Honoring Excellence: Q and A with Manogjna Ruth Prasad, MD

February 24, 2023

This interview is one in a series of interviews with recipients of the 2023 ACGME Awards. The awardees join an outstanding group of previous honorees whose work and contributions to graduate medical education (GME) represent the best in the field. They are being honored at the ACGME Annual Educational Conference, taking place this week in Nashville, Tennessee, from February 23-25, 2023.

2023 David C. Leach Awardee Dr. Manogjna Prasad is a resident physician specializing in internal medicine at New York Medical College at Saint Michael’s Medical Centre (SMMC).


ACGME: Why did you want to become a physician?

Dr. Prasad: For me, becoming a physician holds tremendous value, not just because of the opportunity to provide excellent care to patients, but also in being a change agent at every level. Physicians can influence their communities through their knowledge and leadership capabilities and many of them have done wonders in improving health outcomes. It is their impact that drew me to the field of medicine. Like one of my role models, Dr. Jonas Salk, whose research affects the lives of millions today, I also desire to be in a position where my work impacts the lives of many.

I decided to pursue internal medicine because of my strengths, academic interests, and clinical experiences. Among the wide variety of specialties available, I felt that internal medicine is the perfect foundation to develop my capabilities in primary care. It also reflects my core values of being an educator and leader in my community while still allowing me to be involved in complex medical care.

ACGME: What, so far, has been the most rewarding part of your residency?

I consider my exposure and contribution to Advocacy is the most rewarding part of my residency. Specifically, I feel fulfilled by initiating and implementing the following:

  • Encouraging residents to take the Implicit Bias course at the beginning of the year and attend lectures for better understanding of the outpatient population.
  • Bringing back community service with community development lectures (COVID-19, health care disparities, access to care, patients before paperwork, insurance information, women in medicine, public health, etc., as mentioned on the ACP website).
  • Helping residents connect with national organizations that advocate for various causes.

ACGME: What has been the most challenging?

Dr. Prasad: The most challenging part was immediately after I started my residency program in July 2020.

As the world stood petrified by the onslaught of COVID-19, it was baptism by fire for health care workers the world over. As a new resident, I felt like I was hurled into a wildfire that was pitilessly consuming human lives like chaff. Horrified at the increasing death toll every day, I also had to contend with heart-wrenching news about loved ones. I was gripped with feelings of inadequacy and helplessness about how to care for my patients while fearing for my own life and my mother’s, at home.

But I came out stronger, inspired by those unbelievably compassionate doctors who fought courageously and relentlessly for the vulnerable, even if it cost them their lives.

ACGME: What innovation/improvement did you implement in your program?

Dr. Prasad: I organized diversity-related and cultural events. Under “Module for Anti-Bias Training Education” within SMMC, I developed and implemented curriculum on “Educating Residents about Social Determinants of Health.” I also developed e-learning on implicit bias, a peer-reviewed and approved course that increased residents’ willingness to speak openly on sensitive topics such as racism.

Recognizing November as Implicit Bias Self Awareness Month, SMMC is considering making the course a core subject for all concerned.

ACGME: What does it mean to you to receive this award?

Dr. Prasad: To be recognized by the ACGME is highly satisfying and motivating. It encourages me to contribute over and above my brief, wherever I am. It also reminds me that your team’s support is imperative when undertaking such initiatives. Finally, it gave me great pleasure to see my parents’ pride at my accomplishment.

ACGME: What advice would you give to other residents/fellows who are looking to either replicate your improvement or implement an original idea of their own in their own program?

Dr. Prasad: I am not sure if I am qualified to advise my colleagues. But I will share what I thought and did.

  1. Appreciate the wonderful opportunities that residency has to offer. You can do a lot of things if you believe there is lots of time.
  2. Have the courage to be disliked. You are bound to face the “discouragement fraternity.” If you believe that your idea will contribute to the greater good, take the risk and surge forward.
  3. Focus on the work at hand, not the reward. Good work is a reward in itself.


Learn more about the ACGME’s David C. Leach Award and nominate a deserving individual for the 2024 Award – nominations are due by March 15, 2023.