R Venkataramanan

R Venkataramanan

R Venkat's Blog

R Venkat's Blog
"To be an Inspiring Teacher,one should be a Disciplined Student throughout Life" - Venkataramanan Ramasethu



Sunday, June 24, 2012

Clinical Optometry Internship at Sankara Nethralaya,Kolkata

A total of twelve students from various colleges of optometry under the West Bengal University of Technology (WBUT) undergoing their internship programme in Clinical Optometry at the Aditya Birla Sankara Nethralaya, Kolkata completed their internship successfully on the 15th of June 2012 and were presented with their completion certificates. The Optometry Internship program at Sankara Nethralaya, Kolkata has been conducted uninterrupted since year 2005 and every year an average 10 to 12 students undergo training, with ample exposure in the OPD, regular classroom cum practical sessions and eye camps and community ophthalmology exposure

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Jayendra Periyava @ Sankara Nethralaya Kolkata

Indian Diaspora in the US - Tamil Nadu Foundation’s Annual Convention

Sankara Nethralaya filled a lot of mind space and took off for a great launch at Houston, the city so familiar with space crafts and rocket launches. Members of the Sankara Nethralaya OM Trust, ever exploring new avenues to raise funds and reach out to the Indian Diaspora in the US and enlighten them on the philosophy of Sankara Nethralaya were quick to realize that the Tamil Nadu Foundation’s Annual Convention being held for the first time, during the Memorial Day holidays on the 20th and 21st of May 2012 at Houston presented a wonderful opportunity to spread awareness about their cause and mobilize funds, which they simply could not afford to miss. Their premise was proved right and the SN OM Trust booth put up at the Tamil Nadu Foundation meeting registered brisk footfall on both the days, with the visitors eagerly picking up brochures and listening with great interest to the briefing by OM Trust members and volunteers. A significant amount was collected by way of on the spot donations, contributions made through purchase of “Insight”- the recently launched biography on Sankara Nethralaya and music CD’s, a good number of people also pledged monetary help, promising to send in their cheques soon and spread the good word in their circle. The highlight of the event was the surprise visit by celebrities Ms Suhasini Maniratnam and Shri SP.Muthuraman, both spending good time at the booth and exchanging memories of their old and very special relationship with Sankara Nethralaya with members and volunteers at the booth.

We take this opportunity to express our most sincere thanks for the contribution and team work of every member of the SN OM Trust team for the success of the booth in terms of awareness creation and the handsome donations collected, we wish to make a special mention about Shri Sam Sockalingam Kannappan’s role in identifying this huge opportunity, foreseeing the potential of putting up a booth at the venue of the Tamil Nadu Foundation meeting, both in terms of spreading awareness and mobilizing funds and booking the stall himself. Our special thanks also go to Ms. Leela Krishnamurthy who through her proactive involvement played a key role for the success of the event right from the time the idea was mooted. We would also like to express our gratitude to the volunteers namely Mrs. Sakuntala Aiyer, Mrs. Anita Balaji, Mrs. Nimmi Vasan, Mr. & Mrs. Kohur & Anuradha Subramanian, Mr&Mrs. P.S.Raju, Mrs. Bhavani Iyer, and Mrs. Mahalakshmi Krishnan who supported us whole heartedly in the midst of their busy engagements by taking turns to man the booth and keep the visitors engaged and involved, with their warm interaction.

A guide and pillar of support to the local Indian community

Sockalingam Sam Kannappan hails from Nattarasankottai located in the heartland of Chettinad, famed for its sprawling, stately houses, delectable cuisine and its philanthropic and industrious people. Having moved to the US way back in 1968 he has over the years become a guide and pillar of support to the local Indian community. Shri Sam Kannappan is a highly accomplished Engineer with a B.E (Honours) in Mechanical Engineering from the Annamalai University and MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Texas to his credit. He is a Senior Design Engineer and Member of the Society of Piping Engineers and Designers. Shri Sam Kannappan is a great example of a man who gave his best to both worlds, his motherland and the nation he adopted as his foster home. His knowledge, learning, experience and expertise has been sought by the US government in some of their most prestigious, strategic and critical projects as the following list of accomplishments and recognitions would elucidate.

1. As a Member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Gas Pipeline Safety Research Committee, he played a critical role in keeping bio-terrorism in check in Houston and in safe guarding the vital oil and gas pipelines from sabotage

2. As a member of the Texas’s Waste Water Management Council he contributed significantly towards realizing its objectives

3. The General Electric company’s Astro Division honoured Shri Kannappan with the ‘ “Lighting Award’ for accurately estimating the remaining life of a critical component in a Satellite already in orbit

4. The Tennessee Valley Authority recognized him with a merit award for expediting the non- conformance reports in the design of the Belafonte nuclear power plant.

