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A Maverick in Medical School and a Prolific Researcher Today: Manoj Sharma, MBBS, Ph.D.

The Outstanding Faculty Award winner has spent over 40 years helping us understand health behavior.

When Manoj Sharma was selected among a large pool of thousands of applicants to attend medical school at the University of Delhi in his native India, his long-range plan wasn’t any different than most of the 272 candidates who made the cut: graduate, slip on the white coat, grab a stethoscope, and heal the sick.

That plan changed, however, when Sharma was introduced to the concept of preventive medicine.

“During medical school, I heard this fable about someone who tried to save people from drowning by jumping into a river and rescuing them one by one,” Sharma says. “Then someone says, ‘Instead of continuing to pull these people out of the river, why don’t you go upstream and stop whoever is throwing them in?’”

In other words, rather than focus on healing the sick, why not use your talents to prevent illness?

Thus began a career in public health that has spanned nearly four decades as a public health practitioner, academic researcher, and educator who has taught and trained more than 6,000 health professionals at 13 national and international universities. 

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