Dr Niriti Chaudhary, a student from the class of 2010, was named the prize winner of the 2015 Dr Sushila Nayar Memorial Award for her work on feeding practices in children in villages. A recipient of the Short Term Studentship (STS) funded by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Dr Niriti was one of the 13 medical students to present their her poster and postal presentation judged by the jury: Dr Swanand Pathak (Pharmacology, JNMC, Sawangi), Dr Pradeep Deshmukh (Community Medicine, MGIMS), and Dr Jyoti Jain (Medicine, MGIMS).
Shreya Rasania (class of 2012) was the runner-up. Also an ICMR STS scholar, she had spent her research time asking how physically active women medical and paramedical students at MGIMS are.
On April 1, 2015, MGIMS celebrated the “coming of age” of its youngest members when the medical students presented their research projects to an audience comprising of proud teachers and enthusiastic peers in what was a truly fitting finale to a month-long hunt for the best budding researcher.
Dr Sushila Nayar Memorial Award for Undergraduate Research was launched in 2015 as a tribute to late Dr Sushila Nayar. Dr Subodh Gupta, In charge, Medical Education Unit, explained how it began: “I thought that acknowledging and appreciating the research attitude and efforts of the medical students would be the best way to remember Dr Sushila Nayar— our beloved Badi Behenji—who was also an avid public health researcher. Students were desperately looking for a platform to present their research findings. The authorities readily agreed to launch annual award for undergraduate research in her memory as a part of Dr Sushila Nayar centenary year celebrations.”
A month back, MGIMS Medical Education Unit and Academy of Medical Sciences, invited research papers from undergraduates for the award presentation. All students were asked to prepare posters and present their work. On 1st April, the MGIMS auditorium was brimming with enthusiastic students and amused teachers. Students came up with posters that matched the standards of an international conference- a focused research question, simple plan, uncluttered tables and graphs and a single sentence take-home message. Truly posters that connoisseurs would appreciate in an international conference. Of the total 13 posters, six—two each from pre-clinical, para-clinical and clinical areas—were shortlisted for oral presentation and the chosen ones were asked to present their work in the Sarojini Naidu Hall.
“The event was meticulously planned. The posters were well- designed and the presentations were well- delivered. This activity will definitely go a long way in shaping good scientists and rational thinkers from our younger generation,” said Dr Swanand Pathak, jury and himself an MGIMS alumnus.
Expressing his happiness on the quality of presentations, Dr KR Patond, Dean, MGIMS, said. “It is heartening to see the budding researchers of tomorrow getting appreciated and applauded for their work on a formal platform. Sure enough, they all deserve a pat on their back. MGIMS may create a special corpus to fund good research ideas by our undergraduate students.”
As a next step, the Medical Education Unit of MGIMS is planning to train these students further, and teach them the skills of manuscript writing. “After the vacations, we plan to hold hands-on workshops,”said Dr Subodh Gupta. “Our goal is to publish work from aspiring students who want to improve their writing and critical thinking skills, and to gain experience in the field of academic medicine and publishing. By doing so, we hope that we should be able to help students publish their studies in high-quality peer-reviewed journals.”