How one neonatologist gambled on Vegas and won

June 15, 2017 | by Cheryl Cranick
How one neonatologist gambled on Vegas and won

“I was ambitious and wanted a busy environment,” said Serjun Andaya, MD, remembering back to his first position out of training at Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas with Pediatrix Medical Group of Nevada, a MEDNAX affiliate. “I loved working there,” he said. Andaya was drawn to Sunrise Hospital, with the busiest NICU in the state and patients from all over the region. Sunrise offered this young, up-and-coming physician the opportunity to practice while also gaining leadership experience early in his career as Associate Program Director.


Leaving Las Vegas

In 2015, after four years in Las Vegas, and now newly married, Andaya said the couple was curious about exploring other cities. He had lived in various parts of the United States by that point in his life; the couple decided to give Florida a try. Andaya interviewed with a few MEDNAX-affiliated practices in the Sunshine State, though ultimately accepted a position with a different organization. The couple moved across the country, hoping Miami would suit the next chapter of their married life. “We were wrong,” he said.


Returning to MEDNAX… and Vegas

Andaya soon learned the city and the position were less than he had hoped, and the couple admitted missing what they left behind in Vegas. Andaya also discovered the benefits of his new position lagged far behind those he had at MEDNAX. “There is transparency with MEDNAX,” he said. “Both times that I worked for MEDNAX-affiliated practices, expectations were met.”

After only 11 months in Miami, Andaya and his wife made the move west again, so he could join a MEDNAX-affiliated practice back in Las Vegas. The relocation support MEDNAX offered was a large draw for the couple, as well as the variety of other benefits. “I have a different perspective now because I’ve worked outside the company,” said Andaya. “When you are in training, they don’t teach you about things such as malpractice and tail coverage,” he said. “That’s huge.”


Debunking Vegas myths

Andaya is well aware of Vegas’s negative label, but the couple has been pleased by their decision to return to Las Vegas. “I think a big reason the city doesn’t always seem appealing to outsiders is because they do not believe it is family-friendly, but it is,” he said. “It has changed in the past 15 years.” In fact, Andaya and his wife are not alone in their Vegas location. Andaya’s sister moved to the city with her two children, as have Andaya’s parents. Las Vegas is “good for young and old,” he said.

He also noted the rather consistent climate conditions, with no extreme weather worries experienced in other regions, such as snow or hurricanes. Las Vegas is not the sweltering desert one might assume. There are a few months of high temperatures, he said, but “the rest of the year is beautiful.” Having been raised in Houston, Texas, Andaya enjoys the dry heat.  

From his perspective, Andaya says overall environment of an area “is relative to what you know. It’s all up to the individual.” Andaya and his wife agree Las Vegas brings “big city appeal without the traffic.” It also offers world-class food and entertainment. “We don’t gamble, but we have a blast,” he said.

“When you are younger, you don’t think about where life will take you,” said Andaya, as he looks to the full length of his career. He finds the greatest benefit of MEDNAX is that “you always have your pick of opportunities across the country with this company,” he said. “You have options.”


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neonatologist in las vegas About Dr. Andaya

 Serjun Andaya, MD, completed his medical degree at the American University of the Caribbean  School of Medicine, his residency at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, and his fellowship at the  University of Southern California - LAC+USC Medical Center and Children's Hospital of Los Angeles.  He is board certified in neonatology and pediatrics.