Pramod Puligandla, MD: 2022 Program Director of the Year recipient
Since he became Program Director of the Pediatric Surgery program at McGill University in 2008, Pramod Puligandla, MD, MSc, has built a world-class program where trainees become technically proficient at the highest levels while preserving a humanistic approach to care.
Early adopter of CBME
Dr. Puligandla has distinguished himself as a truly great educator and champion of patient care. As an innovator, he leverages the spirit of continuous improvement with a practical wisdom of what can be achieved in a well-functioning program. As one major example, Dr. Puligandla was an early adopter of competency based medical education, devising a range of tools similar to the Royal College’s Entrustable Professional Activities well before the launch of Competence by Design.
Dr. Puligandla’s scholarly work has had a significant impact on his fields of practice. For example, he ensured the knowledge his program gained during the transition to CBME was disseminated to the broader pediatric surgery community by organizing education sessions at the Canadian Association of Pediatric Surgeons national meeting, and by publishing his work.
Most recently, he led the Canadian Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Collaborative through the creation and publication of a clinical practice guideline. It addressed acute management considerations from a surgical and intensive care point of view, included important guidelines for long-term follow-up, and considered ways to reduce morbidity from multiple perspectives. This landmark paper is one of more than 150 publications over the course of his career.
Dedicated to patient and family care
Perhaps most important, Dr. Puligandla leads by example. Despite his busy schedule, he remains fiercely dedicated to patient and family-centered care. He understands the value of multidisciplinary expertise in delivering holistic care and is greatly appreciated by his colleagues and patients for his attention to detail, patience and excellent bedside manner. More than that, he is a masterful surgeon who knows how to guide a learner through complex or straightforward procedural steps safely.
It is no wonder that Dr. Puligandla won the Department of Pediatric Surgery’s Top Teacher award twice (a rare feat) and is on the Faculty Honour List for Educational Excellence at McGill. He was also the inaugural recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award for Program Directors at McGill in 2020. This recognition truly identifies how unique and exceptional his work is. It is also a testament to the mentorship he has provided his junior colleagues.
Dr. Puligandla’s expertise has been recognized internationally, including by the American Board of Surgery, which selected him as the first Canadian member of its Pediatric Surgery Board in 40 years. It is no exaggeration that Dr. Puligandla is universally described—from cleaning staff to nurses to physician colleagues—as the ultimate professional.