Senior Vice President of Empowerment
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Uma Rana had no idea in 2016 that her father’s neuroendocrine tumor diagnosis would impact her so greatly or that it would lead her to Gryt Health, but it did. Her passion and compassion are evident in every project she is involved with at Gryt Health.
Uma joins the Gryt Health Team from East Windsor, New Jersey, as our Senior Vice President of Empowerment. Her favorite place in the world is Tahiti. She is enchanted by the weather, beaches, people, food, and environment there. Uma is in love with every aspect of Tahiti and has been to all of the Tahitian islands. The next tropical locale that she really would like to experience is the Maldives. Uma has heard that the Maldives has amazing waters, people, and food. She loves that there are numerous islands where you can take water taxis to and fro.
In New Jersey, Uma is surrounded by family and amazing friends who lend her support when she needs it as her father’s caretaker. She recently also got a puppy. Charlie is a 3-month-old Shih Tzu-Yorkshire Terrier mix.
As Senior VP of Empowerment, Uma oversees the execution of projects, implementing various processes, determining the right evaluation metrics, assisting with business development and client management, and building alliances with other organizations, among many other things. Her background in the pharmaceutical industry has been an asset in her short tenure with Gryt Health.
Highly educated, Uma has 3 degrees. She has a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and another in Biology with Pre-Med. She also has a Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in leadership. Uma has had several roles in the pharma industry. She has also been involved with digital health innovation programs. Uma has significant experience leading large organizational projects and initiatives in both the pharma and education sectors before coming to Gryt Health.
Uma loves the Gryt Health atmosphere, people, mission, vision, and involvement with the cancer community. Excited by these things, Uma also connected with the +80% of the Gryt Health team are either cancer survivors or caretakers. She loves how the Gryt Health team comes together with purpose and connects with the communities where they live all while making a difference in society. Uma is genuinely honored to be a part of a company dedicated to such purposeful projects and missions.
In 2016, her father was diagnosed with a Stage IV metastatic neuroendocrine tumor. Before his diagnosis, her father was unable to eat and was continually vomiting. He quickly lost 20-30 pounds. After numerous trips to the emergency room, body imagings performed, and specialist office visits, they ended up consulting a different gastroenterologist. This one happened to also be Uma’s cousin. Uma’s cousin guided them through a process and referred them to a different doctor for a comprehensive assessment.
Eventually, they went in to remove his gallbladder and found a tumor on the head of his pancreas during the surgery. The doctor removed the tumor and confirmed the diagnosis with the pathology results.
Uma found it extremely difficult to cope with the news and knew very little about this type of diagnosis. She had never seen her dad just sitting around. He had always been a very active person. She had to find a neuroendocrine cancer specialist and wasn’t even sure if that was a thing! Uma shared that the time immediately after the diagnosis was immensely emotionally and mentally stressful and exhausting. She was also confused with how this could happen and why the numerous doctors they’d seen before hadn’t caught it.
At the time, Uma left her job for 3 months to take care of her father and has no regrets. She went with him to every office visit, numerous PET, CT, MRI scans, and various surgical consultations. She was with him when he had his surgery and took the morning shift every morning for the 2 weeks he was in the hospital.
Uma shared that it has been challenging to see so many things in her father’s life deteriorating. Loss of energy and appetite. Compromised mobility. She has continued to work with her father to re-frame the situation and make sense of it all. She learned that neuroendocrine tumors are not genetic and that 1 in 1,000,000 people get them. Her father just happened to be that 1. It has been a tough, emotional journey so far, and they work together as a family to stay focused and positive.
Getting to bond with her father all over again has been a gift to Uma during this time. They have spent so much time together going to treatments, getting her dad chocolate milkshakes, visiting parks during breaks in their medical appointments, and spending a lot of one-on-one father-daughter time together.
The only thing that Uma regrets is not taking more time in those first days for self-care. She entirely threw herself 100% into what her father’s needs were that she did not make sure to take care of her own. She wishes that she would have reached out to friends and other family members for more support instead of just trying to deal with it all on her own. She now advocates for others to practice self-care and reach out for support when she talks with others going through a new diagnosis.
In not taking care of herself, Uma started experiencing many anxieties and emotional issues that she is now working on healing.
Uma’s dad is currently on hospice, and she says it’s difficult to watch him this way, but she honors his strength and is in wonder of how great of a father he has been and is. She shares that Gryt Health entered her life at precisely the right time. Uma is so grateful to work with amazing people who are survivors and caretakers. Uma truly believes in what Gryt Health is putting out into the world and is humbled to be a part of such an amazing journey. She often feels that she needs Gryt Health more than Gryt Health needs her.
The driving force behind Uma’s voice is equality, courage, and strength. Uma wants fairness when it comes to people’s care and well-being. True equality for everyone in healthcare. Simple, yet powerful.
Uma is a certified restorative yoga instructor. In addition to yoga, Uma enjoys being active and working out. She practices pilates and takes a lot of long walks. She loves exploring different wineries throughout her area and just relaxing with friends and family.