Sleep Specialist Lands Dream Job
Among bleary-eyed pediatric residents, sleep was a common topic of discussion, but even more so for Atia Jordan, M.D., ‘09.
“During my rotations, most people thought I was a sleep-deprived resident and just wanted more sleep,” she laughed. “But what I wanted was to dive deeper into sleep and how it impacted our patients. “By delving into different diagnoses, health issues and parental concerns, I found what I loved—sleep,” she said.
Because sleep medicine was not an elective during Jordan’s residency, she worked with her department to create a road map into her specialty.
“The field of sleep medicine is growing, especially in our pediatric population,” she said. “We are discovering just how important sleep is to our children’s health. Specifically, as childhood obesity is gaining more attention, we are seeing an increase in the number of children having problems with sleep apnea and other sleep disorders.
“It can also affect the management of acute and chronic medical illnesses,” she said. “Good sleep goes a long way, and we need to make it a priority along with nutrition and exercise.”
As one of the few board-certified pediatric sleep specialists in the region, Jordan works with a multidisciplinary team to address sleep concerns in an effort to improve the overall health and well-being of patients.
Since joining the Vanderbilt faculty in April 2014 as an assistant professor of Pediatrics, Jordan said she feels as if she has returned home. The Collierville, Tennessee, native received a bachelor’s degree in women’s studies and child development from Vanderbilt before earning her medical degree from VUSM in 2009.
It wasn’t until her residency that Jordan finally left Vanderbilt. “But I came right back for my fellowship in 2012,” she said.
After her fellowship, Jordan went into private practice in Nashville until a sleep medicine position opened up at Vanderbilt.
“I’ve known since I was 5 years old that I wanted to be a pediatrician,” she said. “It wasn’t until my residency that I found sleep. Things work out—it’s all about timing.”