Why and How Dr. Prasun Mishra Decided to Change Our World with Penny Bauder

To those who have dreams but do not act on those dreams, remember you have been given very short time to manifest those ideas. It is not you who chose an idea, it’s the idea that chose you, and then it becomes your moral responsibility to manifest that idea through your conscious efforts for the […]

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To those who have dreams but do not act on those dreams, remember you have been given very short time to manifest those ideas. It is not you who chose an idea, it’s the idea that chose you, and then it becomes your moral responsibility to manifest that idea through your conscious efforts for the greater good. Fulfilling our individuality is a modern concept. I believe that we all are individual pieces of a big puzzle, meant to manifest the bigger picture together. Life is not a competition; it is meant to be a collaboration. Remember, it’s not just about you, it’s about creating a better future for our ‘greater self’, which is all of the humanity and mother earth. Think about losing the dearest person you love, and now think about how far you are willing to go to prevent that from happening. And start pushing yourself beyond you….

Aspart of my series about young people who are making an important social impact”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Prasun J. Mishra

Dr. Mishra (Ex-Genentech, Ex-NCI, Ex-NIH) is the founding president and CEO of American Association for Precision Medicine (AAPM) and chair of ACT: AAPM Coronavirus Taskforce, leading research efforts focused on preventing and curing COVID-19, cancer, and other chronic diseases; not only treating the sick but also providing knowledge/tools to individuals to live longer, healthier lives. He is a serial entrepreneur who founded his first company after graduating high school, and second company while earning his PhD. Since then, he has accumulated a wealth of experience by building, investing, and advising numerous companies. He is an investor, co-founder/board member of a few corporations, focused on accelerating drug discovery/development, data-analytics, robotics, mental health, and digital health.

Widely recognized as a Technology and Healthcare thought leader, Dr. Mishra has keynoted, chaired, and organized numerous successful international conferences. His research work has been recognized globally by over 40 prestigious awards and honors. Dr. Mishra also served as a Scientist and Principal Investigator at Genentech, Roche. Moreover, his passion for drug development and precision medicine has led to identification of new drug targets, biomarkers, companion diagnostics, and several drugs/ combinations in the clinic. Due to his unique perspective and selfless service, he is highly respected and sought-after mentor to many.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit. Can you tell us a bit how you grew up?

Serving the community is at the core of my upbringing. I come from a family of physicians, healers, philosophers, and entrepreneurs. Growing up, my parents were very active in the community; my father, a famous poet, writer, teacher, philosopher, and entrepreneur, is a towering figure and guide to many, including me. He hails from a Vedic pundit family, and served as priest to the king of Kasi, Varanasi in his youth before settling in Mumbai. A scholar in antient Vedic tradition, my father taught himself the art of yoga, homeopathy and Ayurveda. My mother, a housewife, has solely dedicated her life to our upbringing. My maternal grandfather and his brother, both physicians, dedicated all their lives to helping patients. I often would silently observe as they diagnosed and treated patients. As a child, my favorite activity was to help them in the clinic, compounding medicines. I noticed that there were very few medicines on the shelf, which baffled me. My grandfather explained, “Yes, because the modern medicine field is still too young! We have very few drugs and there is an immense opportunity to discover many more.” Some of those conversations about the limitations of traditional medicine shaped my life’s goal to empower physicians with new drugs. My grandfather would repeat often, “Prasun, always remember we live to help others live longer.” His words would become my life’s mission of “saving as many lives as possible before I surrender mine.” I learned from my family the importance of giving back and living a meaningful life by serving others. Thanks to their teachings, the Mishra family now has four doctors with a shared mission of discovering new drugs to help patients and make the world a better place.

Growing up I had this immense sense of urgency. As a child I felt that I was born in the past and felt the urgency to make contributions toward making a better future. I consider myself a social entrepreneur. My first entrepreneurial venture was a national magazine that I founded and served as an editor-in-chief; this was immediately after I graduated high school. My second entrepreneurial venture was a stem cell therapy company that I co-founded in 2007 while earning my PhD in pharmacology from Rutgers. Since then, I have accumulated a wealth of experience by building, investing, and advising numerous companies. Now, I am fortunate to be a founder, investor, and board member of few U.S.-based corporations. I served at Genentech, Roche as a Principal Investigator and Scientist, where I led anti-cancer drug discovery efforts as well as served on several drug discovery project teams. Prior to Genentech, I was a scientist and principle investigator working on finding novel anticancer drugs at the U.S. Government in the Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, and National Cancer Institute. I also spent a significant amount of time doing translational research at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of NJ, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Rutgers University.