5. The Crystal Dynamics Group working at NASA’s Goddard Space flight center recognized him with an award for improving laser measurement accuracy

6. As an Engineer with a strong commitment to saving global energy, he is known for his implementation of significant electric power peak energy reduction programs.

If the professional accomplishments of Shri Kannappan are truly mind boggling his human side and concern for social causes both in India and the US are most heartwarming as the following would illustrate

1. Among the earliest members of the SN OM Trust and it Vice- President he has put his heart and soul, in creating awareness on Sankara Nethralaya and mobilizing funds for its cause by organizing charity shows and by his own philanthropy

2. As the Chairman of the Indo-American Disaster Relief Fund he raised a substantial sum of $ 20,000 through the Indo-American Charity Foundation for the recovery fund of hurricane Ike.

3. As the Advisory member of the prestigious Asia Society he helped in rallying the Indian community to lend support for many deserving causes back home and as Chairman of the Disaster Relief Committee he was responsible for getting approval for a colossal $10 Million for the relief of the Gujarat Quake victims from the Law Makers and helped in mobilizing $230,000 for the victims of 9/11 by co-coordinating with various Indo-US organizations

A highly devout individual with considerable literary skills and a strong affinity with his roots Shri Sam Kannappan is founder of the Bharathi Kalai Mandram, Houston, Founder Secretary Sri Meenakshi Temple, Pearland, Texas, he has authored a book titled “Stress analysis and EZFLEX piping analysis software programme” and has pioneered a Tamil language font with voice synthesizer for disabled people.

The Sankara Nethralaya family expresses its sincere thanks to Shri Sam Kannappan for his unstinting support and relentless service rendered to its cause and expresses its hearty congrats to him and his family for his appointment to the prestigious professional body ‘The Texas Board of Professional Engineers’ and wishes him many more landmark accomplishments and rewards in his professional and personal life.

Fellow of the Anatomical Society (FAS)

Dr S. Ramaswamy serving as Professor of Anatomy at the Elite School of Optometry has been recognized for his outstanding research and service to the field of anatomical sciences and the cause of education by the prestigious Anatomical Society and awarded the Fellow of the Anatomical Society (FAS). This would give him the status of a Full member of the society without having to pay a fee.

Prestigious Dr R.H.P Sinha Gold Medal Oration Award’

Dr. Jyotirmay Biswas, Director of Uveitis and Ocular Pathology was awarded the prestigious Dr R.H.P Sinha Gold Medal Oration Award’ at the “1st Joint Mid-Term Conference of Bihar and Jharkhand Ophthalmological Societies Conference” held at the Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad, on Sunday, 3rd June, 2012, for his oration on “Diagnostic and Therapeutic Challenges in Uveitis”

Fulfilling their duty of providing vision to humanity

There could not have been a more auspicious beginning to Sankara Nethralaya’s initiative to bring State of the Art diagnosis to the East of India, His Holiness Jagadguru Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal made his divine presence and blessed the Polymerase Chain Reaction laboratory by lighting a holy lamp. The Sankaracharya later made a most heartwarming address to the doctors and staff members of the Aditya Birla Sankara Nethralaya, the pontiff underlined to the audience that they were rendering one of the most noblest services in the form of eye care and fulfilling their duty of providing vision to humanity, he exhorted them to live up to the high expectations placed on this role.

The inaugural of the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Laboratory started with a holy invocation after which Dr Sujata Guha, Medical Director, Aditya Birla Sankara Nethralaya extended a most warm welcome to the dignitaries, to the assembled doctor fraternity and their families, Sankara Nethralaya staff and their families. The Chief Guest of the day Dr Mammen Chandy was introduced by Dr. Jyotirmay Biswas, Director, Uvea and Pathology Departments and honoured by Dr SS.Badrinath, Chairman Emeritus. This was followed by the introduction and honouring of Swami Smaranandaji Maharaj by Dr Abhijit Sarkar, HOD, Laboratory Services, Aditya Birla Sankara Nethralaya. After an interesting audio-visual presentation on the PCR laboratory and dedication of the Murals by Swami Smaranandaji Maharaj, Professor HN. Madhavan, President, Vision Research Foundation gave an in-depth presentation on the critical role of PCR as a process in accurate and quick diagnosis.

Chief Guest Dr.Mammen Chandy declared open the Laboratory describing it s a ‘Life-Saving’ facility, he underlined the need for such advanced diagnostic processes with a real life instance. The function concluded with Swami Swaranandaji Maharaj blessing the laboratory and delivery of a Vote of Thanks by Dr K.Lily Therese, Professor and HOD of the Microbiology Department.

