The Madras Round Table -1 and its illustrious member Shri Arvind Swami are no new faces to the Sankara Nethralaya family, the service organization and its large hearted member have been old friends of the institution and have been consistently supporting its cause for many years. The Madras Round Table -1 celebrated its 55th glorious years of service by sponsoring 55 Cataract surgeries in year 2012. Shri Arvind Swami and Shri Manu Wassan, Chairman Madras Round Table 1 accompanied by a few Tablers visited Sankara Nethralaya on the 5th of March 2014 and made a generous donation towards performing Cataract surgeries in the Mobile Eye Surgical Unit (MESU). Speaking on the occasion Shri Arvind Swami had a high word of praise for Sankara Nethralaya’s pioneering and innovative initiative of taking high quality eye care right to the door steps of the poor and indigent patients living in remote areas, patients who cannot afford to make a trip to a base hospital. He reminisced his carefree visits to Sankara Nethralaya straight from school and time spent at the open space where the imposing research center stands now. He expressed that it was a pleasure and privilege to be of service to an institution in whose inception his late Father Shri VD.Swami played a major role. Shri Swami closed his talk with an assurance that the Madras Round Table 1 would endeavour to sponsor an outdoor eye camp every year. Speaking on the occasion Shri Manu Wassan observed that it was an honour to share the dais with Dr SS.Badrinath and added that the amount being donated by the Madras Round Table 1 would go towards sponsoring the cost of conducting 90 surgeries to be performed over a week.
The Mobile Eye Surgical unit, jointly developed by Sankara Nethralaya and IIT-Madras, has conducted over 800 surgeries since December 14, 2011. The camp sponsored by the MRT-1 will be held at Alangayam village in Vellore district between April 1 and June 23, 2014.
New Indian Express
The Mobile Eye Surgical Unit, Sankara Nethralaya’s operation theatre on wheels took off on yet another sojourn of relief and care to the underprivileged citizens living in the backward and interiors pockets of the State. The Outdoor Eye Care team comprising of Dr P.S. Rajesh, Senior Consultant, V.Sivakumar, Administrator, Jaslok Community Ophthalmology Center, Shri Chandra Kumar, Social worker, Shri Padmanabhan, Driver of the Mobile Eye Surgical Unit and Shri Venkatraman, Operation Theatre Assistant left for Vettavelam and Udayarpalayam two interior hamlets located on the Villupuram-Tiruvannamalai route on the 26th of January 2014. The outdoor eye care team was received with overwhelming enthusiasm and cheer by the local populace suffering from lack of access to quality eyecare in both hamlets. The screening camp at Vettavelam was supported by the Sai Trust and Shri Manigandan a local political functionary, a total of 419 patients were screened between the 26th of January to the 3rd of February and 43 patients diagnosed with Cataract were operated upon at the MESU. The post operative screening was completed on the 5th of February and the relief crew left for Udayarpalayam its next port of call on the evening of the same day.
The Udayarpalayam camp had a special significance for the Sankara Nethralaya team as the Mahaperiyava of Kanchi had camped here, worshipped at the local Shiva Temple and performed Tapas at the dhyana mandapam located at the centre of the temple tank by reaching it on a motorized raft. The camp was actively supported by the Zamindar of Udayarpalayam a man held in high esteem and love by the local people and the mobile surgical units were parked from the 6th to the 14th of February at the land provided by him for the purpose. In keeping with the dictum that when you do a good thing you would find support coming from many quarters, Shri Subramanian a member of the Lion’s Club and local resident provided excellent food and refreshments to the entire eye care team for the entire period of the camp. A total of 476 people were thoroughly examined between the 6th and 8th of February and surgeries were performed on 95 patients between the 9th to the 13th of February followed by postoperative examination on the 14th of February.