Over the years I have learned the power of team work and how we all can come together and push the boundaries of what is humanly possible. I am grateful that we are able to do that every day at AAPM.

You are currently leading a social impact organization. Can you tell us a bit about what you and your organization are trying to change in our world today?

The American Association for Precision Medicine (AAPM) is a non-profit organization catalyzing healthcare transformation by fostering breakthrough innovation in prevention, early detection, treatment, and care. AAPM is on a mission to accelerate the field of precision medicine through research, education, communication, and collaboration to foster new medical breakthroughs. We have several initiatives, including a prevention initiative and an oncology initiative that celebrates the cancer survivors and recognizes the contributions of the leaders in the field. Our Rare Disease initiative advocates drug development for rare disease patients. We also help children with disease and their families. Our Women in Precision Medicine initiative helps foster career development of women in precision medicine.

More recently, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, AAPM rapidly launched a global taskforce called ACT: AAPM Coronavirus Taskforce in January 2020. ACT brings together a worldwide network of over 200 experts spanning clinical, scientific, technical, and advocacy backgrounds. The Taskforce’s mission is to develop, deliver, and disseminate strategies for COVID-19-specific prevention, diagnostics, therapeutics, supply chain logistics, artificial intelligence-driven solutions, impact investment funding opportunities, mental health, and other patient-centric precision medicine innovation techniques.

Can you tell us the backstory about what inspired you to originally feel passionate about this cause?

I believe that when our mission and vision is clear the path will manifest itself. My life’s mission has been to save as many lives as possible before I surrender mine. I chose to focus my research efforts in finding drugs, first for HIV, then cancer — major causes of deaths in our time. I also learned that although chemotherapy can be effective for some patients, some treatments have severe toxicity and, as a result, patients can die due to the anti-cancer drug treatment and not from the disease. I was convinced that the classic one-size-fits-all approach is not serving patients well. It’s clear to me that we need a better approach in medicine. I started my research work on finding a tailored approach, where we can stratify responders from non-responders using a genetic test. A nascent field emerged that was first known as pharmacogenetics; some of us called it “tailored medicine.” The field evolved to become individualized medicine, then personalized medicine. Later, the moniker precision medicine was coined.

As an early witness to the exciting evolution of the field of precision medicine, I saw a void. We needed to bring together the 4-P’s of precision medicine: patients, providers, public health planers (Government), and payers.

And so, AAPM was born.

Many of us have ideas, dreams, and passions, but never manifest it. They don’t get up and just do it. But you did. Was there an “Aha Moment” that made you decide that you were actually going to step up and do it? What was that final trigger?

I lost my elder sister Radha to pancreatic cancer. I still remember the day she called me thinking that I might have a magic cure for her condition. What she did not know at the time was I was working on pancreatic cancer, trying to understand why the disease is so aggressive and resistant to most of the available drugs. Eventually we lost her. I was devastated. The mere mention of her name would have me bursting into tears. My family knew not to say her name in front of me. During this time, I went through several layers of my existence and found my true self. I eventually came to a higher realization that it was not about me; everyone is fighting the same battle and has similar story and I am just one of them. This was the major turning point in my life.

I went through a major transformation during this time, mentally, physically (I became as light as I was in high school), and spiritually. I wandered alone in nature, in lakes, hills and forests, learned from nature, and deeply connected with the universal soul. My father’s poetry steeped in the ancient spiritual lore of Vedic wisdom, written in Sanskrit, spoke loudly to me. I realized that individuality is just a very recent concept, and that humans were never meant to work in silos. We were meant to work together. I began to feel the pain of individuals losing their loved ones, and as a leader in the field, I felt responsible. I began to push myself beyond the limits to what was humanly possible.

Today I am concentrating all my professional efforts towards building and scaling AAPM to bring the promise of precision medicine to routine clinical practice. I strongly believe that if the field was advanced enough, we would have saved my sister and countless other lives.