The inauguration of the PCR laboratory was followed by a one day Continuing Medical Education symposium on Clinical diagnosis and laboratory investigations in infections, emphasizing on rapid molecular microbiological tests under the aegis of Senior Medicare Professionals. Faculty members from Sankara Nethralaya and leading healthcare institutions participated in the symposium and discussed the clinical challenges in infections including ophthalmic infections and the latest techniques in laboratory diagnosis. The session helped to throw new light on fields like Clinico-pathological and microbiological correlations, endophthalmitis, orbital infections and PCR. The session also witnessed interesting case presentations, panel discussions and concluded with a most informative Q&A session.

Dr SS.Badrinath was among the first to realize the need to develop ocular anesthesia as a sub-specialty

It was a day of glory and recognition for an eye care institution which was among the earliest in the country to understand the criticality and role of ocular anesthesia in major ophthalmic processes and to its representative anesthesiologist Dr VV.Jaichandran at the “World Congress of Ophthalmic Anesthesia” WCOA 2012, held at Ankara, Turkey. The man and the institution he represented had played a key role in the formation of the Ophthalmic Forum of Indian Society of Anaesthiologists (OFISA) with the objective of promoting quality anesthesia for patients undergoing eye procedures, perform collaborative research and to act as a vibrant platform for the exchange of information, latest findings and real time experiences of anesthetists and ophthalmologists from eye care centers around the world.

Dr SS.Badrinath was among the first to realize the need to develop ocular anesthesia as a sub-specialty on par with obstetrical anesthesia, cardiac anesthesia, pediatric or orthopedic anesthesia at a time when the ophthalmologist would himself/herself administer the anesthesia and carry out the required process. He played a key role in getting the due importance to this field by involving leading Ophthalmologists and Anesthesiologists to jointly form the OFISA as a platform between the two. The high recognitions at an international anesthesia Congress were a fitting culmination to these efforts.

Dr V.V.Jaichandran, represented Sankara Nethralaya at the “World Congress of Ophthalmic Anesthesia” WCOA 2012, held at Ankara, Turkey, his talk titled “Tips and tricks for managing difficult patient under local anesthesia” was very well received, appreciated by the participants and highly interactive. His workshop on “Simulation in regional blocks using ‘Eye-Practicing Orbital Device’ (POD) conducted with the help of Mr. Biswarup Mukherjee, from the Department of Electrical Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras was a first of its kind simulation in eye blocks to be demonstrated in an international Congress. It won great praise from distinguished international dignitaries, with many of them wondering openly on the modalities of the technique and enquiring about the mechanism and cost involved in its making.

The Free paper, co-authored by Dr V.V.Jaichandran, titled “A Novel way of teaching Orbital blocks- Eye ‘Practicing Orbital Device” (POD) was adjudged as the Best Free Paper at the Congress. The final feather on the cap for Dr VV.Jaichandran known for his organizational skills was being chosen to be the Organizing Secretary of the 4th World Congress of Ophthalmic Anesthesiologists (WCO) to be held in 2016 at Chennai jointly by the British Ophthalmic Anesthesia Society, BOAS, UK and Sankara Nethralaya.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

If everyone were to adhere to the Paramacharya’s advise, society would be Dharmic and ever Progressive

Saturday 2nd of June witnessed the Jayanthi celebration to the Sage of Kanchi, reverentially Maha Periyava to all of us, at the Sri V.D Swami Auditorium

The mood all around was mellifluous and overflowing with thoughts and memories of the Paramacharya.

The invocation song on Mahaperiyava rendered beautifully by Ms.Bhuvaneswari coupled with the Veda Gosham beautifully adulated the Paramacharya’s divine qualities.

Smt. Surekha Mehta, Trustee, SWAN explained that the Acharya was a Brahmanishta and Shrothriya, a highly learned and self realized person who effortlessly discharged his duties to the Mutt, occupying the highest seat of spirituality from a tender age of 13!. She observed that our Chief Dr SS.Badrinath was a most blessed man as he was called upon to discharge the divine duty of attending to the eye care of this great Sage!

