This interview is one in a series of interviews with recipients of the 2024 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 March 7-9, 2024, in Orlando, Florida.
Dr. Manuel Vallejo is a recipient of the 2024 Parker J. Palmer Courage to Lead Award. Dr. Vallejo is an anesthesiologist and currently serves as the designated institutional official (DIO) at West Virginia University. He reflected on how supporting residents as DIO fulfills his lifelong interest and commitment to academic medicine.
ACGME: How did you become involved in medicine, and in academic medicine specifically?
Dr. Vallejo: My interest in academic medicine has been consistent throughout my career. Teaching and engaging with students and residents, both in clinical settings and scholarly pursuits, holds great significance to me as a physician. Collaborating with them has undeniably enriched and fulfilled my professional career.
ACGME: What does this award mean to you?
Vallejo: It serves as validation across various facets of my role--as a clinician, educator, academician, and DIO.
ACGME: What do you feel is the most important “job” that’s part of your role as a designated institutional official?
Vallejo: Primarily, it is about supporting residents, program directors, and chairs in achieving their goals. Secondly, I focus on maintaining institutional compliance with ACGME requirements.
ACGME: What is the most rewarding part of the job?
Vallejo: Working directly with residents is undoubtedly the most rewarding part of my job.
ACGME: What is the most challenging?
Vallejo: Dealing with individuals who believe the established rules do not apply to them poses a significant challenge.
ACGME: What advice do you have to give residents and fellows who may be interested in pursuing a career in academic medicine?
Vallejo: It is a privilege to contribute to patients' well-being. Choose a specialty that aligns with your passion, enabling you to become the best possible physician
ACGME: Is there anything else you would like to add we haven’t asked about?
Vallejo: I appreciate the chance to discuss these aspects of my professional journey. Thank you for the opportunity.
Learn more about the ACGME’s Parker J. Palmer Courage to Lead Award and nominate a DIO for the 2025 Award – nominations are due by March 27, 2024. Registration is still open for the 2024 ACGME Annual Educational Conference – learn more and register today on the conference website.