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 will be honored at the ACGME Annual Educational Conference, taking place on February 23-25, 2023 in Nashville, Tennessee.
2023 David C. Leach Awardee Dr. Abhiram Kondajji is a general surgeon at Marymount Hospital following completion of his residency at Cleveland Clinic - South Pointe Hospital.
ACGME: Why did you want to become a physician?
Dr. Kondajji: I chose to be a physician and, more specifically, a surgeon because I can immediately impact someone's life and leave a lasting effect. I can help the person return to normal health. Lastly, as a surgeon, I develop both short-term and long-lasting relationships with my patients.
ACGME: What was the most rewarding part of your residency?
Dr. Kondajji: The most rewarding part of residency was reflecting on the progress I've made from internship to graduation. Now as an attending with the residency, I get to watch my junior residents making the progress and become remarkable and confident surgeons.
ACGME: What was the most challenging?
Dr. Kondajji: There were often multiple things happening that required my attention. Learning how to prioritize those items needing my personal attention and delegating the others to my colleagues was the most challenging aspect, but one that ultimately has led me to thrive in a busy surgical environment.
ACGME: What innovation/improvement did you implement in your program?
Dr. Kondajji: We did several things, such as starting home call for the senior residents in preparation for their transition into fellowship. This allowed a reduction in the call burden across all resident levels and offered more time for residents to focus on education and clinical experience. We started a quality improvement project to improve venous thromboembolism (VTE) outcomes for patients who undergo surgery for cancer. Lastly, implementing a new didactic system improved the resident in-training exam scores significantly.
ACGME: What does it mean to you to receive this award?
Dr. Kondajji: This award shows that even small changes can leave a lasting impact on education and in the programs that fall under the ACGME. The ACGME recognizes the victories and champions for programs, groups, and individuals that make a positive impact in their work and educational environment.
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. Kondajji: When faced with a new challenge, use this as an opportunity to find creative solutions. Find a group of people who encourage you to implement ideas and accomplish your goals.
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.