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College of Medicine Inducts Inaugural Class of Academy of Master Educators

Dr. Mukta Panda

The University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Medicine has inducted its inaugural class to the Academy of Master Educators. The academy recognizes and celebrates contributions to education by dedicated physicians and other medical educators.

The academy, which was formed in 2019, is being led by Mukta Panda, MD, MACP, FRCP, assistant dean for Medical Student Education and Well-Being in the UTHSC College of Medicine in Chattanooga, and Michael Whitt, PhD, associate dean for Medical Education and chair of the Department of Medical Education in the College of Medicine.

Faculty members and educators in the College of Medicine are nominated by their peers for the program which seeks to recognize and promote distinction in all pre-clinical and clinical educational domains by “fostering excellence in patient-centered care and a commitment to developing future leaders through the tenets of the Hippocratic oath, the art of medicine, empathy, education, scientific rigor, professionalism, mentorship, and collaborative teamwork.”

Dr. Michael Whitt

This year’s class inducts seven new members: Bindiya Bagga, MD, associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases; Mark Bugnitz, MD, professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Critical Care; Bruce Keisling, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics and executive director of the Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities; Patrick Koo, MD, associate professor and director of Internal Medicine Clerkship at in the College of Medicine in Chattanooga; Kris Maday, PA-C, associate professor and director of the UTHSC Physician Assistant Program; Jigme Sethi, MD, division chief for Pulmonary/Critical Care and affiliated professor in the College of Medicine in Chattanooga; and Ajay Talati, MD, professor and division chief of the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Neonatology.

“We are very excited and pleased to announce the new inductees of our Academy of Master Educators,” said Dr. Panda. “The Academy of Master Educators recognizes and rewards their many contributions to the mission of UTHSC CoM. The academy will serve as a mechanism to support and enhance all the educational programs, the faculty, and augment the learning and educational community at in the College of Medicine.”

To become a member of the academy, faculty must be nominated by their peers, a student, or a resident. Self-nominations also are accepted. Once nominated, the individual will formally apply and submit an educational portfolio, which will then be reviewed by the Academy Membership Committee, including members from UTHSC and external reviewers.

Once inducted, the membership is a three-year term and provides a one-time $1,000 award to be used for educational advancement of the member. At the end of each term, each member may be offered renewal, based on continued excellence in education and contributions to the academy.

“This academy is a dynamic working organization that recognizes those who exemplify the highest standards of education and clinical excellence,” Dr. Whitt said. “We are excited that these members will support the mission of the College of Medicine and serve as ambassadors for the university and college.”

“This academy has been in the works for nearly 10 years, and we are so proud to finally launch this program statewide. We have so many great faculty members that go above and beyond for our learners, faculty, and community, and we want to continue their legacy and support their excellent work,” Dr. Panda said.

Nominations for the next class are currently open and must be submitted to the committee by March 15. For more information on the academy, how to nominate a faculty member, and the criteria for being inducted, please visit: https://uthsc.edu/medicine/master-educators.php.