Many young people don’t know the steps to take to start a new organization. But you did. What are some of the things or steps you took to get your project started?

Starting a new organization can be a herculean task. Those who have done it would tell you that it’s all about filling an extant void to make a significant impact. I would add that we also need to create social good.

The following are the seven secrets to AAPM’s success:

  1. Finding the cause and making sure you are ready to dedicate your life to that cause. In my case I decided to concentrate all my professional activities in building and evangelizing AAPM. That meant that besides my usual professional activities I was dedicating my time to building something bigger that I believed will have a greater impact on our society.
  2. Make sure your organization is uniquely positioned. In the case of AAPM there was no non-profit organization that represented the precision medicine community. We are the first and only organization that brought together the global precision medicine community. AAPM is uniquely positioned with a very strong community base.
  3. Have a strong fundraising plan or your own funds to support the organization: Besides incorporating the organization and obtaining and maintaining the nonprofit status, a strong fundraising and a business plan is extremely helpful in growing and scaling the organization. My priorities include promoting the mission of the organizations and getting leaders in the field to join and help AAPM grow.
  4. It’s all about team work: Now that we’ve put into place the founding team members, we are scaling team-building so that we attract and retain the best talent out there. At AAPM we believe that your work family is your extended family. And every AAPM team member will tell you the same: “AAPM is one big family.”
  5. Scale and make some strong supporters and partners. At AAPM we are grateful for the generous support of individuals, corporations, and foundations that share our dream to accelerate and scale precision medicine. Some of AAPM’s supporters include HIMSS, Johnson & Johnson JLabs, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Salesforce, Oracle, Stanford, and Google.
  6. Take massive action to bring the community together: Organize events, symposium, and meetings to bring the community together. At AAPM we have organized several national and international conferences and symposiums, including the DataAI National Summit (ww.dans.ai) that brought together top experts and thought leaders in tech, biotech, life science, and medtech sectors to Silicon Valley. We also launched the DANS meetup group that has organized over 30 events since its inception. We have also hosted Excellence in Precision Oncology (ExPO) to celebrate and inspire the cancer survivors, as well as recognized the contributions of experts, leaders, and the stakeholders. The event was held at the Ohana Floor of the Salesforce Tower. Besides the focused meetings we host the AAPM Annual Meeting that brings global leaders in the field of precision medicine together. The AAPM Annual Meeting in 2019 was hosted at the Santa Clara Convention Center in the heart of Silicon Valley, CA.
  7. Be agile and address urgent needs of the community: AAPM created the first global taskforce, named theAAPM Coronavirus Taskforce (ACT) in January 2020. AAPM ACT organized the world’s first Global COVID-19 Summit (CGS2020), a virtual conference that brought together the world’s experts and frontline COVID-19 clinicians, scientists, clinical research professionals, and health policy administrators to facilitate international collaborations and seek agile solutions during the pandemic (https://bit.ly/35AFLjQ). AAPM also launched world’s first ‘Cancer and COVID’ a global virtual knowledgebase and novel coronavirus expert network to support cancer community (high mortality rate to COVID-19) (https://bit.ly/2WypLuz).

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company or organization?

It was early January 2020, in the midst of JPMorgan Investor’s conference in San Francisco, when AAPM co-hosted three different events. As with these annual events, there are many opportunities to network and have happy reunions with old colleagues, who are thrown in all corners of the globe. I got to meet with several international conference attendees, including colleagues from Wuhan, China. Some of these friends were excited to be visiting from China to celebrate Chinese New Year in the Bay Area and vice versa. Later, I learned that there was a word of a new virus sickening a small population in Wuhan. Some physicians thought it was highly infectious, with several deaths reported in local hospitals. We initially thought that the disease outbreak would be contained in China and wouldn’t impact the U.S.

Based on previous experience studying RNA viruses and epidemics, my alarms went off. Could this be early warning of an imminent pandemic? I knew that there was something serious coming.

And as we very well know, a spark could turn into a blaze — a large one and in quick fashion.

It was at this time that I immediately started building a taskforce by recruiting people through my network. And soon we all realized the gravity of the situation when the whole city of Wuhan was quarantined, ahead of the Chinese New Year celebration, to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus virus, SARS-CoV2, and its associated disease, now called COVID-19.

