Sunitha Vungarala Joins the MVA as Clinical/Translational Research Coordinator

Sunitha Vungarala Joins the MVA as Clinical/Translational Research Coordinator

We’re pleased to welcome Sunitha Vungarala, MBBS, PGDCC, to the Meharry Vanderbilt Alliance (MVA). Dr. Vungarala joins the MVA as a Clinical/Translational Research Coordinator, focusing primarily on coordination of population health science, community-engagement, and outcomes research conducted within the Meharry-Vanderbilt-Tennessee State University Cancer Partnership (MVTCP).


In her college years, Dr. Vungarala resolved to use her medical training for a greater cause—and that’s exactly what she did.

“My passion towards patient care and patient outcomes led me to get a medical degree and become a physician,” she explained.  

After receiving a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery Degree from Rajiv Gandhi University, India, in 2005, she went on to earn a Post Graduate Diploma in Clinical Cardiology from Indira Gandhi University in 2012.

Community engaged research

“Very early on I was exposed to diverse populations and disparities in healthcare,” she said.  “I soon realized through research, these disparities can be removed from the communities for better patient outcomes.”

During her undergraduate studies, Dr. Vungarala worked with an ophthalmologist at the R L Jalapa Hospital and Research Center to screen elderly patients for cataracts and refer them for treatment and follow up. As a postgraduate, she volunteered at a health screening camp in Hyderabad, India, developing and conducting assessments of those living without access to regular healthcare, checking for hypertension, diabetes, and other diseases.  

“I get immense satisfaction in helping people to improve health and wellbeing,” she said. “I see research as an opportunity to contribute to better patient outcomes.”

That passion for creating access to healthcare through research ultimately brought her to the MVA.

“I see it as an opportunity to grow both individually as well as professionally,” she said. “I want to be a part of the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance for a greater cause.”

About the Meharry-Vanderbilt Alliance

Founded in 1999, the MVA bridges the institutions of Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Its mission is to enrich learning and advance clinical research in three primary areas—community engagement, interprofessional education and research—by developing and supporting mutually beneficial partnerships between Meharry Medical College, Vanderbilt University Medical Center and the communities they serve. Through community engagement, the MVA serves a large community of stakeholders including surrounding universities and colleges, community organizations, faith-based outlets and community health centers. Its interprofessional education enhances students' interdisciplinary understanding and improves patient outcomes through integrated care. The research conducted provides access to experienced grant writers and materials supporting the grant application process and facilitates grant-writing workshops.