Dr. Sharma completed his medical school training in India and came to the United States in 1995 to an externship at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) which allowed him to complete his medical degree. He completed his residency in internal medicine at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan and stayed an additional year as a chief resident.
For his pulmonary and critical care medicine fellowship, he moved to the East Coast and joined Yale New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut. Always interested in outcomes research, he was fortunate to benefit from good mentoring, which enabled him to hone his skills and ultimately earn a Master’s degree in Public Health at Yale University while completing his fellowship training.
In 2004, he and his wife, along with two small children, decided to return to the Houston area where he joined UTMB’s Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care as an assistant professor. During his tenure at UTMB, he has served as medical director of the MICU/CCU and the Texas Department of Correctional Justice’s Hospital Galveston ICU; he is also the program director for the Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine Fellowship Program. Dr. Sharma is a Sealy and Smith Distinguished Chair in the Department of Internal Medicine and Professor & Director, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine.
In 2014, he was appointed Associate Chief Medical Officer, where his focus was on quality, patient safety and assisting with the transformation to Version 2.0 Medicine—from "fee-for-service" to "value-based care." He was also the physician champion on a regional collaborative effort to reduce readmissions and create model bundle payments for the 16-county “Region 2” under the Texas 1115 Medicaid Transformation Waiver Demonstration Project.
His research interests include health services, quality and outcomes. He received a K-08 Career Development Award from the NIH and serves as co-investigator on PCORI and NIH grants. Dr. Sharma has also received Systems Engineering Grants from the University of Texas System for Health IT integrations and improving the care of patients with COPD. His work on these projects led UTMB to become the first COPD Center of Excellence in Texas as certified by The Joint Commission, a certification which it has maintained since 2015. Nationally, he is involved with the COPD Foundation® in its newly launched PRAXIS® platform, which is used to share best practices to improve care of patients with COPD across the care continuum. His work is published in leading journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of American Medical Association and JAMA Internal Medicine (formerly Archives of Internal Medicine).
In December 2016, he was appointed Vice President & Chief Medical and Clinical Innovation Officer at UTMB Health. In this role, Dr. Sharma led UTMB’s initiative to improve quality and patient safety as measured by Vizient, the largest member-driven, health care performance improvement company in the country. In 2016, UTMB ranked No. 76 out of 107 academic medical centers nationally in the Vizient Quality and Accountability Study. Following the launch of the initiative, UTMB achieved a five-star rating for three consecutive years, ranking No. 9 in 2017, No. 4 in 2018 and No. 9 in 2019. In 2017, he spearheaded a High Value Practicing Organization (HVPO) initiative focused on five stewardship pillars: antibiotics stewardship, lab stewardship, imaging stewardship, blood management and opioids stewardship. The goal of the HVPO program is to reduce unnecessary tests and treatments while teaching concepts of value-based care to healthcare providers.