The Chief Guest of the evening, Shri. Krishna Chand Chordia, a philanthropist, a Tamil scholar, pursuing his PhD at 66 and an ardent devotee of the Acharya, this multi-faceted personality was introduced to the gathering by Shri Sugal Chand Jain, Honourary Treasurer. His unbridled oration, reminiscing his exposure with the noble soul enthralled the audience

He Shri Krishna Chand recalled how as a boy of about 6 or 7 years he peeped for a few fleeting moments into a house named Chandra Vilas in the town of Ulundurpet, where the Paramacharya had camped and took a quick glance at him and how the deeply etched memories in the Acharya’s mind, sent word for the same boy, when he turned 16, and how this teenager got his first orders from the Sage to be a part of the Go Shala at Sankara Mutt in West Mambalam Chennai. There was no looking back for this young lad from then on.

Paramacharya’s ‘beckoning call’ was so strong that he related himself to many such Go Samrakshana Shala’s, Shri Krishna Chand recalled the ultimate moment of ecstasy when Sri Jayendra Saraswathi Swamigal subtly pointed him to light the lamp when the Mambalam Go Shala celebrated its Silver Jubilee. Such was the Guru Anugraha bestowed on him he observed.

Sri. Krishna Chand Chordia, elaborated that the Acharya constantly advocated Veda Sam Rakshana and was instrumental in starting innumerable Veda Paata Shalas that were run by the Mutt as also the Gurukulam pattern of learning which built strong cultural and tradition based values.

Any one associated with the Acharya would be stunned at his amazingly simple hermit living. Endowed with abundant scriptural knowledge, Paramacharya had a stream of scholars at the Mutt who engaged in lengthy discussions on various topics ranging from the advancement of technology to important political decisions.

Sri. Krishna Chand Chordia’s implicit faith in the Guru’s words, has helped him to create a Meatless Village at Puzhal , nursing over 30 cows.

He concluded with a strong verdict that if everyone were to adhere to the Paramacharya’s advise, society would be Dharmic and ever progressive.

Shrimathi N.Anuradha, Optometrist & Faculty Member, Elite School of Optometry spoke on the joint ESO-TTD-Sankara Nethralaya eye camps and thanked the TTD for its generous donation of Rs 9 Lakhs towards procurement of equipments for the camp. This was followed by awarding of certificates to the Optometrists and support staff who were part of the ESO SN TTD free Eye camps by Shri V.Vaidhyanathan, Member of the Board.

Dr Rashmin Anil Kumar Gandhi, Director, Sankara Nethralaya Academy & e- learning delivered a warm vote of thanks, observing that we owe everything to the blessings of Paramacharya.

The day concluded with floral tributes to the Paramacharya and distribution of Prasadham and a wonderful pictorial calendar to those assembled.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The lady who defied blindness and sound bytes

It was time to stand up and salute the indomitable will of the lady who defied blindness and sound bytes and went on to become the very epitome of hope, courage, confidence and service to millions. It was also a day to recall the services and contribution of Dr G.Sitalakshmi one of the finest surgeons who had served Sankara Nethralaya and a warm human being whose memory still moistens the eyes of members of the Sankara Nethralaya family. The Lion’s club of Central Madras and Sankara Nethralaya came together to offer their collective salute to these great women by recognizing and rewarding those who had imbibed their spirit of service and compassion and rendered extraordinary service to mankind.

The function started at the Sri V.D Swami Auditorium on June 1, 2012 with a symbolic observation of silence for world peace, delivering the welcome address Lion Andal Rajaram showered praise on the winners of the various awards. Describing Sankara Nethralaya as a second home of the Lions from the Lions club of Central Madras, she praised the selfless service of Dr SS.Badrinath and the social commitment of doctors like Dr Pramod Bhende, she closed her address with a special mention about the stupendous efforts of Lion Harinarayanan towards organizing the function.

Speaking on the occasion Lion Jayaraman and Lion G.V Raman explained the significance of the day, tracing the association of the Lion’s with eye care from the historic day that Helen Keller made a clarion call at their Ohio conference. The latter recounted that it was Lion Harinarayanan’s brain child to constitute the gift of sight award in honour of Dr G.Sitalakshmi almost 13 years ago. Deputy Director of Corneal Services Dr Rama Rajagopal gave an emotional account of her association with Late Dr G.Sitalakshmi, her amazing skills, knowledge, her passion for corneal transplants, warm personality and the wonderful moments spent together.