The camp conducted in these two places captured the spirit of the Mobile eye Surgical Unit by taking eye care to people who had little or no interaction with the outside world beyond the limits of their town and practically no access to health care, a good portion of the youth in these villages had migrated outside of the village in search of livelihood and many of the patients did not have escorts to take them back to their homes post surgery, the Sankara Nethralaya team rose to the occasssion by arranging transport and personally escorting such patients to their homes. Service to mankind is said to be service to God and the camp provided the team with the rare opportunity of offering worship at the local temple and the Maragatha Lingam not known to many in the outside world. The overwhelmed locals in both villages thanked the doctor and the team for the great gesture of binging quality eye care right to their door step and bringing the light of life back into their lives, they made an emphatic appeal to the team to explore the possibility of having a screening facility right at their village around the year which could refer patients needing surgery to the base hospital at Chennai. The highlight of the camp was that the post operative examination conducted in both the camps indicated zero complication and a jubilant and highly fulfilled mobile eye care team returned with great memories of the picturesque villages, the Zamindar’s old palace, worshipping at the local temple and the great opportunity of being able to bring back vision to the simple village folk.
In what could be a fitting 70th year anniversary gift to a man who has given his best to the country of his birth and the country he chose to make his second home, the prestigious Asian American Resource Centre honoured Shri Sam Sockalingam Kannappan an old friend of Sankara Nethralaya and a driving force of the Sankara Nethralaya Ophthalmic Mission Trust as a “pioneer in software for engineering and an early leader of the Indian Houston Community” in a photo exhibit titled ‘History of Indo-Americans in Texas’ tracing the genesis of early Asian settlers and their contribution to the State. The photo exhibit on display included a wonderful photograph of the young Kannappans with their little children, a picture of the imposing Rajagopuram of the Sri Meenakshi Temple at Pearland, Texas which he strived hard to establish and served as Founder Secretary and a current photograph of this most prominent American Indian.
Sankara Nethralaya and the Sankara Nethralaya Ophthalmic Mission Trust express their hearty Congratulations to Shri Sam Kannappan for receiving one more decorative feather to his glorious cap.
The American Association for Physicians of Indian origin (AAPI) has been a long time friend of Sankara Nethralaya and a supporter of its cause. The members of the Long Island chapter of the AAPI responded most generously to a presentation of Sankara Nethralaya’s future plans and cost free community ophthalmology initiatives and earnest appeal for funds to support the same made by Sankara Nethralaya OM Trustee and a member of the AAPI Dr Rajendra Modi some time back and dispatched a check collected from its members to him. Readers may remember that the AAPI had made a similar donation to the SN OM Trust through the good doctor last year too.
In what could be construed as an unmistakable sign of its growing relevance the Dr. Nagamani Dharmapuri Endowment Lecture the high level talk on pediatric ophthalmology conducted annually by Sankara Nethralaya found a prestigious co-sponsor for its xi edition in the Madras Ophthalmological Association the eminent ophthalmic body. Delivering the welcome address Dr. Jameel Rizwana Hussain from the Elite School of Optometry underlined that visual morbidity is increasing in children and the lecture would certainly help in addressing this alarming trend. Dr Sumitha Agarkar, Deputy Director, Pediatric Ophthalmology traced the formation of the endowment lecture to the close relationship between Dr Vidyasagar Dharmapuri and Dr SS.Badrinath, Chairman Emeritus, Sankara Nethralaya. She observed that according to the WHO there are 12 million children who are partially or fully vision impaired on account of refractive errors but the good news is that ambylopia is curable if treated properly and at an early stage. Speaking on the occasion Dr R.Srikanth, Senior Consultant, Pediatric Ophthalmology Dept recalled the contribution of Dr TS.Surendran, Vice Chairman, Sankara Nethralaya who single handedly started and operated the pediatric ophthalmology department for almost two decades, he reiterated that the Amblyopia Clinic was a highly specialized clinic which worked in tandem with the Low Vision Clinic, orthoptics dept and the electrophysiology department. He highlighted that the 15 month Fellowship programme in pediatric ophthalmology, the weekly journal club, small group discussions and special clinic for special kids were major steps in the advancement of pediatric ophthalmology at Sankara Nethralaya.
