Dr. S.V. Mahadevan Leadership Award
2018 Recipient Dr. Laleh Gharahbaghian
Congratulations to Dr. Laleh Gharahbaghian, recipient of the 2018 S.V. Mahadevan Leadership Award.
The Mahadevan Leadership Award recognizes and celebrates individuals who advance the mission of the Department of Emergency Medicine by inspiring others to excel in education, research, patient care and administration.
The award was created in 2017 to honor Dr. S.V. Mahadevan, who has provided formative leadership and service to the department for nearly two decades. And as a pioneer in global health systems and education, Dr. Mahadevan’s work and influence have spanned the globe.
About Dr. S. V. Mahadevan
Dr. Mahadevan (“Maha”) joined Stanford's then-division of emergency medicine in 1999. "At the time, I was mainly focused on being a good doctor, faculty member, and teacher," he recalls. But just one year later, he was tapped to serve as the emergency department medical director and associate chief, a role he held for the next 13 years.
“Maha is very natural and gifted leader,” comments Dr. Sam Shen, interim chair of the department. “He has always nurtured a collaborative environment, and has implemented foundational changes that will serve our department well into the future.”
As the emergency medicine medical student clerkship director, Dr. Mahadevan crafted the groundbreaking work, An Introduction to Clinical Emergency Medicine, which is now used in emergency medicine clerkships around the country. The textbook reflects Dr. Mahadevan’s structured and inquisitive approach to patient evaluation, management and problem solving in the emergency department.
In 2000, Dr. Mahadevan founded Stanford Emergency Medicine International (SEMI) to bring Stanford’s emergency medicine expertise to underserved areas of the world.
“I wanted a way to share the collective experience of our young specialty [emergency medicine] with other countries that lacked access to organized emergency care,” he comments. “It was particularly important to me because of the good fortune I have had in life, and my desire to pay it forward. I grew up with incredible resources and opportunities but just as easily could have been a kid growing up on the streets of another country like India.”
SEMI, under Dr. Mahadevan’s leadership, has launched successful projects around the globe focused on emergency medical advancement through education, strengthening care systems, and research. In India, Dr. Mahadevan was instrumental in leading the development of an advanced prehospital care curriculum and launching a paramedic training institute for the country’s nascent ambulance system. SEMI’s work laid the foundation or development of India’s EMS system, which is now the largest in the world, and the first of its kind for a developing country. In India today, a patient is cared for every 3.5 seconds in an ambulance, utilizing platforms and protocols developed by under the guidance of SEMI.
SEMI, under Dr. Mahadevan’s leadership has launched other important programs in countries such as Nepal, Cambodia, Myanmar, Tanzania, and Mongolia, among others. Dr. Mahadevan was also instrumental in creating an online emergency medicine course that, to date, has been accessed in more than 125 countries around the world.
In 2005, Dr. Mahadevan founded and directed Stanford’s first International Emergency Medicine Fellowship. Dr. Matthew Strehlow, the inaugural fellow and now department vice-chair notes, “Maha is a unique leader, not only because of his energy and vision, but also the degree to which he cares about the people. They feel that. Some leaders struggle to communicate authentically that they care. It is simply Maha’s nature.”
In 2015, when Stanford University established the Department of Emergency Medicine, they selected Dr. Mahadevan to be the founding department chair. In a remarkably short span of time, he fostered a culture of collaboration and transparency, and implemented gender parity for his faculty by developing a gender-blind salary scale and system for promotion. He also fostered the development of programs focused on physician and resident wellness, that have been highlighted nationally.
In June 2018, Dr. Mahadevan accepted the position of Director of Global Affairs and Strategy for Stanford Medicine, where he will work closely with the School of Medicine and Stanford Health Care to further the university’s global mission.
In his 20 years at Stanford, Dr. Mahadevan has had a profound impact on the faculty, residents, students, and direction of the Department of Emergency Medicine, as a mentor, teacher, leader and collaborator. His work and spirit are celebrated in the first annual Mahadevan Leadership Award.
Pictured: Dr. Sam Shen, Dr. S.V. Mahadevan, and Dr. Matthew Strehlow.