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UTHSC’s Balaji Krishnaiah, MD, Named Mayo Clinic Visiting Professor

Balaji Krishnaiah, MD, left, poses with Mayo Clinic neurologist Lyell Jones, MD, at the clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.

Balaji Krishnaiah, MD, associate professor and program director of the neurology residency at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, has been named the Mayo Clinic’s 2022 Burton A. Sandok Visiting Professor of Neurological Education.

The Mayo Clinic’s Department of Neurology coordinates the professorship each year to honor one neurology professor from anywhere in the country. A selection committee chooses the winner based on their excellence of teaching and passion in the field of neurology.

Dr. Balaji Krishnaiah

Dr. Krishnaiah said he was honored the chair of the UTHSC Department of Neurology, Andrei Alexandrov, MD, nominated him.

“My first feeling was, regardless of whether I’m going to get it or not, just for him to think that I qualify for this award meant a lot to me,” Dr. Krishnaiah said. “Then, when I got the email saying I was selected, it was a fascinating feeling.”

Scott Strome, MD, executive dean of the UTHSC College of Medicine, said he is proud someone from the university received this honor from the Mayo Clinic, where he worked for five years.

“This recognition reflects Dr. Krishnaiah’s incredible commitment to all our learners and his skill as an educator,” Dr. Strome said. “We are so very fortunate to have him as a member of our outstanding faculty in the UTHSC College of Medicine.”

Dr. Krishnaiah was invited to the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where he met with leaders in the clinic’s neurology department, attended stroke wards to share his expertise with residents and fellows, and delivered a resident lecture on learning theories. He also gave grand rounds, entitled “Reimagining Engaging Learners,” in which he encouraged educators to modernize their teaching styles.

“Our current and incoming medical students belong to Generation Z. They grew up with technology. For my generation, it’s a tool, but it’s a part of their life. It’s a huge difference, so we need to change how we teach so we can reach them,” Dr. Krishnaiah said.

Dr. Krishnaiah said receiving this honor is a monumental moment in his career. He hopes this recognition will inspire his students to work hard to reach their goals. “As long as you put in your hard work, then you’ll get places and receive the recognition you deserve,” he said.