In late January, I stepped into immediate action and formed the ACT Taskforce (the first COVID-19 global taskforce), bringing together a worldwide network of over 200 experts spanning clinical, scientific, technical, and advocacy backgrounds. The Taskforce’s mission is to develop, deliver, and disseminate strategies for COVID-19-specific prevention, diagnostics, therapeutics, supply chain logistics, AI-driven solutions, impact investment funding opportunities, mental health, and other patient-centric precision medicine innovation techniques.

Today we are building and deploying these real-world solutions to fulfill the unmet COVID-19 patient care needs. The ecosystem has generated massive intellectual property, and has spun out several companies and deployed solutions in the arenas of Drug Treatment, Safe Biohazard Surgical Continuity, Outbreak Prevention, Diagnostic Support, and Mental Health Psychotherapy, — all focused on helping COVID-19 patients. We are bringing a comprehensive precision medicine approach that has not yet been applied to COVID-19.

Some of our contributions:

• In mid-January, ACT launched a weekly public meeting (https://bit.ly/3frdPDC).

• Hydroxychloroquine was recommended by ACT in January 2020 that went on receiving FDA approval of the drug for emergency use.

• ACT has been helping hospitals and healthcare institutions and developed an antibody against ACE2 receptor for diagnostics and therapeutics used against COVID-19.

• AAPM in partnership with Gryt Health, launched world’s first ‘Cancer and COVID’ initiative to support cancer community (https://bit.ly/2WypLuz).

• ACT mental health taskforce launched ‘Tranquil’ a weekly public event bringing together revolutionary thinkers to share their stories and perspectives on well-being.

• In April 2020, AAPM organized the world’s first Global COVID-19 Summit (CGS2020) (https://bit.ly/35AFLjQ).

• Later this month we are hosting a Global Hackathon around finding solutions to COVID-19 called “ACT2HACK COVID.”

These solutions are just a small snapshot of all the solutions our ACT Taskforce has in the works. To date, ACT has spun out five companies to bring these solutions to physicians, communities, and patients, including Precision BioPharma Inc. which is planning clinical trials with its leading dug candidate PB-004, a possible cure for COVID-19.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson or take away you learned from that?

I remember one morning I got up, got dressed, and rushed for an early morning meeting. I parked my car and as I started walking, I see that one foot has an athletic shoe and the other an elegant dress shoe. I was so embarrassed! But I decided not to pay attention, go about with my day. I realized something interesting that day: when I stopped paying attention to it, no one else did. Later while walking back to the car I shared with few of my colleagues and we had a great laugh. From this story I learned that no one is paying attention unless you do.

During COVID-19 global taskforce meetings we usually wait five minutes for folks to join. That usually leaves time to socialize and chat while we wait for others to join. So, I encouraged forks to come up with jokes to share with the team during those first few minutes. We even made that a part of the agenda. Once that agenda rolled out, we noticed a big spike in early attendance. No one wanted to miss the first five minutes of hilarious jokes and laughing. So, before we got into the serious updates and discussions pertaining to COVID-19, we all got to share few light moments together. We also encouraged a healthy sense of humor in our team meetings. Anything that makes the team laugh during our intense discussions was allowed. From this story I learned that a good laugh helped curb the stress and tension within the team members during the pandemic and further boost our productivity as we all became more inter-connected and got to see each other laugh. Lessons learned: “Laughter is the best medicine!”

None of us can be successful without some help along the way. Did you have mentors or cheerleaders who helped you to succeed? Can you tell us a story about their influence?

I have been fortunate to be blessed with some of the best mentors. In choosing my mentors I made sure they not only were successful professionally but also has a great family life. In particular, I would like to mention my PhD advisor Dr. Joseph R. Bertino, MD, Professor, Rutgers University, and my Post-Doctoral advisor and Dr. Glenn Merlino, Scientific Director for Basic Research at the CCR — National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Joe, at the time I met him, had spent more than 50 years of his life in taking care of thousands of cancer patients. His fellows were leading some of the nation’s leading hospitals, cancer centers, and universities. Among countless awards and honors, Joe is the recipient of 2008 AACR–Joseph H. Burchenal (Father of Cancer Chemotherapy) Memorial Award and Lecture where he presented my work on precision medicine (Mishra et. al., 2007, PNAS). Joe has been a great mentor, a long-term collaborator, and an amazing human being. He recruited me to lead the cancer drug discovery efforts in his department by saying “Prasun, young and hardworking folks like you are much needed in cancer research field. We are stuck with few old drugs that are not working. We need new blood like you in taking the cancer drug discovery to the next level and bring new drugs to clinic.”

