Wanda Castro, M.D., uses nurturing approach with patients.
University of Connecticut Health Center neurologist Wanda Castro, M.D. prides herself on establishing trusting relationships with her patients.
“I try to make my patients feel comfortable,” says Castro, who resides in Middletown. “I’m here to listen; they can tell me anything. I make it a point to try to improve their quality of life and work on symptom management.”
Positive feedback of Castro’s philosophy is evident in Glastonbury resident John Bodnar’s endorsement, one he is eager to deliver.
“I started seeing Dr. Castro two months ago and I wish I had seen her from the beginning,” says Bodnar, who was diagnosed with MS in 2005. “She emphasizes a positive attitude because this disease can be very ugly and very painful. She listens, she cares and she takes her time.”
Left to right: Annette Gordon, R.N., John Bodnar, Glastonbury; Wanda Castro, M.D.
Castro’s nurturing approach is essential when she tells her patients about her sub-specialty. Castro has specialized expertise in sexual dysfunction associated with MS, a subject she treats with great care.
“I approach the less sensitive issues first,” says Castro, a native of Puerto Rico. “Obviously we don’t want people with MS to drink or smoke; now let’s see what we can do about sex.”
Castro stresses sexual dysfunction is quite natural, and not just in people with MS.
“Most patients deny their depression in dealing with their MS and sexual dysfunction because of the stigma,” she says, “but it’s important for them to know that it can happen to anyone, not just people with MS.”
Castro, who is fluent in Spanish, received her medical degree from the Universidad Central del Caribe School of Medicine in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. Castro decided on a residency focused on multiple sclerosis because her twin sister has uveitis, an eye-inflammation which is common in people with MS. Although her sister has never been diagnosed with MS, when Castro heard this, she decided she wanted to learn more about the disease.
“When I heard uveitis was common in people with MS, I wanted to figure out what exactly MS was,” says Castro, who lives in Middletown with her husband Tony. “I wanted to be ahead of the disease, so if she ever was diagnosed I could treat her, and hopefully cure her.”
Castro completed her residency training at the University of Connecticut Health Center, including her final year as administrative neurology chief resident. She went on to become one of only three neurologists to receive a fellowship sponsored by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society in 2007 at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. While there, she learned under the guidance of Elliot Frohman, M.D., Ph.D., holder of the Kenney Marie Dixon-Pickens Distinguished Professorship in Multiple Sclerosis Research and the Irene Wadel and Robert Atha Distinguished Chair in Neurology and Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Program in the Department of Neurology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, as well asphysiatrist Anjali Shah, M.D. Castro worked exclusively on multiple sclerosis and was also involved in several research projects.
After completing her fellowship, Castro returned this past September to the UConn Health Center because, as she puts it, “it feels like home.” In the near future, Castro hopes to establish a comprehensive MS center at the University of Connecticut Health Center.
More than 6,000 Connecticut residents, like Bodnar, live with multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease affecting the central nervous system. Symptoms can include, among other things, numbness and tingling in the extremities, difficulties with vision and speech, stiffness in the limbs, and in extreme cases, complete paralysis. There currently is no cure for multiple sclerosis.
For more information on the University of Connecticut Health Center, please visit www.uchc.edu. To learn more about multiple sclerosis, the National MS Society, Connecticut Chapter, and the many programs and services provided to those the chapter serves, please visit www.ctfightsMS.org.