Felicitating the Guest of Honour Dr J. Radhakrishnan, State Health Secretary, Dr T.S.Surendran thanked him wholeheartedly for accepting his telephonic request and gracing the function in the midst of his busy official schedules, he described the popular Civil Servant as a man who rises to great heights of service during calamities and a Collector who has been consistently recognized as ‘Best Collector’ for 4 times.
Delivering the guest of honour speech Shri Radhakrishnan, Health Secretary, Government of Tamil Nadu observed that in an overpopulated country like India the sheer volume became a reason of anxiety in visual impairment as in most problems. He rued that while the country had a staggering 8 million visually impaired 83% of its ophthalmologists chose to serve in the cities leaving such care out of bounds of the villages. He had a high word of praise for Sankara Nethralaya’s partnership with the government in collective public-private partnership health programs. He made an emphatic appeal to members of the Media assembled at the venue to create awareness on health issues by giving prominence to health news and make their coverage more credible by publishing news from authentic, peer reviewed sources and not hearsay or unfounded sources. The function witnessed the honouring of Dr. Shanmugasundaram, veteran Pediatric Ophthalmologist from the Child Trust Hospital along with the Chief Guest and the Guest of Honour
Dr Kavitha Kalaivani introduced the Chief Guest and Speaker Monte Del Monte, Director of Pediatric ophthalmology & Adult strabismus, Skillman Professor of Pediatric ophthalmology and Pediatric and communicable diseases at the University of Michigan and Director of Pediatric ophthalmology at the Mott Children’s Hospital, as a man with 25 years of rich experience in teaching and training, an expert in complex strabismus surgery, researcher in biology and recipient of the Best Doctor of America’ award. Chief Guest of the day Dr Monte Del Monte gave a most educative and enlightening talk on the topic ‘Ambylopia Diagnosis’ highlighting the various kinds of ambylopia, he observed that ambylopia was the single largest cause for childhood blindness in the USA. The experienced doctor and professor enriched his talk with diverse case studies of ambylopia and the inferences made. He spoke on the need for special screening methods for childhood ambylopia in view of the fact that the patients were young children and their responses may not be consistent or confirmed. He explained how advocacy and education with mandatory comprehensive eye examination, legislation and regulation and the role of bodies like the American Academy of pediatrics, American academy of ophthalmology and American Association for pediatric ophthalmology had helped significantly in the battle against ambylopia. The expert on the subject formulated an FAQ on ambylopia and answered each of them for the benefit of his audience.
The highly interesting and informative session ended with a Q&A session which helped the senior consultants and students clear their grey areas and share their views with the expert and a warm vote of thanks by Dr.S.Meenakshi, Director, Academics, Sankara Nethralaya.
The New Indian Express
Sankara Nethralaya observed the 150th Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda the patriotic saint with an undying love to his motherland aptly on the 26th of January 2014 being observed as Republic Day, with a powerful talk on ‘Science and Spirituality’ by Swamini Pramananda the eminent spiritual guru, social worker and expert on Vedanta. Dr Srujana Chittipotu, Head of the Core Instrumentation laboratory extended a warm welcome to the audience with a brief note on Ammaji which was followed by a melodious invocation by Ms Sadhana daughter of Dr. Niveditha Narayanan, Senior Consultant, Cornea Department. Dr J.Malathi, Reader, Microbiology Dept introduced the speaker of the day as a disciple of Swami Dayanand Saraswathi, an eminent teacher of philosophy and expert in the Upanishads, a versatile and warm person who provided spiritual guidance to the terminally ill while working for the empowerment and upliftment of tribal women and running the Purna Vidya and its sub branches which work towards awakening of the society to oneness and harmony.
The guest speaker Swamini Pramananda gave a most powerful speech on the topic ‘Science and Spirituality’, highlighting on the difference between spiritual and material civilizations, she explained that science and spirituality are two distinct fields which neither compliment not contradict each other. She added that while science is about subject matter, observations made and documented, spirituality is about perception and faith underlying that both are essential for a harmonious living. The learned monk touched on the Advaita Vedanta philosophy where there is no past, present or future and no two separate entities of God and Man but one absolute consciousness and one Omnipotent being. Ammaji reiterated her beliefs and convictions on being givers that she had underlined earlier in her R-Day address with a philosophical touch that all our actions should stem from the Joy of contributing and sharing and a focus on being a contributor and how one becomes bigger by giving more.