This was followed by awarding of the ‘Knight of the blind’ award and Dr G.Sitalakshmi award by the Chief Guest Mr. Mike Nithavarianakis and dignitaries from the Lions’ club and Sankara Nethralaya as follows

1. Dr Swapnali Sabhapandit was awarded the Dr G.Sitalakshmi award for rendering extraordinary service by way of eye care in the remote regions of Assam through the Gauhati Lion’s eye Hospital

2. Dr Mehul Shah and Dr Shreya Shah for providing cost free eye care to the tribals of Dahot District, Gujarat through their charitable hospital Drashti Netralaya awarded the Knight of the Blind Award

3. Shrimathi Surekha Mehta of SWAN was awarded the ‘Knight of the blind’ award for her commitment to eradicate blindness and voluntary service to the blind and for nurturing a team of committed social workers under the umbrella of SWAN

4. The ‘New Indian Express’ was awarded the I care award for its involvement in eye care and for immortalizing the names of eye donors every week in its paper. The award was received by Shri Vignesh Kumar, Vice-President, Marketing on behalf of the group Chairman, Shri Manoj Kumar Sonthalia. Shri Sudarshan, Editor was also felicitated on the occasion.

Delivering the Chief Guest’s address Mr. Mike Nithavarianakis, Deputy High Commissioner, British High Commission, Chennai, expressed his high praise for the healthcare institutions in South India for successfully delivering free health care in such a large scale, he observed that doctors from distant Gujarat and Assam being selected for felicitation at a function being held in Chennai is a sign of the unity and national integrity of the country. He emphasized that Primary Healthcare could be one area that India can learn and improve from Britain’s ‘National Health Service’ which trained nurses in Allied Healthcare.

The function also saw the gifting of solar powered lamp kits to Aid India an NGO engaged in providing educational service to the poor. Separate cheques were handed over to Dr. Pramod Bhende by the Lion’s club of Central Madras to set up the dining room at the new JCOC and for bringing out ‘Insight’ the biography on Sankara Nethralaya

This was followed by the awarding of prizes to Sankara Nethralaya staff members from various departments by Lion Rajasekhar for their exemplary work. Dr. Pramod Bhende, Director, Medical Assets, Deputy Director & Senior Consultant, Sri Bhagwan Mahaveer Department of Vitro Retinal Surgery felicitated the winners of the various awards emphasizing that blindness prevention is not just an ophthalmic responsibility but a challenge to the entire mankind.

Delivering the Vote of thanks Lion Harinarayanan expressed his whole hearted thanks to the Chief guest, recipients of the awards for travelling long distances to be present at the function, Sankara Nethralaya staff for organizing the show in a grand manner and Dr SS.Badrinath for coming out with the novel idea of providing Solar Powered lamps to students.

“ICT in Healthcare now and beyond – Peeping into the future”

The Sankara Nethralaya Academy, a unit of medical Research Foundation, Chennai conducted a one-day Technical Seminar at Sankara Nethralaya under the theme “ICT in Healthcare now and beyond – Peeping into the future” on 31st May 2012.

The seminar presented an in depth picture of how Information & Communication Technology has seamlessly blended into the Healthcare Delivery process and how it has simplified the access and update of Medical Record of the patient from anywhere/anytime.

Dr.S S Badrinath, Chairman Emeritus of Sankara Nethralaya gave a key note address on ICT in Healthcare and illustrated a case where a patient who had failed to turn up for review ended up losing his vision. He explained that this could have been averted through Electronic Records and follow up which can today be facilitated by Technology. It was followed by a lucid presentation by Dr.Sheila John, Head- Tele-ophthalmology Department on the impact of ICT in Healthcare, particularly on Telemedicine.

Prof. K. Ganapathy – President, Apollo Telemedicine Networking Foundation, Director, Apollo Tele Health Services, Chennai. Dr.Sumanth Raman – Head-Healthcare Innovations, Tata Consultancy Services, Chennai. Dr. Mangala Sunder Krishnan Professor, Department of Chemistry & NPTEL, Indian Institute of Technology Madras gave interesting talks on the subject. They spoke on the deployment of ICT in various areas of Healthcare, like Quality Medical Service Delivery, technology enabled onsite/offline Education methodologies; the Clinical Decision Support Systems to supplement the diagnosis process and in Tele medicine to reach out Medical Care to the door step of the rural Poor. Dr.S.Meenakshi, Director Academics, presented the various academic activities of Sankara Nethralaya.

Dr.R R Sudhir vividly presented the various aspects of “electronic medical records” on “why and how” it helps to totally change Practice Management and clinical consultation. He shared the experiences of Sankara Nethralaya on the implementation phases. Mr. M K Manavalan of Sankara Nethralaya vividly described how Hospital Management System functionality could help reach Operational efficiency.

Mr.Sampath Kumar, Chief Information, coordinated the entire seminar proceedings. The seminar ended with a hearty Vote Of Thanks by A Mahalingam, Academic officer, The Sankara Nethralaya Academy to the faculty members, distinguished dignitaries and senior management members of Sankara Nethralaya, the TSNA team, members from the press and everyone assembled in the auditorium