Manish N. Shah, MD, FAANS, assistant professor of pediatric neurosurgery, is the 2020 recipient of the Benjy F. Brooks, MD, Outstanding Clinical Faculty Award.

“I was surprised and thrilled to receive this award,” Shah said. “Who knew one could get an award for such an intrinsically rewarding and fun activity like teaching?”

Established in 1991 by the Alumni Association, the Benjy Brooks award is presented by the McGovern’s Student Surgical Association to recognize individuals “who complement and enhance the education program by serving as role models for students.” It is named in honor of Dr. Benjy Brooks, the first board-certified woman pediatric surgeon in the United States, who joined McGovern Medical School’s faculty in 1973 and remained active in the life of the Medical School until her death in 1998.

Medical students may nominate faculty or residents for the award.

Shah molds his teaching philosophy around the words of poet Rabindranath Tagore who said, “a teacher can never truly teach unless he is still learning himself. A lamp can never light another lamp unless it continues to burn its own flame.”

Shah credits his parents for guiding him down the path he has been on. He said his mother, Mayuri, was a retired pediatrician who taught him about service, and his father, Narendra, taught him about lifelong scholarship. Throughout the quarantine, Shah and his father spend 30 minutes each day learning Sanskrit together.

He received his medical degree from Vanderbilt University before completing an internship in general surgery at Washington University in 2007. Shah finished a residency in neurological surgery at Washington University from 2007-13, followed by a fellowship in pediatric neurosurgery in 2014. He joined the faculty at McGovern Medical School in 2014.

“I can name all of my teachers from kindergarten onwards, and they all had a meaningful impact in my career choice,” Shah said. “I learned a great deal from my mentors in medical school, and in residency and fellowship. I also continue to learn from the outstanding students, residents, and faulty here at McGovern.”

Shah thanks his wife Lauren, his brother Kam, his parents and in-laws; and colleagues Barbara J. Stoll, MD; David Sandberg, MD; Stephen Fletcher, DO; Ryan Kitagawa, MD; Arthur Day, MD; Dong Kim, MD; Gina Collier, Cristian Ybarra; and the McGovern Student Surgical Association.

Former recipients of the Benjy F. Brooks Teaching Award include Walter M. Kirkendall, MD, 1991; William S. Fields, MD, 1992; James T. Willerson, MD, 1994; Harold T. Pruessner, MD, 1995; Herbert L. DuPont, MD, 1997; Larry D. Scott, MD, 1999; Herbert L. Fred, MD, 1999; Becky L. McGraw-Wall, MD, 2000; Terry K. Satterwhite, MD, 2001; Cheves M. Smythe, MD, 2002; Ian Butler, MD, 2003; Francisco Fuentes, MD, 2004; Pedro Mancias, MD, 2009; Lisa Armitige, MD, PhD, 2010; Octavio Pinell, MD, 2011; Kyle Woerner, MD, 2013; Daniel Freet, MD, 2016; and Tom C. Nguyen, MD, 2017; Sasha D. Adams, MD, 2018; and David R. Hall, MD, 2019.