Contributing something to society brings satisfaction and happiness in your life Dr KK Aggarwal, Editor in Chief eMedinewS and IMA News in conversation with Dr Prof Rajendra Prasad, Director Medical Education and Head, Dept. of Pulmonary Medicine, Era’s Lucknow Medical College and Hospital, Lucknow. Dr Prof. Rajendra Prasad has been honored with Dr BC Roy National Award for the year 2010 under the category of ‘Best talents in encouraging the development of specialties in different branches in Medicine. How does it feel being conferred one of the most prestigious awards in the medical field? I feel honored and humbled with this prestigious Dr BC Roy Award and relish this as the best moment of my life. I dedicate this award to my teachers, students, patients and my family. What were the early challenges faced by you in your career? How did you manage to overcome them? After finishing my MBBS from KG Medical College, Lucknow I took a conscious decision for post-graduation in department of tuberculosis in1976, at a time when this subject was not preferred by students. My batchmates were surprised and were very critical of this decision of mine, when they knew that I could have got any subject for post-graduation in KGMC based on my MBBS merit (In those days PG admissions in KGMC were with index system based on MBBS merit). After my MD in Tuberculosis, I got faculty position in the department of Tuberculosis, King George’s Medical College, Lucknow. My thought process changed when I worked in various chest hospitals in Japan in 1989 during my WHO fellowship. After my return from Japan, I started working in the Dept. of Tuberculosis with a mindset to transform the department to pulmonary medicine. I faced lot of difficulties to begin with as subject was much neglected at that time. However, with the great support of my teachers, patients and students I was able to change the name of department to pulmonary medicine and subsequently changed the working atmosphere in the department. After becoming the head of department in 1997, I was successful in transforming the Dept. of Tuberculosis to the well-recognized Dept. of Pulmonary Medicine at King George’s Medical College, Lucknow by introducing and developing more than half a dozen specialist services including a modern video bronchoscopy, medical thoracoscopy, thoracic oncology unit and state of art sleep lab during my 14 years of headship. Tell us about your family. How important has been the role of your family in your journey. Whatever I am today, it is because of my late father who was very successful businessman in the small town in district Basti as it was his strong desire that both my elder brother (who did MS surgery from KGMC) and I should become doctors. Next very important is my wife, for supporting me and my children singlehandedly so that I could work passionately for the development of pulmonary medicine in state of Uttar Pradesh and India. I also have a very supportive son (Faculty in Dept. of Medicine), daughter-in-law (Dentist), daughter (MDS) and son-in-law (Anesthetist). What would be your message to the community? Community should have faith in doctors and doctors should also live up to the expectation of the society. Lung health is very important. Keep your lungs healthy by avoiding smoking and use of biomass fuel for cooking. Given a chance what changes would you like to bring in health policies? I would like to take drastic measures to improve the quality of medical education as well as primary health care in the country. What advice would you give to youngsters? Try to choose the path which is less travelled. Persistence and hard work is the key to success. Contributing something to society will bring satisfaction and happiness in your life. About Prof Rajendra Prasad Prof. Rajendra Prasad, currently Director Medical Education and Head, Dept. of Pulmonary Medicine, Era’s Lucknow Medical College and Hospital, Lucknow, Former Director, Vallabhbhai Patel Chest Institute, Delhi, Former Director, UP Rural Institute of Medical Sciences and Research, Saifai, and former Head, Dept. of Pulmonary Medicine, King George’s Medical University, Uttar Pradesh, Lucknow is a nationally acclaimed Chest Physician and Tuberculosis Expert, possessing nearly 4 decades of illustrious teaching, research and administrative experience with proven excellence in quality patient care. He is Honorary Consultant to Armed Forces Medical Services, India in Respiratory Diseases and vice chairman of National Task Force for involvement of Medical Colleges in Revised National Tuberculosis Programme. Born in a remote village of the state of Uttar Pradesh, Prof Prasad received his medical education, all from KG Medical College, Lucknow. After a brilliant academic record, he made his mission to serve those suffering from Tuberculosis and joined the Dept. of Tuberculosis in 1976. He is very well known for successfully transforming the Dept. of Tuberculosis into a well-recognized Dept. of Pulmonary Medicine at KG. Medical College, Lucknow by introducing and developing more than half a dozen specialist services including a Video Bronchoscopy, Medical Thoracoscopy, Thoracic Oncology unit and Sleep Lab. His leadership qualities and tremendous zeal for over all development and up gradation of Pulmonary Medicine has been recognized by as many as five national scientific bodies who elected him as their President viz National College of Chest Physician, India, Indian College of Allergy, Asthma & Applied Immunology, Indian Association of Bronchology, Indian Chest Society and Tuberculosis Association of India. International recognition of his services is evident from his election as the International Governor of American College of Chest Physicians USA. In recognition of his overall pioneering contribution to the field of Pulmonary Medicine, besides several prestigious fellowships of reputed National and International organizations, he was elected Fellow of National Academy of Medical Sciences, India, American College of chest physicians, USA and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Glasgow. He is on the editorial board of almost all the reputed journals in the field of Pulmonary Medicine. Prof. Prasad is a well-known authority in the field of tuberculosis and Multidrug Resistant Tuberculosis (MDR-TB). He has made substantial contribution in area of other respiratory diseases like Asthma and Respiratory Allergy. His research contributions in respect of smoking, especially Beedi Smoking and Biomass Fuel use and their association with common Respiratory Diseases are well known. He took keen interest in Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP) from its inception and was instrumental in establishing RNTCP DOTS Center in King George’s Medical College, which was among the first DOTS center to run in a medical college campus in India. Professor Prasad played a pivotal role in involving all the government as well as private medical colleges of India in Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme (RNTCP). In fact, he is rated very high among the advocate of Revised National Tuberculosis Control Programme of India. His scientific publications include 235 articles in peer reviewed national and international journals and 60 chapters in various books. He has also authored seven books including 3 books on Tuberculosis and an Atlas on Fiberoptic Bronchoscopy based exclusively on Indian patients. He has worked on 25 research projects as principal investigator/Co-Investigator and supervised 150 MD/MS/DM/Mch/PhD theses. Professor Prasad has made significant contribution towards popularization of scientific understanding of various common respiratory ailments like Tuberculosis, Asthma, Allergy, COPD and Lung Cancer among Doctors as well as general population. He has delivered 1250 lectures at different International and National forums. Additionally, he has addressed over 200 public awareness camps and rallies on common respiratory diseases. He successfully initiated Kalyani, a weekly Health awareness program on Doordarshan. This program has gained phenomenal popularity in rural areas. He is loved and respected a lot by his students, fellow colleagues and patients. Prof. Prasad has been a recipient of more than 45 awards including UP Ratna Award, OA Aarma Oration Award, M. Santosham Oration Award, DN Shivpuri Oration Award, ICS Honour Lecture Award, Dr. Reddy’s Lung Cancer Oration Award, Prof. Raman Viswanathan Memorial Chest Oration Award, TAI Oration Award of Tuberculosis Association of India and Vigyan Gaurav Award of Council of Science and Technology, Government of Uttar Pradesh and Lifetime Achievement Award of Indian Association for bronchology for his significant contribution in Pulmonary Medicine.