In particular I remember attending a party in his home in New Haven, Connecticut. While driving to his home I missed an exit and coincidently found a very scenic route. When I reached his home, I shared this story with him and he mentioned to me that sometimes missing an exit can be a good thing, as it leads to the discovery of a new route. That is certainly true in science; when one experiment does not work, it may lead to an entirely new path and discovery. This came true for me on several projects like those that led to the discovery of a new role for small RNA in drug resistance, pharmacogenomics, and precision medicine (Mishra et. al., 2007, PNAS); and a new role for mesenchymal stem cells as a source of carcinoma associated fibroblasts, supporting tumor growth (Mishra et. al., 2008, Cancer Research).

I eventually graduated with a Dean’s Research Award, “three” Young Investigator Awards, the AACR-AstraZeneca Scholar in Training Award, as well as the Outstanding Thesis Research Award (University’s Highest Honor). I remember, Joe introducing me on several occasions by saying “Prasun ranks in the upper 1% the investigators that I have mentored during my career. I don’t believe any of them have been as productive as he.” With my humble nature, I would blush, giving an embarrassed grin; however, coming from him, this meant a lot to me.

In 2018 Joe was awarded the AACR Lifetime Achievement Award in Cancer Research. When I heard the announcement, I cancelled all my meetings and flew to Chicago to attend the ceremony to be a cheerleader for Joe. We spent some quality time together going through our memory lane and brainstorming new discovery ideas!

I was also very fortunate to have worked with Dr. Glenn Merlino, who is a Scientific Director at NCI, NIH and a recipient of the 2013 Life Time Achievement Award from the Society for Melanoma Research. Glenn is not only a world-renowned scientist but also an amazing person. I met Glenn when I was exploring opportunities to transition to direct Principle Investigators (PI) positions. Glenn was the contact person for all the PIs in CCR, NCI for mentorship and guidance. He mentioned to me “I do not train fellows, I train PIs.” So, I declined all the offers in hand, to join forces with Glenn because we shared the same energy and passion for innovation. I often had a habit of working in the lab late in the night. When Glenn learned that he jokingly told me “get a life.” Following his advice, a year later I finally got married.

Under Glenn’s leadership, I had the freedom to collaborate and orchestrate large and innovative projects focused on identifying and characterizing novel drugs/targets/drug combinations utilizing phenotypic/genetic screenings, hit-to-lead efforts, preclinical testing followed by clinical investigation. I also lead one of the first multi-omics study within NIH that earned me a candidacy for the Trans-NIH Earl Statman Tenure Track Position, named after National Medal of Science winner biochemist Earl Stadtman who trained two Nobel laureates. Glenn and I were specially thrilled, as this were the most prestigious and sought-after tenure track positions, chosen after several rounds of interviews and Stadtman Lectures, via a global competition led by NIH.

Moreover, discoveries that I made at NCI went on to receive the highest honors at the U.S. Government, including a recognition by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services with “five” Federal Technology Transfer Awards and ‘two’ Director’s Innovation Awards, presented by Dr. Harold Varmus, Nobel Laureate. Glenn threw many parties to celebrate, I especially remember our ‘group hug’ during a party he threw at a pub called Rock Bottom, in downtown Bethesda, to celebrate my transition to Genentech, Roche. While at Genentech, I continued collaborating with Glenn, we met again in 2015, in San Francisco, where we celebrated his appointment as the Scientific Director for Basic Sciences at the CCR, NCI on the Top of the Mark, San Francisco.

Can you tell us a story about a particular individual who was impacted or helped by your cause?