The impact of the spiritual talk on the audience could be gauged by the wide array and number of questions it elicited from them, not questions seeking mere information but questions from disturbed and disillusioned minds seeking the truth and philosophy of existence, while the spiritual leader could answer many questions, time came as a constraint for the Q&A session and an overwhelmed Swamini Pramananda expressed that she would be happy to organize a full day exclusive session for Sankara Nethralaya employees either at her retreat at Coimbatore or at the Sankara Nethralaya centre at Chennai if Dr SS.Badrinath gave his nod of approval.
In keeping with the centuries old tradition of the country where patriotism and spiritualism blend and complement each other Sankara Nethralaya celebrated the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda the 20th century spiritualist and patriot along with the 66th Republic Day of the Nation. The quadrangle between the Mahyco and Ramanatha Iyer blocks was filled to capacity with members of the senior management, consultants, staff members and their families gathered enthusiastically for the occasion. The day’s proceedings started with a moving patriotic song by Ms. Maria a student of the Elite School of Optometry and a ceremonial March Past after which Swamini Pramananda reveriantially known as Ammaji, the Chief Guest of the Day unfurled the tricolor, followed by the rendering of the National anthem by the entire gathering.Shri T.Arokiaswamy, Social Worker from the Department of Genetics and Molecular Biology got the day’s proceedings to a great start and food for thought with an interesting anecdote from the Mahabaratha where the ace archer Arjuna sees only his target while other archers get distracted of their focus by extraneous things , he drew a parallel of how Dr SS.Badrinath set his target like the great Arjuna and pursued it with single minded focus, never losing sight of it for once, he observed that Sankara Nethralaya the institution he started has reached many impressive targets and exhorted the Sankara Nethralaya family members assembled on the auspicious occasion to take an oath to work towards the goals he set for the institution at the time of its inception and pursue the same with his blessings.
Dr Lily Therese, Head of the Department, Microbiology gave an interesting account of the Chief Guest Swamini Pramananda, she traced the life of the intensely religious little girl, the bright young lady who went on to do her Masters in Microbiology at the New York University and how her childhood sentiments came back to visit her with renewed vigour making her give up everything to take a life of an ascetic, revive the Vedic heritage, serve and impart value based education through the Purna Vidhya and other institutions founded by her. Dr Lily Therese ended her introduction with a note that it was most auspicious and a great blessing for the institution to observe a function graced by Ammaji as the very first function of the year.
What followed was a most inspiring talk by the Chief Guest on the sacrifices made by the founding fathers of the nation for the cause of this sacred land and soil, she emphasized that they got a great sense of fulfillment in being ‘Givers’ underlining that real joy lies in being givers and not consumers and wondered if the Nation would have been freed if they had chosen to be consumers instead of givers. Making a most touching account of the sacrifices of the fearless patriots the freedom fighters and the pain and torture they underwent for their conviction and beliefs, she asked the audience to introspect if they have contributed anything to the nation that they won independence for. Ammaji pointed out that Sankara Nethralaya was as a true ‘Giver’ and exhorted everyone assembled to make a strong resolve to give more than they receive, start leading from the front and not look for leaders to lead them. The occasion witnessed Dr SS.Badrinath, Chairman Emeritus, Sankara Nethralaya dedicating the plaque encapsulating the qualities of Strength, Vision, Patience, Initiative and Courage presented to him by the Ramakrishna Mission to the employees of the institution by presenting it symbolically to Srimathi Usha, Executive at the Stores Department being recognized for completing 30 years of service. Speaking on the occasion Srimathi Revathi from the Nursing Department described Dr SS.Badrinath as a true patriot who flew only by AIR INDIA and how freedom fighters and army personnel are provided cost free eye care at Sankara Nethralaya the institution he founded. She described the Sankara Nethralaya family as a true example of upholding familial values and the spirit of ‘Unity in Diversity’. Patriotic songs by Shri Anand Prasad and Ms Sushmitha and her group from the Elite School of Optometry and the narration of Swami Vivekananda’s life story by master Vishal added colour to the day’s proceedings
It was a day of jubilation for the employees and their children as they received their service completion and recognition awards for service and academic excellence from the Chief Guest and members of the Senior Management and Consultants, The momentous event came to an end with a warm vote of thanks by Ms. Sudha Mohan, Senior Manager, HRD.
