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Dr. Mukta Panda Awarded for Contributions to Physician Well-Being

Dr. Mukta Panda

The American College of Physicians (ACP) has honored Mukta Panda, MD, MACP, F-RCP London, professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center’s College of Medicine in Chattanooga, with the 2023-2024 ACP Award for Outstanding Contributions to Improving Well-Being and Professional Fulfillment in Internal Medicine.

According to ACP, the award recognizes an individual who has helped the profession of medicine by improving practice or training environments, advocating for system changes, fostering communities of well-being, and helping others address their personal well-being.

“I am humbled and honored to receive this award and am grateful for my trusted team. This award highlights the necessity of physician well-being and professional fulfillment as keys to our collective effort to improve the culture and delivery of medicine,” Dr. Panda said. “But the epidemic of health care professional burnout threatens the fabric of our society.”

Dr. Panda’s nomination for the ACP award highlighted her work both within and outside the College of Medicine in Chattanooga. In her current and previous roles, including assistant dean for Well-Being and Student Education, chair of Medicine, and director of the Transitional Residency Program, she has developed innovative initiatives and curricula to foster conversations that promote resilience and teach trainees how to thrive, build sustaining systems of support, engage in self-care, and recharge through relationship-driven connections. She has mentored countless trainees, faculty, peers, and clinicians to be the best version of themselves and to support wellness and resilience in others.

“I strive to be intentional in creating safe and brave spaces where each person is valued as a human and has a voice that is heard. This is crucial to dispelling the feeling of fear and insecurity and promoting a sense of belonging, which is our innate human need,” she said. “Only when we feel we belong, and are able to show up as our authentic selves with our skills and also our vulnerabilities, can we promote authentic relationships and work well as a team.”

“Together we must address physician burnout, promote a culture of well-being, and provide the best care to our patients, becoming champions for them and our vocation.”

Dr. Mukta Panda

Dr. Panda is widely recognized as the authority on physician wellness and well-being. She has lectured around the world and authored three books on motivation, physician well-being, and professional resilience. She is one of the steering members of the Collaborative for Healing and Renewal in Medicine (CHARM) and currently chair of ACP’s Global Engagement Committee. Widely published and quoted often, her seminal co-authored work through CHARM is the Oath to Self-Care and Well-Being, which is delivered to students at UTHSC and other medical schools, residency programs, hospital organizations, and professional societies around the country, along with the Hippocratic Oath.

“The Hippocratic Oath is timeless and names our duty to our patients and their families. However, health care often feels like a corporate entity with increasing consolidation, the noble service relationships of physicians with patients becoming commodities,” Dr. Panda said. “As physicians, we often feel powerless, unable to connect to our why, what gives us meaning and purpose. Our health care system today calls for—in addition to our altruistic care for our patients—a partnership and commitment between ourselves and the system we study and work in. Together we must address physician burnout, promote a culture of well-being, and provide the best care to our patients, becoming champions for them and our vocation. The Oath to Self-Care and Well-Being advocates for this so that we can thrive in our roles.” 

ACP is the largest medical-specialty society in the world, dedicated to leading the profession in education, standard-setting, and the sharing of knowledge to advance the science and practice of internal medicine. Dr. Panda serves as an ACP wellness champion, facilitator, and coach, and is currently chair of ACP’s Global Engagement Committee. She also moderated the 2019 ACP International Forum on Global Experiences and Initiatives to Promote Physician Well-Being.

The organization will celebrate Dr. Panda’s award in April at its 2024 Convocation Ceremony in Boston, Massachusetts.