UTHSC’s Panda Wins International Book Award

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Mukta Panda, MD, a professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Medicine in Chattanooga, won a 2020 Nautilus Silver Award for her book “Resilient Threads: Weaving Joy and Meaning into Well-Being.” It will be featured in a virtual/digital book exhibit during the American Library Association’s Annual Conference in June.

The international awards are given to print books of exceptional merit that make a literary and heartfelt contribution to spiritual growth, high-level wellness, responsible leadership, and positive social change and social justice, as well as to the worlds of art, creativity, and inspiration.

Dr. Mukta Panda

“Resilient Threads,” released in January 2020 by Colorado-based publisher Creative Courage Press, tells Dr. Panda’s personal story as an academic physician, a mother, and an immigrant from India. It also discusses how she has contributed to humanism in health care and medical education.

“I am truly surprised and humbled by this honor,” said Dr. Panda, who is assistant dean for Well-Being and Medical Student Education in the UTHSC College of Medicine. “There is a heightened awareness of the critical need to take urgent action, and proactively and internationally promote systems and organizations that value and prioritize promoting a culture of well-being. My book offers some insights and examples. The Nautilus Award further increases the visibility of these important issues. I am thankful that the UTHSC leadership is committed to the same, and I am excited to be part of such an endeavor.”

At UTHSC, Dr. Panda helped establish and serves as adviser for the statewide Gold Humanism Honor Society chapter at UTHSC. The group recognizes medical students, who serve as role models for the human connection in health care. In 2020, the Arnold P. Gold Foundation, the honor society’s parent organization, recognized the UTHSC chapter with its Exemplary Award, the highest given by the foundation to a chapter that continuously strives to increase engagement and empathy in the community, encourages resilience and team building, teaches advocacy and leadership skills, and highlights compassionate patient care.

Dr. Panda reiterated the importance of physical and mental well-being as she led new College of Medicine graduates in reciting the Hippocratic Oath during Spring Commencement May 19.

“The Hippocratic Oath is timeless, and names our duty to our patients and their families,” she said. “However, our health care system today is different and in addition to our altruistic care for our patients, it calls for a partnership between system and self to be able to provide the best care to our patients, advocate for them and our vocation, and thrive in our roles. Our system calls us to be resilient, which can only happen through caring for ourselves and care for each other.”

Dr. Panda is also the co-author of Oath to Self-Care and Well-Being , which was also given to College of Medicine graduates. In 2020, she was named Woman Physician of the Year by the Tennessee Chapter of the American College of Physicians.