J. Usha Raj, MD
Recipient of the Anjuli S. Nayak, MD, Endowed Professorship in Pediatrics

Anjuli S. Nayak, MD, Res ’81, is an associate professor in the department of pediatrics at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago. She and her husband, Nicholas A. Nayak, MD, are the founders of Sneeze, Wheeze, and Itch Associates, a private practice and research center in Normal, Illinois.

She received her early schooling and medical degree in India. After her pediatrics residency at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria and the Jersey City Medical Center in New Jersey, she completed a fellowship in allergy and clinical immunology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.
Dr. Nayak has been a principal investigator of multiple clinical trials in drug development, and her publications and articles have exceeded 500 in peer-reviewed journals. In recognition of her work, she received the Outstanding Clinical, Technological, and Scholarly Achievement Award applied to medical research by the faculty for the University of Illinois in 2000-2001 and in 2007-2008.

Dr. Nayak has served on multiple sub-specialty committees and as a sections chair for the college and the American College of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology. She was awarded the Women in Allergy award in 2011 by the American College of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology; and recently was honored with the President’s Humanitarian award by the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology for her work in India, including her care of orphans and establishment of a hospital and the Anjuli S. Nayak Nursing School. She also started the first accredited training program in allergy and immunology at Christina Medical College in Vellore, India. For her community involvement, Dr. Nayak was the nominee for the Young Women’s Christian Association’s Woman of Distinction award on two occasions.

The Nayaks’ support of the College of Medicine includes the establishment of the Nayak Family Foundation Endowed Research Lecture Series in Evidence-Based and Clinical Translational Medicine. The series brings nationally and internationally renowned speakers to campus several times each year to address students regarding current issues and trends in evidence-based and clinical translational medicine and research.
The Nayaks are the parents of three sons: David Nayak, MD, MPH; Zachary Nayak, MD; and Luke Nayak, MD. David and Zachary are alumni of the University of Illinois, College of Medicine at Chicago.

Dr. Nayak is a survivor of acute lymphoblastic leukemia with a stem cell transplant. She now lives a life to glorify the great physician, who gave her a new birth, a new vision, and a renewed purpose for life.

A nationally and internationally renowned neonatologist and clinician/investigator, J. Usha Raj, MD, is a professor and head of the department of pediatrics at the University of Illinois College of Medicine and physician-in-chief at the Children’s Hospital University of Illinois.

Dr. Raj graduated from the Seth G.S. Medical College, University of Bombay, in India. She completed a clinical fellowship in neonatology at Tulane University and a research fellowship at the Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of California San Francisco. She was a faculty member of the UCSF department of pediatrics before becoming a tenured full professor at University of California Los Angeles in 1994.

Dr. Raj has implemented many forms of clinical excellence at CHUI since she was recruited in 2008 from UCLA. General pediatricians and specialists under her leadership provide a variety of resources for community and statewide physicians, schools, and alumni.

Her research program in pulmonary vascular biology has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health for almost three decades. Dr. Raj advocates for children through her membership in the Association of Medical School Pediatric Department Chairs, and she has been a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics since 1981. She was elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation in 1994 and to the American Pediatric Society in 1996. She is an elected member of the Executive Council of the American Physiological Society. She has served twice as a regular member of NIH Study Sections, where she has participated in many review panels and workshops.

Dr. Raj is actively involved with mentoring on many levels, having trained nearly 30 fellows and facilitated numerous internships with high school and college students. A goal throughout her career has been to increase the number of pediatricians who conduct academic research. She is chair of the College of Medicine’s Faculty Academic Advancement Committee (FAAC), which promotes diversity at its four campuses.

Her contributions to the literature of the field include nearly 150 original articles and chapters. Dr. Raj continues to make invited presentations at conferences and scientific meetings worldwide. Her honors include the American Thoracic Society Recognition Award for Scientific Accomplishments and selection for the U.S. News & World Report’s Top Doctors list.