In a clear exhibition of subject matter expertise and knowledge, staff members of the Main laboratory at the Sankara Nethralaya main campus bagged 3 awards in the midst of stiff competition in the recently held (1/02/2014) ‘Environment Health and Safety” a highly topical CME with great relevance to today’s world, conducted by METROSPHERES the interactive medical education initiative of LISTER Metropolis the nation’s leading provider of clinical and diagnostic services and the Inter Laboratory Quality Assessment (ILQA), Bangalore, the stringent external quality assessment and support body for laboratories.
We take great pleasure in sharing the details of the same below
1. Ms. Praveena. R, Junior Executive won the First Prize in the Quiz Contest
2. Ms. Saumya T.S, Senior Laboratory Technician won the Second Prize for her Poster Presentation
3. Ms. Kamatchi .G, Junior Research Scientist won the Third Prize for her Poster Presentation
The Sankara Nethralaya family joins hands in congratulating these dedicated young women and wishes them many more distinctions and laurels in their pursuit of knowledge and learning!
The Sankara Nethralaya Academy made an impressive showcase of itself and its contribution to the world of education and academia in general at the ‘Chennai Science Festival 2014’ organized jointly by the Science City, Government of Tamil Nadu and Anna University at the Arignar Anna Gem Science Park School, Chennai, from the 29th to 1st February 2014.
The objective of the festival was to create awareness on the role of Science in everyday life among the general public and the student community in particular and inculcate a scientific temper in them. The Theme for this year’s festival was ‘Science for Life’.
The members of the Sankara Nethralaya Academy stationed at its stall in the Science Festival explained the inception, objectives and achievements of the Academy, its niche exposure and expertise in the courses offered and their high scope to visiting students, parents and the teaching community.
The SN Academy team welcomed and explained the objectives of the institution to distinguished visitors, senior government officials and Scientists who visited the stall.
The Sankara Nethralaya Academy and Sankara Nethralaya – CU Shah eye bank also used this opportunity to brief about the importance of eye donation to the public especially to the young minds gathered. A good number of visitors evinced interest and volunteered to donate their eyes by filling the donation Pledge form available at the stall on the occasion.
Mr A Mahalingam, Ms Sreedevi, Ms Hanna Priya, Ms Ashwini, Ms Nancy, Mr Lakshminarayanan from the CU Shah Eye bank and Students of SN Academy actively participated this highly interesting and informative event.
The members of the Sankara Nethralaya Academy take this opportunity to express their wholehearted thanks to Dr.Parameswari Srijayanth,M.B.B.S.,M.Sc (Epid) and The Tamil Nadu Dr.MGR Medical University who encouraged and facilitated participation by the Sankara Nethralaya Academy in this highly prestigious Science Festival and helped in getting rich exposure to the institution and the courses offered in affiliation with our esteemed The Tamil Nadu Dr Medical University, Guindy, Chennai – 600 032.
Dr Premanandhini Satgunam an alumni of the Elite School of Optometry belonging to the 1995 batch who went on to pursue her higher studies in optometry at the Ohio State College of Optometry, USA has been honoured with the title ‘Notable Alumna of the Ohio State College of Optometry‘ for her academic excellence. The world renowned pioneer in optometry education is celebrating its 100th year of glorious service to the field of optometry in 2014 and has selected a few of its outstanding alumni for this coveted recognition.
The Elite School of Optometry heartily Congratulates its old student and salutes her for this notable recognition by a premium institution and wishes her many more laurels and recognitions in her academic pursuit.