AAPM fosters the vision of a patient-centric healthcare system. We have given patients priority along with other stake holders in our conferences. We are fortunate to have touched many lives. Cancer survivor Christy Cote recently performed a tango in the opening ceremony to honor the leaders in precision oncology, who saved her life. I personally have contributed to several hackathons to find novel treatment options for cancer patients, including Onno Faber, co-founder RDMD, who shared his story in AAPM meetings. Furthermore, AAPM2019’s annual meeting, at the Santa Clara Convention Center, began with a story of a patient, Robin Farmanfarmaian, author patient as a CEO.

More recently, I would like to highlight the story of Dave Fuhrer, a two-time cancer survivor and CEO of Gryt Health whose life is touched by AAPM COVID-19 team. Dave and I spoke during the dawn of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dave, being a two-time cancer survivor, was very much concerned about the high mortality rates in cancer patients to COVID-19. There were no resources available to David or to cancer patients. Together, we worked round the clock to launch world’s first ‘Cancer and COVID’ resource. AAPM’s COVID-19expert knowledgebase network exists to support cancer community. We organized weekly programs that brought together, oncologists, cancer patients, advocacy organizations, COVID physicians, frontline workers, and patients to help address the concerns of the cancer community. The program not only helped Dave and his family, but also helped thousands of cancer patients in the AAPM, Gryt Health, and other patient advocacy communities (https://bit.ly/2WypLuz).

Are there three things the community/society/politicians can do to help you address the root of the problem you are trying to solve?

AAPM is on a mission to save lives by accelerating the field of precision medicine through research, education, communication, and collaboration to foster new medical breakthroughs. The community can help us in many different ways:

  1. By becoming an advocate for precision medicine
  2. By volunteering and helping out in AAPM’s various initiatives
  3. Address the policy issues and bring new policy reforms to support collaboration
  4. Become an advocate for allocating funding to precision medicine research
  5. By making a tax-deductible donation to AAPM and support the cause (aapm.health)

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me when I first started” and why. Please share a story or example for each.

Following are a list of 5 secrets that I wish someone told me when I first started:

  1. Firm determination towards the goal: Firm determination is the key to success; it enables us to persist and march fearlessly ahead with faith until the goal is achieved. Tommy Lasorda, baseball athlete once said “The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a person’s determination.” According to Orison Swett Marden, author of Self-Motivation: “Man should be content with each step of progress merely as a station” and “without struggle there is no progress.” Firm determination, accompanied by a detailed plan of what needs to be accomplished, followed by a good project management, is the key to success.
  2. Unaffected by the social opinion: Sometimes people surrounding you can be judgmental and may lack an ability to see your vision and the bigger picture. As Henry Ford once said “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” And there are several examples that suggest that the majority of people don’t have ability to know what’s best for them unless a solution is tried and tested. So, as an entrepreneur, never be affected by the social opinion and never compromise your morals, self-worth, and goals for anyone. The ability to think and make decisions for oneself is crucial for an entrepreneur’s success. “A wise man makes his own decisions but an ignorant man follows the public opinion” (Chinese proverb). There are consequences to every decision that we make and sometimes others may guide us from their experiences and might not have an ability to foresee the consequences. Although, most of the time a team’s opinion can be very useful in making group decisions. However, sometimes a divided opinion may confuse the group. So, for making critical decisions sometimes a middle ground can be followed, where you make your own decision and if needed reach out to your “trusted sources” to seek their opinion. But let the final decision be yours, as you will be facing the consequences. When I say trusted sources, that includes folks who you think are smarter than you, their energies resonate well with you, and folks who are not jealous of your progress, as others may try to confuse or misled you. So, one has to develop a clear sense of emotional intelligence to be able to sense the quality of the advice and the emotional status of the source.
  3. Maintaining a mental equilibrium: Genius is the ability to receive from the universe (I-Ching). An entrepreneur should engage in activities such as meditation or walking to provide soil for creative intelligence to manifest. As Mahatma Gandhi once said “Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.” So, your thoughts are a gateway to your destiny! However, the human brain is very complex. As a social entrepreneur you are among people all the time and have constant interactions, some of which may positively or negatively impact your brain and emotions. You must make sure to protect that equilibrium so that you can be mentally vibrant. A healthy mental equilibrium is necessary for maintaining optimal thoughts, feelings and behavior. You have to find a way to daily recharge yourself. Be it a spiritual practice, yoga meditation, hike, or a simple walk. It all boils up to the question of, are you giving yourself quality thinking time? A quality time to unwind and reflect gives a strong sense of meaning and purpose, which further improves your ability to overcome challenges, adapt to change, build relationships. and an ability to thrive in adversity with elevated self-confidence/self-esteem and positive thinking.
  4. Keeping a balanced diet and practicing self-restraint: Health is wealth and as an entrepreneur one has to make the physical health a priority. It is very easy to be lost in work but sometimes difficult to channel that energy to energize your body. Practicing self-restraint prevents unnecessary energy drainage and your body working to compensate for that loss. When I talk about self-restraint, I always give an example of Mahatma Gandhi who said “There is always a limit to self-indulgence, but none to self-restraint. Self-restraint is the very keystone of the ethics of vow-taking.” Being an entrepreneur, one has to flex and grow the ability to take a vow and bring it to fruition. Control over anything begins with the ‘tongue’. One of the methods that I have successfully used is intermittent fasting, a scientifically proven method for longevity. It also gives your body a break from constantly digesting food (please consult your physician before you attempt this). On the other hand, our body also needs nutrients. Sometimes if you are not eating a nutrient-rich diet, you may also feel hungry because your body is nutrient deprived, which leads to overeating. A balanced nutrient-rich diet in moderation is what a body needs. What you eat has direct impact on your health and quality of your thoughts. It is best to avoid processed foods and other foods that lack nutrients and contribute to lethargy and brain fog. It is our responsibility to avoid going on the path of self-destruction, which starts with attraction towards material/sensual objects, leading to countless desires, which if unfulfilled may cause anger, delusion, bewilderment of memory, forgetfulness, and may cause a person to lose intelligence. Loss of intellect leads to self-destruction. A regular practice of self-restraint helps us to avoid going down the path of self destruction and puts us on the journey of self-improvement.
  5. Keep learning and be respectful to your teachers: My father often uttered a quote, “Human beings are student until death.” As an entrepreneur I follow this diligently and am constantly in the learning mode. I keep a diary and write down all the key points during a conversation to reflect upon it later. I aim to be a student for all my life. So, my advice to you will be to please keep on learning — from your mistakes, ready to adapt quickly to change, ready to pivot! Most importantly, honor and respect your teachers, which is the key to accessing the wisdom of the teachers. Some teachers will pour their knowledge upon you just by the simple gesture of respect. So be respectful of your teachers, advisors, board members, key opinion leaders. Everyone is there to help you and the organization succeed.

