Dr. Pushpa Narayanaswami Recognized as Top Educator

One conversation with Dr. Pushpa Narayanaswami could be all that needs to get you fired up about neurology. She radiates passion for the subject and advocating its merits in the classroom. Her enthusiasm and well-documented work on the topic is why she was named the 2019 American Association of Neuromuscular and Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM) Jun Kimura Outstanding Educator.

The AANEM is the premier nonprofit membership association dedicated to the advancement of knowledge, education, and technology in the fields of neuromuscular (NM), musculoskeletal (MSK), and electrodiagnostic (EDX) medicine. The award named after Dr. Kimura honors a longtime member of AANEM and who is regarded as one of the most influential neurologists of our time. The award continues to honor those who share a similar drive to share their knowledge of the field.

“Neurology has always fascinated me; the preciseness of anatomical localization, the logical, almost mathematical diagnostic approach,” Dr. Narayanaswami said.

Her faculty academic appointments date back to 2002, when she worked as a Clinical Assistant Professor in the neurology department at the University of Tennessee. She moved on for a short stint at Creighton University and in 2006, began her career at Harvard Medical School first as an instructor, then Assistant Professor, and finally as an Associate Professor. She has served as an Associate Professor in the Neurology and Division of Neuromuscular Diseases departments at Harvard Medical School/Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center since 2016.

Dr. Narayanaswami is no stranger to accolades. Some of her notable awards include the American Academy of Neurology resident scholarship she received in 1999, the AANEM junior member recognition award in 1998, 1999 and 2000, the 2016 Outstanding Teacher Award from the Neurology Residency Program at BIDMC/Harvard Medical School, and the 2017 Penny Greenstein Residency Advocacy Award from the same program. Since 2007, Dr. Narayanaswami has also formally mentored a number of neurology trainees.

She has a varied approach to neuromuscular medicine, which she imparts on her trainees.

“What I find most valuable is the opportunity to teach more than just the science. In addition to the science of medicine, there is also the art of medicine; the ethics and policy aspect of it,” she said. “For instance, breaking the news of a diagnosis like ALS is part personal style, part patient driven. It is important to understand the different approaches to this, and that we need to be comfortable with our own approach. Ethical questions come up almost daily where the answers are often grey. The policies that drive medical practice are important to know. Medicine is so multi-faceted and so much more than making a diagnosis. I like to help medical students, residents and fellow to be thoughtful about each patient along these lines. To know that they’re people.”

Dr. Narayanaswami has been a member of AANEM since 1997, and has presented various sessions and workshops at Annual Meetings since 2003. She has served as an examiner on oral exams for the American Board of Electrodiagnostic Medicine, spent many years as a member of AANEM’s Research Committee, and is the current Chair of its Quality Improvement Committee. She also serves as an Associate Editor for Muscle & Nerve, along with editorial boards for a number of other medical journals.

“My committee service has allowed me to give back a little to the AANEM and to the fields of clinical neurophysiology and neuromuscular medicine. Teaching courses at AANEM meetings is another way I have been able to teach in a larger forum,” she said of her experience with the association.

To learn more about AANEM and its Achievement Award winners, visit www.aanem.org.

About American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM)

Based in Rochester, Minnesota, the American Association of Neuromuscular & Electrodiagnostic Medicine (AANEM) is the premier nonprofit membership association dedicated to the advancement of neuromuscular (NM), musculoskeletal and electrodiagnostic (EDX) medicine. The organization and its members work to improve the quality of patient care and advance the science of NM diseases and EDX medicine by serving physicians and allied health professionals who care for those with muscle and nerve disorders.

For more information about AANEM, visit www.aanem.org or find us on Facebook and Twitter.

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