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New faculty: Jordan studies sleep disorders in children

Oct. 8, 2014, 9:12 AM

Atia Jordan, assistant professor of clinical pediatrics (John Russell/Vanderbilt)
Atia Jordan, assistant professor of clinical pediatrics (John Russell/Vanderbilt)

Atia Jordan loves sleep.

As a bleary-eyed pediatric resident, sleep was a common topic of discussion, but it was more intense for Jordan. “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.

“As I kept wondering about all this and 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 years, 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.”

Research shows that sleep affects children’s growth and development, behavior and learning abilities. “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, Jordan said she feels as if she has returned home.

The Collierville, Tennessee, native attended Vanderbilt as an undergrad, receiving a bachelor’s degree in women’s studies and child development. She graduated from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 2009.

It wasn’t until she had to decide where to complete her residency that Jordan finally moved away from Vanderbilt. “But I came right back to Vanderbilt for my fellowship in 2012,” she said.

After completing her fellowship, Jordan went into private practice in the Nashville area. It wasn’t long before a sleep medicine position opened up at the university.

“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.”

View the complete list of new university faculty for 2014-15.

View the complete list of new medical faculty for 2014.

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