
  • Fetal Cardiology
  • Inherited cardiovascular disease
  • Medical Education 

Clinical interests

  • Fetal Cardiology
  • Cardiomyopathies
  • Congenital Heart Disease

Research interests

  • Quality improvement
  • Medical Education

Professional affiliations

  • American Academy of Pediatrics