If you could tell other young people one thing about why they should consider making a positive impact on our environment or society, like you, what would you tell them?

To those who have dreams but do not act on those dreams, remember you have been given very short time to manifest those ideas. It is not you who chose an idea, it’s the idea that chose you, and then it becomes your moral responsibility to manifest that idea through your conscious efforts for the greater good. Fulfilling our individuality is a modern concept. I believe that we all are individual pieces of a big puzzle, meant to manifest the bigger picture together. Life is not a competition; it is meant to be a collaboration. Remember, it’s not just about you, it’s about creating a better future for our ‘greater self’, which is all of the humanity and mother earth. Think about losing the dearest person you love, and now think about how far you are willing to go to prevent that from happening. And start pushing yourself beyond you….

Is there a person in the world, or in the U.S. with whom you would like to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we tag them. 🙂

I am so humbled and honored to have met several of my role models and have cherished those moments. There are many, however, if I had to pick just one, I would say Bill Gates. I actually had a chance to see Bill briefly when he visited NIH to deliver the David E. Barmes Global Health Lecture, titled “Why the Future Needs Biomedical Innovation.” My collaborator and NIH Director, Dr. Francis Collins, introduced him as “one of the makers of the modern world” and a “visionary” in global health. It has always been a pleasure to listen to him, but to sit down and have a breakfast or lunch with Bill Gates, would be amazing. Bill, Melinda, and the Gates Foundation are doing tons of good work, and more so during the COVID-19 crisis, I think Bill and I would have a lot to talk about.

How can our readers follow you online?


AAPM: https://www.aapm.health/

AAPM LinkedIn: linkedin.com/company/aapm-health

AAPM Twitter: https://twitter.com/aapm_health


LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/prasunjmishra/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/prasunjmishra

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This was very meaningful, thank you so much. We wish you only continued success on your great work!

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